Early voting is a signal that election season is upon us again.
Early voting begins Monday and lasts until Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.
This year, there is a contested city council race for District 1 between incumbent Laura Alvarado and former councilman Mercedes Renteria. Chris Presley, the District 2 representative, and Charles Johnson, District 3’s representative, are running unopposed. Their terms are for three years.
In Beach City, three alderman positions are up for election. They are Ryan Dagley, Paul Newman III, and Raymond Smith.
Beach City also has a proposed 1.5% sales tax on the ballot.
The 1.5% sales tax is the current gap Beach City has, with a current sales tax of 6.75% and room to increase it to 8.25% — the maximum sales tax allotted by the State of Texas.
With the 6.75% sales tax, 6.25% goes to the state and .5% going to the Chambers County Health District.
The sales tax only applies to sales within Beach City limits.
Also on the ballot are 10 state constitutional amendments. Each of these measures already gained at least a two-thirds vote from each house of the legislature. These are:
• Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amendment. Texas does not have a state income tax for individuals; this would prohibit one being created by the legislature.
• Precious Metals in Depositories Exempt from Property Tax Amendment. Allows the legislature to exempt from property taxes precious metals held in a precious metals depository, such as the state-owned Texas Bullion Depository created in 2015.
• Temporary Property Tax Exemption for Disaster Areas Amendment. Allows local governments to make certain property tax exempt for a limited time in areas of declared disasters.
• Allowed to Serve as Multiple Municipal Judges Amendment. Allows an elected municipal judge to serve more than one city. Municipal judges that are appointed, as in Baytown, can already serve multiple cities.
• Increase Distributions to School Fund Amendment. Increases the amount of money earned from state lands that may be distributed to school funding.
• Sales Tax on Sporting Goods Dedicated to Parks, Wildlife and Historical Agencies Amendment. Does not increase sales tax, but requires that tax already collected on the sale of sporting goods be spent on projects funded by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
• Flood Infrastructure Fund Amendment. Creates a special fund administered by the Texas Water Development Board to provide financing for flood control projects.
• Texas Cancer Prevention and Research Institute Bonds Amendment. Increases from $3 billion to $6 billion the total value of bonds the state can issue in support of cancer research.
• Water Development Board Bonds Amendment. Would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds with outstanding principal up to $200 million for water, sewer and drainage projects in economically distressed areas.
• Transfer of Law Enforcement Animals Amendment. Would allow the senior law enforcement officer of an agency (such as a sheriff, constable or police chief) to transfer ownership of an agency-owned animal, such as a dog or horse, to the animal’s handler or another person when the animal is retired from service. They have to take into consideration the welfare of the animal. Current state law treats retired animals like any other surplus property, which must be auctioned, donated to a nonprofit agency or destroyed.
For Baytown city council early voting, you can go to the Baytown Community Center Tejas Room located at 2407 Market Street. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 21 through Oct. 26, 1 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28 through Nov. 1.
You can vote early in the Beach City election at the Conference Room at the Chambers County Courthouse Annex at 2128 SH 61 in Anahuac. You can also vote at the County Clerk’s Office at the West Chambers County Courthouse Annex at 10616 Eagle Drive in Mont Belvieu, the Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6 Courtroom at Cedar Bayou Community Building 7711 Hwy. 146 in Baytown.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21-25, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28-31 and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1.