By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) Board of Directors met in a called meeting on Monday evening to canvass the votes from the Nov. 7 election.

As the meeting got underway, HCHD Board President Deborah Porth Blackwell informed those in attendance a total of 1,727 votes were counted by machine on election night.

“There were also some manual additions. I know there were seven manual votes for and four manual votes against,” Blackwell said.

She added the difference in the tallies of those in favor of the proposition and those against the proposition now stood at 10, in favor of those against.

The proposition at issue was to allow the HCHD to remove the tax cap placed on their taxing ability.  Under the HCHD’s current bylaws, the most the HCHD could charge is 15 cents per $100 of property valuation.

The proposition called for a removal of the tax cap which would allow the HCHD to raise taxes up to 75 cents per $100 of valuation. It was not a tax hike, but rather gave the board the option of raising the tax rate above the 15 cent rate in the future.

Dick Murchison, the administrator for the HCHD board, said, “This was an unusual election. In retrospect, the Latexo district and the hospital district should have had their own ballots. In their efforts to consolidate (voting) boxes, this made it more difficult on the clerks.”

Murchison alluded to voters north of Grapeland who were given ballots they should not have received but added voters who were given the wrong ballot should not have voted and further explained the individual voters should have asked for the correct ballot.

“I do have a petition here signed by 25 voters to request a manual recount of our election, along with a deposit check to cover the cost,” Blackwell said.

“I don’t think this will be costly effort to do the recount. I think the people requesting the recount are just concerned about some of the issues with the election and feel like it would be prudent to go ahead and do the recount,” Blackwell said.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.