County propositions

October 23, 2012

It has been my habit to address propositions and constitutional amendments in this column. The goal has been – and remains – to provide information, not to attempt to convince readers to a particular point of view. That has never been more true than with this article. The information on the three county propositions is for informational purposes only, and has been carefully reviewed by experts in the field to insure that, as Sgt. Friday would say, it contains “just the facts.”
Proposition 1 offers voters the opportunity to vote for or against “the issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $4,020,000 to pay for construction of improvements, renovation, restoration and equipping of the Nolan County Courthouse.” The actual proposition passed by the Commissioners Court reads slightly differently, but with the same basic intent:
SHALL the Commissioners Court of Nolan County, Texas be authorized to issue bonds of said County in an amount not to exceed $4,020,000 to pay for the construction of improvements, renovation and equipping of the Nolan County Courthouse, including renovating and remediating the courthouse facade, such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed forty (40) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise and not exceed the maximum rate prescribed by law) as shall be determined within the discretion of the Commissioners Court at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the County sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity?
In short, a vote of “yes” on the first proposition allows the Commissioners Court, in the name of the county, to borrow the money (issue bonds) for the repair of the courthouse. A vote of “no” denies them that authority. The type façade or repair is left to the discretion of the commissioners. It is not a subject of the proposition.
Proposition 2 offers voters the opportunity to vote for or against “the issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $10,245,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new county jail and the acquisition of a site therefore.” The actual proposition passed by the Commissioners Court again reads slightly differently:
SHALL the Commissioners Court of Nolan County, Texas be authorized to issue bonds of said County in an amount not to exceed $10,245,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new County Jail facility and the acquisition of a site therefor, such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed forty (40) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise and not exceed the maximum rate prescribed by law) as shall be determined within the discretion of the Commissioners Court at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the County sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity?
A “yes” vote allows the Commissioners Court to proceed to build a new jail facility; a “no” vote denies them that authority. If the facility is to be built, its location is within the discretion of the Commissioners Court.
Proposition 3 offers voters the opportunity to vote for or against “the issuance of general obligation bonds not to exceed $1,425,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new Sheriff’s Office.” The proposition as passed by the Commissioners states:
SHALL the Commissioners Court of Nolan County, Texas be authorized to issue bonds of said County in an amount not to exceed $1,425,000 to pay for the construction and equipping of a new Sheriff’s Office, such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed forty (40) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise and not exceed the maximum rate prescribed by law) as shall be determined within the discretion of the Commissioners Court at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the County sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity?
It then goes on to provide that, if the second proposition fails and the third passes, the new offices will not be built; the third is wholly dependent on the passage of the second.
Early voting starts October 22, in the County Clerk’s Office; take the time to know the issues and be heard!

Lisa Peterson is the County Attorney for Nolan County. Comments about this column may be e-mailed to editor@sweetwaterreporter.com.

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