4 of 10 elected positions on 2 ESD boards’ contested races

Published on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:34 - Written by Adam Russell arussell@tylerpaper.com

Four of 10 elected positions on two Emergency Services District boards drew contested races for the November election.

The five-member boards governing Emergency Services District No. 1 and No. 2 are volunteer positions and were appointed by County Commissioners until a state law created single-member districts to equally represent voters.

Emergency Services District No. 1 includes Lindale Fire Department and collected less than 6 cents per $100 valuation, or $639,000, in 2012.

Emergency Services District No. 2 includes Arp, Bullard, Chapel Hill, Dixie, Flint-Gresham, Jackson Heights, Noonday, Red Springs, Troup, Whitehouse and Winona volunteer fire departments and collected more than $4 million from taxpayers in 2012 based on a property tax rate of 8.46 cents per $100 valuation.

The single district maps were drawn proportionally based on voting-age population.

The two five-member boards would be elected to four-year terms. Members would then draw lots to decide which three members would serve four-year terms and which two would have to run again in two years to keep the terms staggered in the future.

Only five candidates, Todd Froebe (District 1), Ron Bunch (District 2), Carolyn Todd (District 3), Kenneth Smith (District 4) and Robin Daugherty (District 5), filed as candidates in ESD No. 1. They will be sworn in to office Jan. 1 because they face no opponents.

Charles Wilson did not draw an opponent in ESD No. 2 District 2.

In ESD No. 2, Paul Perryman will face Sandra “Sandy” Hayley for District 1; James Barry Barnett, Leroy Biggers and Glen Shipley are running for District 3; Robert Dear and Randal Melton face each other for District 4 and David Doty, Theodore “Ted” Gould and Matthew “Matt” Thiessen are running in District 5.

Candidates who receive the most votes, the plurality, win the election.

Karen Nelson said questions about factors that would disqualify candidates from the ballot have been raised. Mrs. Nelson said the county attorney advised her candidates are required only to be age 18 or older, a resident of the state and property owners in the district they would serve.

However, state law prohibits firefighters and individuals with ties to fire departments, such as vendors and service providers, from serving as board members. Mrs. Nelson said any person elected would have to resign from any disqualifying activity before being sworn into office Jan. 1.

Mrs. Nelson said the district election cost would be minimal. She said the district elections will not require additional staff or additional voting machines and therefore only the cost of printing additional names on November ballots would be reimbursed to the county.