News

Mayoral, council seats up for grabs Saturday

Rockdale voters will go to the polls Saturday to decide the fate of three contested city council races and whether to bring together all phases of a halfcent sales tax, being collected for economic development, under one entity.

Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Early voting ended Tuesday with 276 persons casting their votes.

Council races

The entire city will vote for mayor where Collier Perry, Dr. Larry Jones and Rev. Darrell Grear are

vying to replace John Shoemake who did not seek re-election.

West ward voters will choose between incumbent councilman Tom Fisher and challenger Toby Johnson.

And east ward voters will pick between a pair of newcomers, Joyce Dalley and Roger Whitmore.

Incumbent J. T. Talley did not seek re-election.

Sales tax collection

From there it gets a lot more complex.

Voters in the city and extraterritorial jurisdiction are being asked whether to transfer the half-cent sales tax which has been collected for the past 16 years by the Rockdale Hospital District to a new Municipal Development District (MDD).

To do that, the hospital district sales tax—not the district itself—must be abolished by voters. That’s on the ballot.

And the new MDD must be created by voters. That’s on the ballot too.

Complicating the matter is the existing Rockdale MDD which was created to collected a halfcent sales tax which had been erroneously collected by the hospital district in an area outside the hospital district boundaries.

That district must be abolished for all the former hospital district sales tax to be collected under one entity, the new MDD.

That’s on the ballot too.

Simplified

Here’s the matter simplified.

• Yes votes on all three proposals create the new MDD and let it collect all the sales tax which was formerly collected by the hospital district.

• If voters should refuse to abolish the hospital district sales tax, the RHD continues to collect the tax inside the 1994 city limits.

• If voters okay abolition of the hospital district sales tax but turn down creation of a new MDD, the half-cent sales tax goes away inside the 1994 city limits. (It’s still collected outside those city limits and in the ETJ).

• It’s not possible under any scenario to abolish the current MDD without creating a new one. There are fail-safe clauses in each ballot proposal to see that doesn’t happen.

Different ballots

Not everyone will have the same ballot Saturday. It all depends on where you live.

Voters in Rockdale, but outside the 1994 city limits, won’t cast ballots on whether to abolish the hospital district sales tax.

Voters inside the 1994 city limits, won’t get to vote on whether to abolish the current MDD.

Everyone gets to vote on whether to create the new MDD.

Poll workers at City Hall will provide the appropriate ballot for everyone.

Impact

“In March, 2010, the hospital district collected about $13,280 in sale taxes and the current MDD collected about $8,850,” City Manager Kelvin Knauf said.

“If those amounts were added together, and stayed the same for the next 11 months, the total annual sales and use taxes collected would be about $265,560,” he said.

EARLY VOTING TOTALS

There were 273 early votes cast, including 215 persons residing in the west ward, 47 in the east ward and 11 living in neither ward but residing inside the current municipal development district.

Those 11 were the only ones who could cast votes on whether to dissolve the current MDD. The other 262 voted on creating a new MDD and on abolishing the hospital sales tax.
 


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2010-05-06 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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