By Jade Ortego
Killeen Daily Herald
Among the 11 Texas constitutional amendments up for vote Tuesday, several involve issues that could directly impact the lives of Central Texas residents, including those in military communities, those at growing universities, and landowners concerned about eminent domain, or the state's right to seize public property.
A significant proposed amendment is Proposition 11, which would authorize eminent domain authority only when the seized land will be used by the public and not for economic purposes.
Bell County Democratic Party Chair Arthur Resa, who said that he hopes all the amendments pass, finds Prop 11 the most important.
"I think that one is key. I strongly support it," Resa said.
The amendment would also make it more difficult for entities, like public utility districts, from getting approval for eminent domain authority. It would require a two-thirds vote in house and senate, where previously it required only a majority vote.
"I think that's important, even though its not mentioned anywhere in that ballot," Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock of District 54 said.
Water and other utility districts would be particularly affected by this amendment, he said. Aycock said he encourages people to pass this proposition.
"Number 11 is by far the most important," Aycock said.
According to the wording of the proposition, land seized by the state could be used for only "the ownership, use and enjoyment of the property by the State, its political subdivisions, the public at large, or by entities granted the power of eminent domain, or for the removal of urban blight."
Propositions 2, 3, and 5, which would modify the property appraisal system, are also important to local voters, Aycock said, and there is widespread misinformation about them.
"There's a rumor going around that it sets up a statewide property tax and it doesn't. Absolutely not true. In fact, it's designed to protect homeowners and property owners from some of the foibles of the present appraisal system," he said.
Prop 2 would provide for the taxation of a residence homestead based solely on its value as a residence, regardless of whether the property's value may be higher if it were used for other purposes.
Prop 3 would require the legislature to provide the administration and enforcement of uniform standards and procedures for appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes.
Prop 5, which Aycock said is least relevant to the district of the three appraisal propositions, would allow counties to combine to find the people with the expertise to complete the appraisal. This mainly affects districts that host refineries and large chemical plants.
"The amendments are really not partisan," Resa said. "I think they're all good amendments. I forgot how many times our state constitution has been changed, but I think change is good."
Among other amendments relevant to Central Texas voters:
Prop 4 would establish a national research university fund to provide funding to emerging Texas universities that would enable them to develop into major research universities. It would dedicate state revenue to the fund and transfer the balance from the existing higher education fund into this fund. It would also establish criteria that state universities would have to meet to become eligible to receive and use distributions from the fund.
Prop 1 would allow a municipality or county to issue bonds to finance the purchase of buffer zones, or open spaces, around military installations. The zones would be used to prevent the encroachment of roadways, utilities or other infrastructures, or for the construction those entities, "to protect or promote the mission of the military installation." The municipality or county may raise ad valorem tax revenues to repay the bonds.
Contact Jade Ortego or firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registered voters must bring a valid photo ID or the voter registration card to obtain a ballot.
Locations are listed by precinct number, which is found on the voter registration card.
#101 – First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 506 N. Main St.
#102 – Bell County North Annex, 1605 N. Main St.
#103 – Belton Senior Center, 842 South Mitchell
#106 – Transforming Life Church, 4107 Westcliff Road
#110 – Central Texas College, 6200 Centex Expressway, Bldg 139, Rm 175
#204 – Killeen Fire Station #3, 700 Twin Creek Drive
#205 – Marlboro Heights Baptist Church, 800 Rev Abercrombie Drive
#207 – Copper Mountain Library, 3000 S. WS Young Drive
#208 – Cedar Valley Elementary, 4801 Chantz Drive
#210 – First Baptist Church of Trimmier, 6405 Chaparral Road
#404 – Fire Station #7, 3701 Watercrest Road
#405 – Robert M. Shoemaker High School, 3302 Clear Creek Road
#406 – Central Fire Station, 201 North 28th St.
#407 – Central Texas College, 6200 Centex Expressway, Bldg 139, Rm 175
#408 – Fire Station #5, 905 West Jasper Road
#403 – St. Joseph Parish Hall, 1101 Bundrant Drive
#409 – West Bell Water Supply Office, 9498 Featherline Road
#410 – Fire Station #1, 114 W. Avenue D
#411 – Central Texas College, 6200 Centex Expressway, Bldg 139, Rm 175
#201 – First Baptist Church of Harker Heights Fellowship Hall, 100 E. Ruby Road
#202 – Harker Heights Parks & Recreation Center, 307 Millers Crossing
#209 – St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church, 1000 E. FM 2410
#104 – Morgan's Point: Morgan's Point Community Center, 8 Morgan's Point Resort Blvd.
#105 – Little River/Academy: Bliss Community Center, 109 South Evans
#107 – Bartlett: Bartlett Town Hall, 140 W. Clark St.
#108 – Holland: Kuhlman Civic Center, 100 W. Travis St.
#111 – Pea Ridge: Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 7425 FM 2305
#203 – Salado: Salado Church of Christ Activities Center, 225 N. Church St.
#206 – Nolanville: Nolanville Community Center, 406 N. 10th St.
#301 – Troy: Troy Community Center, 201 E. Main
#310 – Cyclone: St. Joseph Catholic Church Fellowship Hall, 20220 FM 485 Burlington
#311 – Moffat/Stampede: Moffat Community Center, 13300 Kuykendall Road
#312 – Rogers: First Baptist Church of Rogers, 5 West Prairie
#401 – Ivy Gap: Cove Saddle Club Arena, 2819 Boys Ranch Road, Kempner
#402 – Youngsport: Southwest Bell Fire Department, 90500 Hwy 195, Killeen
#108, 109, 111, 116 – Evant City Hall, 598 East Hwy 84, Evant
#105, 117, 219, 320, 401, 418 – Copperas Cove County Annex, 201 S Second St., Copperas Cove
#110, 202, 213, 303, 315, 404, 406, 407 – Coryell County Courthouse Annex, 201 S. 7th St., Gatesville
#312, 314 – Flat Community Center, 159 CR 334, Flat