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Election for proposed tax increase canceled

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 20:12:33-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Monday evening, a meeting was held at Nueces County Emergency Services District No. 2 to discuss a proposed tax increase that was supposed to be on the ballot for voters in the district's jurisdiction.

However, the item only showed up on the Flour Bluff ballot, and was not included on the ballots for voters on Mustang and Padre Island.

During the meeting, it was decided that the election for the proposed 50% tax increase, which is a 1.5 cent increase per $100 of property value, would be canceled. Therefore, none of the votes on that item will count.

The error was discovered last Tuesday, two days after early voting began.

Dale Scott, the fire chief at ESD No. 2, addressed the error immediately by going to the county courthouse.

How it works, and what went wrong: Taxing entities like Nueces County ESD No. 2 are responsible for making sure what is on the voting ballot is correct. To do this, the district hired an out-of-town attorney.

It turns out, a mistake was made.

Scott says the attorney representing their district was given an outdated precinct map by the voter registration department. In turn, the attorney did not communicate with the district before signing off on the map he was given.

"Our attorney didn't bring the map to us so we could look at it," Scott said. "He just kind of signed off on it because he's in Austin and doesn't know our area."

The information and precinct map the attorney signed off on goes back to the County Clerk's office. That office is then responsible for printing and distributing the ballots with the information that they're given.

The ballot was locked in, in early October. So now, changes cannot be made.

"We're trying to do the right thing," Scott said. "It was an honest error, and we're trying to correct it."

Voters in Flour Bluff will still see the item on their ballot, but those votes won't be counted.

Nueces County ESD No. 2 will look to put the tax increase measure on next year's ballot.

Money generated from the proposed tax increase would go toward replacing bunker gear equipment, buying a washer and dryer for the gear, and a new radio system for the district.