Hospital, high school, and tax increases voted down
Liberty County voters made their voices heard on Tuesday. Those voices seem to have collectively said no to new taxes and bond referendums that included new medical facilities in the Liberty and Dayton areas and a second high school in the Cleveland area. Of the 47,857 registered voters in the county, only 5,311 or 11% cast votes in this year’s elections.
Liberty Hospital District No. 1
In the most hotly contested race of the night, a proposed new $43 million hospital in Liberty and clinic in Dayton was trampled by voters by nearly a three-to-one margin. Overwhelmingly voters opposed the bond proposal and new tax rate that would have doubled the tax from .09 per $100 valuation to .18 cents.
The district hoped to construct that new hospital facility in Liberty on the corner of HWY 146 and FM 1011 on land donated to LCHD No. 1 while building a new clinic on HWY 321 in Dayton.
“The community was the big loser in the overwhelming defeat of the Hospital District bond proposal. It was a unique opportunity for the citizens of southeast Liberty County to have a first class hospital of their own,” LCHD No. 1 President C. Bruce Stratton said.
Texas’s fastest-growing school district asked voters to approve a bond proposal to finance the construction of a second campus for that school system. The new facility would have been centered in the southern end of the district in the Colony Ridge area.
In the closest race of the night, voters turned down that proposal by a vote of 493 as opposed to 439 in favor of the new high school. In a press release from CISD, Superintendent Chris Trotter thanked the community for their input and said the district would regroup while focusing on students’ education.
“Although we are disappointed in the outcome of the election, we remain committed to providing quality education to all students, while being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars. As always, we appreciate our par ents and community and value your input,” said Board President, Willie Carter.
Voters said no to an increase of the school systems ad valorem tax rate of $1.35131 for the current year, which would have increased by $0.14%. LISD had been hit hard recently by the loss of Boomerang, causing a significant hit to its tax base that could result in some drastic changes for the district. The district will now look for solutions to an almost million dollar shortfall, including a hard look at staffing patterns.
“We have a very important job to do here, and that is to take care of the kids in our school district,” said LISD Superintendent Cody Abshire.
Emergency Services District No. 2
Voters on the far east side of Liberty County went to the polls to decide on the adoption of a sales and use tax in that district. That tax would not have been able to exceed one and one half of a penny. There were 194 votes cast, with 120 against and 74 in favor.
Plum Creek Municipal Utility District 1A
Most likely, you have not heard of Plum Creek, but they passed every one of the props in their district, with 100% voter turnout; of course, there are only two registered voters in the district. The vote officially established that MUD and saw the election of a new board of directors and bonds in the $100 million range.