Early voting for the Nov. 5 election began Oct. 21, and Fort Bend County residents are able to vote on nine constitutional amendments set by the 83rd Legislative Session along with the county’s proposed $185 million mobility bond. Sugar Land residents will also be able to vote on the proposed parks bond, which is comprised of three propositions.
Early voting continues through Nov. 1. Residents can vote at any of the local early voting locations:
Four Corners Community Center, 15700 Old Richmond Road, Sugar Land
Hightower High School, 3333 Hurricane Lane, Missouri City
Meadows Place City Hall, One Troyan Drive, Meadows Place
Missouri City Community Center, 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City
Chasewood Clubhouse, 7622 Chasewood Drive, Missouri City
First Colony Conference Center, 3232 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land
Sienna Branch Library, 8411 Sienna Springs Boulevard, Missouri City
Randall’s, 580 New Territory Boulevard, Sugar Land
Lost Creek Park, 3703 Lost Creek Boulevard, Sugar Land
Sugar Land City Hall, 2700 Town Center Boulevard, Sugar Land
A complete list of Fort Bend County polling locations and local precincts can be found at www.fortbendcountytz.gov.
Fort Bend County mobility bond
The proposed $184.9 million mobility bond is spread over all four precincts and includes a total of 64 road projects throughout Fort Bend County. If approved, the projects are expected to help the county keep up with continued population growth.
Precinct 1 has identified 15 projects in the bond package with a total bond amount of $53.4 million.
Precinct 2 has identified 16 projects in the bond package with a total bond amount of $47.5 million.
Precinct 3 has identified 19 projects in the bond package with a total bond amount of $58 million.
Precinct 4 has identified 14 projects in the bond package with a total bond amount of $26 million.
Sugar Land parks bond
The city of Sugar Land’s proposed $50 million parks bond calls for a new community park, continuation of the Brazos River project along with an adjacent festival site, and several miles of hike and bike trails.
If passed, the bond could result in a $0.05 rise in the city’s tax rate spread out over five years. The city aims to capture the cost of the bond through its property tax revenues. The earliest tax rate increase would be $0.01 in 2015 should the rise in property tax revenues not off-set the costs. The city of Sugar Land’s property tax revenues have increased by an average of 4 percent each year for the past five years, reflecting new commercial and residential value and changes to the city’s tax rate.
Proposition 1: $18.54 million
A 65-acre community park at Chatham Avenue and Easton Avenues
Proposition 2: $21.3 million
Phase 2 of the Brazos River Park project and an adjacent festival site
Proposition 3: $10.16 million
A connecting network of approximately 10 miles of hike and bike trails and bridges
If passed, the amendments would provide changes to the Texas Constitution ranging from purchasing property to veterans assistance to state-wide water rights.
“Constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.”
The Legislature could grant the surviving spouse of a U.S. military member killed in action property tax exemption for all or part of a homestead.
“Constitutional amendment eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.”
A requirement for a State Medical Education Board and Educational Fund would be eliminated. The fund, created to attract physicians to underserved rural areas, was ineffective and has not been used in 20 years.
“Constitutional amendment to authorize a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for tax exemption.”
A governing entity could allow companies to keep tax-exempt airplane parts, categorized as freeport goods, in the state longer without losing their tax-exempt status. Airplane parts are generally held in inventory for longer periods of time than most freeport goods because of a lack of consumer need.
“Constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.”
The legislature could authorize a property tax exemption for a partially disabled veteran or a surviving spouse equal to the percentage of the veteran’s disability if the homestead was donated by a charitable organization. Property tax exemptions are already in place for completely disabled veterans and their surviving spouses.
“Constitutional amendment to authorize the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of a homestead property and to amend lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.”
The amendment would allow the authorization of a reverse mortgage for the purchase of a homestead property. It would expand the conditions of when a lender may require repayment to include the borrower’s failure to occupy the property within the period specified in the loan agreement.
“Constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.”
The amendment would allow for the creation of a State Water Implementation Fund and revenue fund, which would go toward the creation of the substantial water supply that will be needed in coming decades. According to the 2012 state plan, 8.3 million acres of additional water supply will be needed by 2060.
“Constitutional amendment authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedures to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.”
A home-rule designated city could decide how to fill a vacancy on its governing body as long as the unexpired term is 12 months or less. Currently, cities must call for a special election to fill a short-term vacancy.
“Constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which related to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.”
The amendment would repeal a 1959 provision limiting the feasibility of creating a hospital district in Hidalgo County. The county is the largest in Texas without a hospital district.
“Constitutional amendment relating to expanding types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.”
The amendment would expand the sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding to include a public admonishment, warning, reprimand or requirement that the judge or justice obtain additional training or education.