Harker Heights voters have one last chance Saturday to vote for a new city councilman, as well as help to determine the fate of a multimillion-dollar school district bond.
Early voting concluded Tuesday in the election for Harker Heights City Council, Killeen ISD board of trustees and the KISD school bond issue.
A total of 1,066 ballots were been cast at Harker Heights City Hall for the city election.
Michael Blomquist and Jeff Orlando are running for the Place 2 seat on the City Council being vacated by Councilman Steve Carpenter, who decided he would not seek re-election.
Blomquist, 50, a resident of Harker Heights for 18 years, is in training to be a graduate gemologist and is an apprentice with a jeweler in Killeen. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel with over 22 years of military service.
Orlando, 54, has lived in Harker Heights for 18 years as well. He is the owner of three restaurants in the area. He has been a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Planning and Zoning Commission, Chamber of Commerce board and Communities in Schools.
The Place 5 City Council seat is also on Saturday’s ballot, but incumbent Jody Nicholas is unopposed for re-election.
On the KISD ballot, two candidates are vying for the Place 6 seat on the board of trustees.
Incumbent Minerva Trujillo was originally elected to fill the seat vacated by her late husband, Arthur Trujillo. Previously, she spent 35 years working for KISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal in a number of schools.
Challenger Lan Carter has years of experience working for Copperas Cove ISD. She has also run campaigns for several political seats, and is an education advocate.
Board member JoAnn Purser is unopposed in her bid for another term on Place 7.
Also on the KISD ballot will be a bond issue requesting $426 million for a variety of district construction projects — an initiative that has generated keen local interest.
At the end of early voting, 3,744 ballots had been cast, surpassing the district’s previous record.
The bond initiative is divided into two ballot propositions — $235 million and $191 million.
The projects included in the bond issue are construction of a new high school and new elementary school, both of which should open for the 2022-2023 school year, renovations to bring older schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and increased security in and around the buildings, as well as consolidations of some older campuses into new buildings, and renovations to Killeen High School and Clifton Park Elementary.
The bond issue was driven, in part, by current overcrowding in the district’s schools. Enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year in the 26th largest school district in Texas is expected to be nearly 45,000 students, a new record high, according to KISD officials.
If both propositions pass, the owner of a $143,000 home — the district average price — would see a property tax increase of about $177 per year, according to KISD estimates.
In Harker Heights, voting will take place Saturday at the Harker Heights Recreation Center, 307 Miller’s Crossing, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Residents must show a photo I.D. in order to vote.