Yes, we know. It seems like you just voted in an election — and you did in March. That was to elect party nominees for state and congressional elections. This Saturday — May 5 — you'll be deciding who sits on city councils and school boards; whether to approve the largest bond package in the City of Fort Worth's history; whether to give the Tarrant Regional Water District authority to borrow millions to continue working on one of the biggest development projects ever imagined in Fort Worth.
The Editorial Board has considered information and candidates in the following elections and made these recommendations:
Fort Worth’s ability to attract investment and economic development depends on its ability to maintain quality public services. The city has proposed borrowing nearly$400 million that it would pay back over 20 yearswithout raising the tax rate. It would be spent on six categories of need, which must be voted on separately. The biggest chunk of the money — 65 percent —would pay for street construction and maintenance. Money would also be spent on parks and recreation, libraries, fire stations, a new police facility and an additional animal shelter that could be under construction this year.
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Approval would allow the water district to borrow $250 million for construction of the Trinity River Vision project and Panther Island in Fort Worth. The project re-channels Trinity River tributaries and addresses flood control while creating a waterfront district similar to San Antonio's River Walk. We cautiously recommend the bond to continue a project that could transform the city, though we have concerns about the escalating cost of the project.
We believe district leaders have a solid case for asking voters to say "yes" to a $199 million bond proposal on May 5. The student population is still growing. The money would pay for two new elementary schools and upgrade the aging 1970s-era junior highs. Approval of the bond would add $164 a year to property taxes for the average home. It would not raise taxes for senior who have an over-65 home exemption.
Two qualified candidates are running to succeed Charlie Parker who is not seeking reelection. We appreciate Helen Moise’s knowledge and long-time civic involvement and she is a strong candidate. But we recommend Barbara Odom-Wesley because we believe she would provide a much needed voice for neighborhoods in a city where economic development is a driving priority.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You must bring a state-approved voter ID to the polls. That could be a Texas driver’s license, Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, U.S. military ID card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo or a U.S. passport.
If there is a reason you can't obtain an ID before Election Day, you can present an alternative form of identification at the polls — for example, a utility bill with your name and address — and fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration.
The process will go more smoothly if you also show your voter registration card.
In Tarrant County, voters can check the Tarrant County Elections Office website or call 817-831-8683. Voters statewide may call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-252-VOTE.