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Commissioners approve precinct consolidation for election, oppose solar farm

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On March 10, the Commissioners Court approved the consolidation of the Bandera County election precincts for the May 7 Special Election and voted to oppose the construction of a solar farm in the county by Montague Solar.

Bandera County Elections Administrator Gwenda Tschirhart presented several options of consolidation to the court. Upon discussion and establishing the best course, the final consolidated precincts will be paired as follows for the May 7 election: Precincts 101 and 102, precincts 203 and 204, precincts 305 and 306, precincts 407 and 409 and precincts 408 and 410.

These precincts will not be permanently combined and are only consolidating for the May 7 special election, which is for two proposed constitutional amendments.

State of Texas Proposition 1 proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.

State of Texas Proposition 2 proposes a constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes.

In other business, the court voted to oppose construction of the Montague Solar, LLC, Solar Farm, whose prospective plan is to build a solar farm on a leased property on FM3240.

Commissioner Jack Moseley said there is no economic opportunity to construct a solar farm in Bandera County and the farm would only provide an unsightly mess to the county’s beauty and historical stature.

One court attendee asked the commissioners how the passed resolution would affect the solar farm’s construction.

“We cannot stop them from doing it. It’s just another arrow that we have to shoot at them so that they may go away,” responded Moseley.

Commissioner Bobby Harris added, “The fact that the Bandera School District has abandoned their tax abatement plays a big part in this as well.”

“Yes, a lot of reasons for them to come are gone now.” said Moseley.

Last month, Bandera Independent School District rejected Montague’s application of the Chapter 313 agreement, which offered a considerable tax abatement to the school district for the proposed solar farm.

“I fully believe this plan is being funded by the federal government with foreign money being poured into it,” said Commissioner Jody Rutherford. “If we let this mess come through, the county is going to have to carry it.”

After the commissioners voted all in favor to oppose, the audience in the court applauded.