By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

Bell County commissioners in regular session Monday morning hosted Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson on his first stop on a tour to encourage voter registration in time for the constitutional amendment election Nov. 6.

This is Wilson’ first term as secretary of state, though he is a veteran of appointed offices in state government. He said he is making the tour because about $9 billion in bonds are at stake in an election that includes 16 proposed amendments plus various local initiatives.

The amendments containing the bond provisions include:

Proposition 12, which would allow the issue of up to $5 billion in general obligation bonds by the Texas Transportation Commission for highway improvement projects;

Proposition 15, to require creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorize up to $3 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state to find the causes and cures for cancer.

Proposition 4, which would authorize up to $1 billion payable from general revenues for maintenance, improvement, repair and construction projects and purchase of equipment to perform the work.

Proposition 2, to provide $500 million in general obligation bonds and authorize bond enhancement agreements for educational loans to students.

Proposition 16, providing up to $250 million in bonds that the Texas Water Development Board could issue to provide assistance to economically distressed areas.

Wilson noted that voter turnout in May’s constitutional amendment election totaled a little over 7 percent statewide. He wants to improve that record, he said, “because I believe this election will play a major role in shaping the direction of Texas for years to come.”

The deadline to register for the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 9. Applications are available at the county voter registrar’s office, most libraries, post offices and high schools. They can also be downloaded from the secretary of state’s Web site,

Monday’s tour was to take Wilson through the Coryell and Lampasas county courthouses and other points to the west.

Commissioners also issued writs of election and approved notice of the election. They approved orders of election for simultaneous bond elections for $9.75 million in the City of Temple and $4 million for the Holland Independent School District so that those issues could be on the same ballot.

In other action, they approved the two-year renewal of a contract with Indigent Healthcare Solutions for data processing services for $5,802 a month, $100 less than the previous contract. They approved an application for the annual indigent defense grant from the Task Force on Indigent Defense for $128,357.

They received a report that the county’s district judges had reappointed Donna Eakin as auditor and certified her budget as $801,140 and received the judges’ order setting the pay of the five court reporters at $59,236 each.

County engineer Richard Macchi reported that his department collected 4,355 tires at a collection event at the Bell County Expo Center over the weekend, about 2,000 fewer than the 6,400 collected at an event in January.

The tires are moved to a plant in Houston that shreds them to burn for industrial fuel.

“We find discarded tires by the roadside all the time, and farmers and ranchers find old castoff tires on their land. This provides a way to dispose of them,” he said. “Most landfills won’t accept them.”

Contact Don Bolding at or (254) 501-7557

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