The long campaign season is almost over.
Yesterday marked the end to the early voting period leading up to Tuesday’s General Election. On that day, polls will be open from 7 to 7 at 16 locations.
Elections Administrator Lois Joplin said the stream of early voters slowed down somewhat this week compared to last week. However, numbers through Wednesday showed the turnout to still be above that of the presidential election four years ago.
With two, 12-hour days of early voting left to go, Joplin said that the turnout through Wednesday was 29.79 percent of Hood County’s registered voters, compared to 28.93 percent for that same voting period in 2008. She said the percentage differences equate to about 300 votes.
In addition to the presidential election and races for the U.S. Senate and Congress, there are local races and issues specific to Hood County.
In Precinct 1, there is a competition for the newly created justice of the peace office between Democrat Nick Cangiamilla and Republican Roger “Cotton” Howell. There is also a referendum calling for the sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption.
Currently, Joplin explained, there are some stores that are not allowed to sell beer and wine that are located within a short distance of competing stores that can legally sell those products.
Two incumbents on the Granbury City Council face challengers to their bids for re-election. There are face-offs between Gary Couch and Place 3 incumbent Mitch Tyra; and Laurel Pirkle of Place 5 with Keith Tipton and Harold Sandel.
Voters in Tolar will decide a $7.2 million bond referendum for school buildings, as well as two contested seats on the school board.
Voters will decide whether they want a $10 million recreation center near Acton Middle School that would be owned by the county, but operated by the YMCA.
If approved, it will increase property taxes by 2 cents per $100 of appraised value. For a home valued at $125,000, it would be an annual increase of $25. Y memberships would still have to be purchased to cover operational costs.
County commissioners predict it will take 13-15 years to pay off. The county will be out from under the debt of the Justice Center in another three to five years.
The recreation facility would have the capability to handle swim meets that would bring in out-of-town competitors and spectators. Proponents believe the swim meets would be good for the local economy, fueling business for restaurants and stores and also increasing property values.
The Y was the only entity that responded when the Commissioners Court sought applications for management of the facility should voters decide they want it.
Both parties would be able to opt out of the agreement. If that happened, the county would contract with another company or organization to handle the rec center’s day-to-day operations.
Shelby Murphy of Empower Personal Fitness Studio said she feels that the initiative equates to a new building for the Y at taxpayer expense – a perk that is not afforded to other nonprofits. She also said that the Y’s profits are not reinvested in Hood County, but rather sent to “the Metroplex, and beyond.”
Lisa Gossard, executive director of the YMCA of Hood County, said that the Y provides 63 local jobs, as well as scholarships for those who cannot afford memberships.
Thane Baker, a former Olympic gold medal winner who feels strongly about the Y, said he believes there would be many benefits to Hood County if the rec center is approved.
Though some, like Murphy, believe that the county “promised the YMCA a new building” when local officials requested that the Y come here several years ago, the verbiage in the agreement does not promise a larger building, per se.
The agreement involved the hospital board – whose members include the Commissioners Court – assisting in finding a larger location once the Y’s membership grew to a point where more space was needed.
Members of the Commissioners Court have said that they are fulfilling their legal obligation to the Y by putting the question of a county-funded rec center on the ballot, and letting voters make the decision.
How to be informed
Voters can find detailed information on major races through the 2012 Voters Guide located on the League of Women Voters of Texas website, www.lwv-texas.org.
For local voting details, go to the county’s website, www.co.hood.tx.us. The number to Joplin’s office is 817-408-2525.
firstname.lastname@example.org|817-573-7066, ext. 258.
Here are the polling locations for Tuesday’s General Election. Citizens can check their voting precinct by looking at their voter registration card. It is listed next to their date of birth. Polls will be open from 7 to 7 on Election Day.
Where To Vote
Annex 1, 1410 W. Pearl St.
Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1400 N. Meadows Dr.
Lakeside Baptist Church, 500 W. Bluebonnet Dr.
First Baptist Church of Granbury, 1851 Weatherford Highway.
Tolar Community Center, 120 Tolar Cemetery Road.
Tolar Community Center, 120 Tolar Cemetery Road.
Lipan Community Center, 202 W. Lipan Dr.
Fairview Baptist Church, 5041 Weatherford Highway.
Gateway Community Center, 1200 Temple Hall Highway.
Acton Baptist Church, 3500 Fall Creek Highway.
Treaty Oaks Community Center, 7301 Mistletoe Trail.
Triple Cross Cowboy Church, 3470 Lipan Highway.
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 2301 Acton Highway.
Lake Granbury Christian Temple, 3755 Acton Highway.
Historic Cresson School, 9304 Pittsburg St.
Pecan Activity Center, 9200 Plantation Dr.
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