How many people does it take to spend $145 million?
In League City, just about 2,400 on average.
On Saturday, the city held its first bond referendum in 27 years, divided in two propositions totaling $145 million for drainage and road projects. The questions drew 2,445 and 2,319 votes in favor.
About 1,200 people voted against each of the bond proposals, and an about equal number of people voted for and against an increase in the city’s sales tax rate.
League City is the most populous in Galveston County. The number of residents over the age of 18 is about 71,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bond was decided by about 5 percent of League City voters.
League City is certainly not alone in low turnouts.
In Galveston, 3.5 percent of the city’s voting age residents, 1,445 of 40,995, participated in an election that doubled parking fees on Seawall Boulevard and extended the program for another decade.
That these local elections didn’t draw many voters isn’t particularly surprising. Texas is notorious for low voter turnout. Even in last fall’s mid-term elections, which set state records for participation, Texas still had the eighth lowest turnout by percent in the nation.
Saturday’s elections — despite featuring issues that will be relevant for years — didn’t seem to have a chance to buck the low turnout trend.
So, perhaps some credit should be given to voters in Hitchcock and Kemah, who chose new mayors during the May election.
Hitchcock mayor-elect Randy Stricklind won by 30 votes, and Kemah mayor-elect Terri Gale won by 28 votes, according to unofficial results. In both races more than 20 percent of the cities’ adult populations voted.
That might count as respectable.
TWIA BILL TAKES A STEP
Amid talk of tax reforms and other major issues, changes to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency haven’t got a ton of attention during this legislative session.
Last week, however, a bill that proposes at least some temporary relief for coastal residents passed out of the Texas House of Representatives.
State Rep. Eddie Lucio III‘s House Bill 4534 proposes putting a temporary hold on the windstorm agency’s ability to raise premium rates until 2021.
The bill also would create an oversight board that would hold public meetings and make recommendations about reforming the agency.
In October 2018, Gov. Greg Abbott blocked a proposed 10 percent increase in windstorm rates for residential and commercial policies and said the legislature should be given the opportunity to reform the agency before the increase went into effect.
Lucio’s bill, of which Galveston County Reps. Greg Bonnen and Mayes Middleton are co-authors, would kick those reforms down the road.
The bill passed the House in a 132-10 vote May 3. It has been sent to the Senate, where it has a little more than weeks to be approved in order to be sent to the governor and become law.
A bill passed in the Texas Senate on Tuesday would require a vote of the state legislature to remove historic landmarks from where they currently stand. The bill is widely believed to be aimed at protecting Confederate monuments around the state. There is one Confederate monument in Galveston County, a statue called “Dignified Resignation,” that stands in front of the county courthouse in Galveston. ... There are 18 days remaining in the Texas legislative session. ... There are 30 days until the next election, although it will only be a small one. Dickinson and Santa Fe will have runoff elections June 8 for undecided city council seats. Early voting for those races begins May 28.