Editor: Shannon Cottongame
May 5, 2022
Voters will decide the outcome of proposed statewide constitutional amendments, the Aquilla ISD bond proposal and Covington ISD’s school board election on the Saturday, May 7, election date. Polling places throughout Hill and Bosque counties will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Locally, polling places include the Whitney ISD School Board room, located at 308 South San Jacinto (Precinct 13), the Open Range Cowboy Church Community Center, located at 757 FM 1713 in Whitney (Precinct 4), the 2604 VFD Fire Station, located at 319 FM 2604 in Whitney (Precinct 8), the Aquilla Fire Station, located at 201 East Treadwell (Precinct 5), and the Hill County annex in Huron, located at 5800 FM 933 in Whitney (Precinct 2).
Other Hill County polling places include: First Presbyterian Church, 301 Old Brandon Road in Hillsboro (Precincts 1 and 9); Central Baptist Church, 1100 Old Bynum Road in Hillsboro (Precinct 3); Covington Street annex, 126 South Covington Street in Hillsboro (Precinct 6); Abbott High School auditorium, located at 219 1st Street in Abbott (Precinct 7); HILCO Event Center, located at 1000 South Files in Itasca (Precinct 10); Penelope Volunteer Fire Department, located at 121 East Commerce in Penelope (Precinct 11); and the Hubbard Civic Center, located at 300 North Magnolia (Precinct 12).
In Bosque County, polling places are the Clifton Civic Center, located at 403 West 3rd Street (Precincts 7, 8 and 9); the Meridian Civic Center, located at 309 West River Street (Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6); Iredell City Hall, located at 218 South Eastland Street (Precincts 1 and 2); and Valley Mills Old City Hall, located at 107 South 4th Street (Precincts 10 and 11).
The first statewide proposition would reduce the property taxes that elderly and disabled Texans pay to public schools. The state would cover the reduced revenue for school districts. On the ballot, it will appear as follows: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”
The second measure would raise Texas’ homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes, which would save the average homeowner about $176 on their annual property tax bill. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.
Both measures passed during special legislative sessions last year with bipartisan support from lawmakers.
Aquilla ISD voters will consider approval of a $9.25 million bond. If passed, this would increase taxes by about 12 cents per $100 valuation. This calculates to about $10 a month for homes valued at $100,000. The average value of a home in Aquilla is $105,247.
The money would pay for the construction of six new classrooms and a 12,000 square-foot multipurpose event center that would house all fine arts, including a theater, stage, band hall and new art room. This space would also have flexible seating for up to 500 people.
The bond would also incorporate several athletic upgrades, including a new artificial turf football field as well as track and field for UIL events. Additionally, upgrades to the current facility will include an expanded cafeteria, dedicated elementary physical education room, a large outdoor covered space for outdoor events, covered walkways and 120 additional paved parking spots.
Currently, Aquilla students do not have a place to practice track or field events or the space needed to perform or practice for UIL competition.
The intended project will be over the bond amount, but the district has set aside money in its fund balance to help offset this cost to some degree. The district’s budgeted contribution will exceed one million dollars.
The district already purchased 15 acres of land for the new expansion back in 2014.
Covington ISD will need an election to fill two seats on its board. Incumbents Andy Lopez and Freedom Jay will run again, and J.D. Kaye will also be on the ballot.
No election will be needed to fill board seats on the Whitney City Council or Whitney ISD Board of Trustees.
For more information about voting, visit co.hill.tx.us/page/hill.Elections, bosquecounty.us/elections or votetexas.gov.