Voters defeat ESD, choose council
By LPR Staff
Fewer than 7 percent of Caldwell County”s voters decided three issues facing the county in the Saturday, May 12 special election.
Of the county”s 19,662 registered voters, only a total of 1,292 came to the polls to make their voices heard about the formation of an emergency services district, the makeup of the Lockhart C
ity Council, and a Constitutional amendment to provide tax relief for the elderly and disabled.
Supporters of Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 1 were disappointed to discover that the measure was defeated by a wide margin, with 181 voters (67.04 percent) speaking out against the district, while only 89 (32.96 percent) lent their support.
The district would have merged the Mid-County and McMahan Volunteer Fire Department service areas into one district, formed a board of directors appointed by the Caldwell County Commissioners” Court, and granted the district authority to levy taxes to finance emergency services, especially fire protection.
In the days and weeks leading up to the election, opponents of the measure expressed concern about forming another entity to levy taxes, and questioned whether the district would be as effective as supporters promised.
Supporters of forming the emergency services district may not renew their petitions on the measure for one year.
After election night returns were posted, residents of the City of Lockhart learned that the makeup of the Lockhart City Council had not changed. Incumbents Kennedy Roland (District 1) and Frank Estrada (District 2) ran unopposed and were returned to office with fewer than 50 votes each.
The one contested race, for the council”s two at-large seats, ended with incumbents Richard J. “Dick” Wieland and Paul Gomez retaining their seats for another term.
Wieland led the pack through early voting and right up to the final count, earning 329 votes (39.88 percent). Gomez followed Wieland by nearly 100 votes, but still carried 28.61 percent of the vote (236 votes). Newcomers James “Jim” Bliss and Mark Brown earned 142 (17.21 percent) and 118 (14.3 percent) votes respectively.
Roland, Estrada, Wieland and Gomez took their oaths of office on Tuesday evening during the regular meeting of the Lockhart City Council.
With regard to the third ballot issue, the constitutional amendment offering certain tax relief to the elderly and disabled, the voice of Caldwell County followed the voice of the State.
Nearly 1,100 Caldwell County voters (87.57 percent) supported the measure, while only 156 were against it. At the State level, the amendment earned the support of 87.7 percent of the voters (around 810,850).