By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – After nearly three weeks of uncertainty about the results of the Nov. 7 election, a recount of the votes was held on Monday, Nov. 27 and while the numbers changed slightly, the results of the two contested propositions in Houston County did not.

After the recount, the final totals indicated the proposition to uncap the tax rate for the Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) failed by five votes. The election night totals showed 764 people voted for the proposition while 771 voted against.

According to Interim Elections Administrator Cynthia Lum, the recount showed a total of 768 people in favor of uncapping the tax rate while 773 voters cast their ballots against the measure.

HCHD Board President Deborah Blackwell said she would like to try for another election in the future, but stressed she would first need to talk to the other board members.

“I think we need to do a better job reaching out to those in the community who voted against the proposition or to those who misunderstood,” she said.

“I found out a lot today,” Blackwell said, following the recount. “I am very comfortable that everyone who could have voted in the hospital district election – did. That was my main concern when I went over there today (Nov. 27). I wanted to make sure that everyone in every precinct that could have voted did – or they had the opportunity to vote and they were not given an incorrect ballot. I am comfortable with that.”

In Latexo, the election night totals showed 151 votes in favor of the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) while 168 voted in opposition. Following the recount, Lum reported the final numbers indicated 150 voters cast their ballots in support of the TRE while 164 voted against the measure.

A TRE is “… a special election, called by a school’s board of trustees, asking the voters to approve a tax rate that is above the current $1.04 maintenance and operations tax rate allowed by state law,” according to the Texas Association of School Boards.

Latexo ISD Superintendent Dr. Stacy Easterly expressed disappointment in the recount results but added the district would continue with the high standards of education people have become accustomed to at LISD.

“Our constituents and the people who live within our school district lines have spoken and the TRE did not pass. We will continue to work for the students of Latexo as we have always done,” she said. “They have spoken and that’s the way we will leave it.”

County Judge Jim Lovell, the chairman of the Houston County Election Commission, said the only thing left for the county to do now is to put the finishing touches on reports to be submitted to the Texas Secretary of State.

“I was glad our system did not fail. I don’t foresee either of the parties who submitted a request for recount doing anything else. I believe they are satisfied,” the judge said.

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