The city of Big Spring will be able to move forward with its proposed $13 million overhaul of the municipality's water and wastewater facilities utilizing economic development funding. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure during Saturday's citywide election.
The measure passed with 1,182 ballots in favor, making up a whopping 71.51 percent of the vote, with 471 casting their ballot against the proposition, accounting for 28.49 percent of the tally.
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, the EDC will provide $750,000 a year for the first two years, and then 40 percent of its sales tax revenue â€” with a floor of $500,000 and a ceiling of $750,000 for the following 18 years â€” with the city of Big Spring picking up the remainder of the tab.
Big Spring Mayor Tommy Duncan, who first proposed the idea of using EDC funding for the project to the council in late 2011, said he's very happy with the outcome of Saturday's election.
â€śWe wanted to allow the community to voice their opinion on this matter and now that they have we're prepared to follow their directions,â€ť Duncan said. â€śI feel like the community has sent a signal with this election. They have said they recognize the need for improvements to the city's infrastructure, but they also recognize the fact our tax rate and water rates are already too high.â€ť
Also part of the Saturday election, the race for the District 4 seat on the Big Spring City Council came down to slightly more than a dozen ballots. Local businessman Bobby McDonald took the win with 232 ballots, a total of 51.44 percent of the vote, with challenger Loretta Farquhar receiving 219 ballots, a total of 48.56 percent of the vote.
McDonald called the win â€śrazor-thin,â€ť but said he's happy to have the chance to represent District 4 in the coming years.
â€śIn a situation like that, when it's that close, you'd always like to see better numbers,â€ť McDonald said. â€śIn all honesty, however, I was just stunned to have won the race. I didn't really expect to get that many votes. However, there are still a group of people out there with what I like to call the Dora Roberts mentality, and I'm just thankful for those people and their support.
â€śMy opponent ran a good race and she was very gracious. She called me immediately after the results came in, which really made me feel good about the whole thing. However, that's behind us now, and it's time to get to work. The pressure is on us (the council) to do a good job.â€ť
The race for the District 2 seat on the Big Spring Independent School District board of trustees went to incumbent Maria Padilla â€” in numbers only â€” who received 38 ballots for a total of 39.18 percent of the vote. Challenger Pat Deanda came in a close second with 36 ballots for 37.11 percent of the vote and Edwin O. Ware received 23 ballots, accounting for 23.71 percent of the vote.
Unfortunately for Padilla, there won't be any time to celebrate as she will have to face against Deanda once again in a runoff election tentatively scheduled sometime in the next two to three weeks. The runoff election was made necessary because the winning candidate failed to garner 50 percent or more of the vote.
Voters in Coahoma had plenty of candidates to choose from Saturday, as six were vying for three seats on the city council. Candidates included incumbents Linda Luce, Paulette Lindsey and Zach Johnson, as well as challengers Billy Sullivan, Dan Shelburne and John Mulkey.
Lindsey led the pack on election day with 85 ballots (20.58 percent), followed by Johnson with 75 ballots (18.16 percent) and Luce with 71 ballots (17.19 percent). These three candidates will take the three at-large seats on the council.
Challenger John Mulkey just missed his target with 70 ballots (16.95 percent) â€” putting him just one ballot shy of tying Luce for the final seat â€” while Sullivan took 59 ballots (14.29 percent) and Shelburne garnered 53 ballots (12.83 percent).
Coahoma ISD faced a similar election with six candidates vying for three at-large seats, as incumbents Brian Moore, Jody Reid and Alan Wright managed to defend their seats against challengers Leslie Tindol, Gerald King and Paul Lewis.
Reid was to top vote-getter with 202 ballots (27.71 percent), while Moore followed with 189 ballots (25.93 percent) and Alan Wright garnered 112 ballots (15.36 percent). Challenger Tindol brought in 102 ballots â€” just 10 shy of tying Wright â€” while King received 73 ballots and Lewis garnered just 51 ballots (7 percent).