Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Bexar County residents will be able to weigh in on seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday in an election that generated meager turnout in early voting. Two board positions on the San Antonio River Authority also are on the ballot countywide.
During the early voting period, which ended Friday, a mere 14,489 votes were cast in Bexar County, according to the county elections office. That's just 1.38 percent of the county's registered voters. And while turnout for constitutional amendment elections is typically low, this year's turnout will be even lower than normal based on early voting numbers, said Jacquelyn Callanen, Bexar County elections administrator.
"We usually end at 7-10 percent [turnout], but we won't get that now," she told the Rivard Report on Monday.
Of the proposed constitutional amendments, Proposition 2 would directly affect the most Texas homeowners, particularly those seeking to borrow against the value of their homes. The amendment would lower the cap on fees related to home equity loans from 3 percent to 2 percent of the loan principal and permit the use of agricultural homesteads for home equity borrowing. Other propositions on the ballot include:
- Proposition 1, which would give property tax exemptions to certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses whose homes were donated to them for less than market value.
- Proposition 3, which would limit the amount of time certain gubernatorial appointees could remain in their positions after their terms expire.
- Proposition 4, which would require courts to notify the state attorney general about constitutional challenges to state laws.
- Proposition 5, which would give more charitable foundations connected with professional sports teams the ability to hold charity raffles, expanding the definition of a "professional sports team" to include United Soccer League and minor league baseball teams, among other sports.
- Proposition 6, which would provide property tax exemptions to the surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.
- Proposition 7, which would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to promote saving by holding raffles, which generally are prohibited unless conducted by charitable groups.
The River Authority manages the San Antonio River and focuses on developing and conserving the state’s water resources while maintaining dams and working on wastewater treatment plants. The organization’s jurisdiction covers Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties. Its budget is funded through property taxes at a rate of 1.73 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Incumbents Hector R. Morales, who serves as the board’s secretary and has held a board seat since 2005, and Lynn Murphy are running for re-election. Morales, 72, spent more than 20 years in civil service and more than 20 years in the Air National Guard. Murphy was appointed to the board in 2016 by Gov. Greg Abbott following the death of board member Sally Buchanan. Murphy is an attorney and the CEO of medical billing firm Integrity Ancillary Management.
Skye Curd, 37; Joseph F. Nazaroff, 66; and Deb Bolner-Prost, 64, are the three newcomers seeking a board position. Curd serves on the Westside Creeks Restoration Oversight Committee and worked on the recent Elmendorf Lake restoration on the city's Westside. Bolner-Prost, who leads Prost Marketing, is a board member of the San Antonio River Foundation and previously served on the Olmos Park City Council from 2011 to 2015. Nazaroff is retired and currently serves as a board member of the Leon Valley Economic Development Corporation.
The highest number of ballots – 1,418 – cast in Bexar County during early voting were in the incorporated City of Windcrest, which is electing a mayor and two City Council representatives. Voters in the northeastern Bexar County city also are deciding on two propositions, including one that would reauthorize the use of a portion of sales tax revenue to fund street maintenance. The other is a non-binding proposition about whether a bond election should be called for additional street repairs and improvements.
The City of Converse is electing a mayor and three City Council members, and residents also will decide whether to approve a series of charter amendments. Other local measures are on the ballot in the cities of Leon Valley and Schertz.