Check your voter cards now in time for May 12 elections

Time is running out for Crossroads residents who plan to cast a ballot in this year's municipal elections but haven't yet registered to vote, as Thursday, April 12, is the last day they can file their voter registration in time, according to local election officials.Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom said the deadline is quickly approaching and urges area residents to check their voter readiness in preparation for the municipal contest, which is slated for May 12.“The deadline to register to vote is 30 days prior to any election, so that deadline is right around the corner,” Bloom said. “If you haven't received your voter certificate in the mail or you're simply not sure about your registration status, you should contact our offices so we can check. It's much easier to check on these kinds of things ahead of time and get the ball rolling before the day or two before the deadline.”Bloom said voter certificates were mailed out to Howard County residents last week.“Everyone should have received their voter certificate in the mail by now,” Bloom said. “If you haven't received it, you need to contact our office. Also, if you received one in the mail for someone who no longer resides at that residence, you need to mark it 'return to sender' and drop it back in the mailbox. This is one of the main ways we're able to update and clean up our voter rolls each year.”Big Spring voters will only have one city council contest to weigh-in on this year, as the race for the District 4 seat will be on the ballot May 12.Bobby McDonald — local businessman and husband of incumbent District 4 Councilwoman Gloria McDonald, who decided not to run for re-election — will face off against local resident Loretta Farquhar for the seat.The District 2 seat, currently held by Manuel Ramirez Jr., who did not file to run for re-election, drew only a single candidate. Carmen Moreno Harbour will run unopposed.The District 6 seat, held by Councilman Terry Hansen, who also declined to file for re-election, drew a lone candidate. Marvin Boyd, owner of Boyd's Auto Glass.Big Spring voters will also be asked to decide the fate of a proposed overhaul of the municipality's water and wastewater facilities using up to $13 million in economic development funding through a 4B project.Members of the Big Spring City Council voted unanimously to have the proposed project placed on the May ballot during their Feb. 14 meeting, a move that drew both praise and criticism from various voices in the community.As part of the agreement between the council and the Big Spring Economic Development board of directors, if voters approve the project the EDC will provide $750,000 a year for the first two years, and then 40 percent of its sales tax revenue — with a floor of $500,000 and a ceiling of $750,000 for the following 18 years — with the city of Big Spring picking up the remainder of the tab.The proposal also contains an agreement City Attorney Linda Sjogren said she hopes will quell the idea within the community the city council will simply begin using the Big Spring EDC — and, more importantly, its sales tax funding — as a revenue source, an idea at the heart of many arguments currently surrounding the proposed 4B project.“We also added a provision to belay any concerns the city council was going to keep coming back to the well and pushing the EDC in this direction,” Sjogren said. “In the future, if the city council proposes a 4B project and it is approved by the voters, the amount of the (new) project would reduce this project. This was just to show the spirit of the agreement.”The city of Big Spring has struggled with its water and wastewater systems, most recently being cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality numerous times due to high levels of turbidity in municipal waters. Voters will have the opportunity to either vote for or against the project on the May 12 ballot, according to city officials.Early voting in this year's municipal elections is slated to begin April 30 and end May 8, according to local election officials.The deadline to request a mail-out ballot is May 4, according to Bloom.“If you haven't already requested your mail-out ballot, please phone-in and make your request that way,” Bloom said. “We're trying to avoid any confusion between the municipal elections and the party primaries, which are also being held in May.”Also May 12, several area public schools will be having trustee elections.For more information on the upcoming elections, contact the Howard County Elections Administration at 432-264-2273.