Yoakum County and Denver City voters joined the state in overwhelming approving all seven constitutional amendments, according to information released by County Clerk Debbie Rushing.
But one of the biggest attractions on the ballot was, “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages” which came back with a “split decision” between Denver City voters and Yoakum County voters.
In another low turnout Denver City voters, meaning those who reside within the city limits and Justice of the Peace Precinct #2, barely voted down the proposal 124-113 while Yoakum County, meaning those who live outside the Denver City city limits and the residents of Justice of Peace Precinct #1 which includes mainly those residents of Plains, barely passed the proposal 218-192.
With the split vote Rushing, as well as City Attorney Warren New and City Manager Stan David, spent a majority of their day on Wednesday getting a legal interpretation of which vote would count that would decide if mixed drinks would be served or not served in Denver City.
In an outline sent from the Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos to David and New concerning “Local Option Liquor Elections” it states: “The status of an area as determined by an election in an incorporated city (Denver City) prevails over a contrary status as determined by a justice precinct or countywide election. When a justice precinct is wholly contained in an incorporated city, the status of the justice prevails over that of the city……The status of an area as determined by a justice precinct election prevails over the status of an area as determined by a countywide election……”
In a nutshell this means there will be no “legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages” in any establishment within the Denver City city limits, which is also Justice of the Peace Precinct #2. However, you may have legal sale of all alcoholic beverages anywhere within Justice of the Peace Precinct #1, which would include Plains.
One of the main supporters of the legalization was the owners of the Denver City Pizza Hut. Even though that establishment is on the east side of highway 214 it would normally be considered out of the city limits. However, in order for them to use city water and sewer, they requested to be annexed by the City of Denver City, meaning there will be no legal sale of alcoholic beverages in their business.
Another local business that also had big plans should the proposal pass was the new Best Western Plus Hotel. Since they are inside the city limits, they will not be able to sale alcoholic beverages either.
The other local item on the ballot was an amendment to the city charter to elect the Mayor and City Council members for a term of three (3) years instead of the current term of two (2) years. This proposal passed 142-93.
This will allow members of the Council and the Mayor to serve the same term of office as the Denver City ISD board members.
The seven amendments range from issues related to property tax exemptions for disabled veterans to reducing restrictions on Texans borrowing against equity in their homes. two amendments would create new property tax exemptions and one will allow professional sports teams to hold charitable raffles.
One measure — Proposition 6 — which would give property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty — got an approving nod from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. He said the proposition was one of his legislative priorities for the 2017 regular session.
Another measure that was also approved, Proposition 2, would ease restrictions on borrowing against home equity in Texas and allow Texans easier access to their equity.
Another hot-button measure on the ballot, Proposition 1, authorizes property tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses — those whose homes were donated to them by charity for less than market value.
Records show the Texas Legislature has proposed 673 constitutional amendments, with 491 approved by voters, 179 defeated and three failing to make the ballot for “reasons that are historically obscure.” That’s according to a report by the Texas Legislative Council.