Hays County election: Large bond package, sheriff race

HAYS COUNTY, TEXAS - Two bond propositions were passed in Hays County Tuesday.

Prop. 1, a $106.4 million bond for public safety facilities, passed by with 51.15 percent of the votes. Prop. 2, a $131.4 million bond for road construction, passed by a roughly 60-40 margin Tuesday night.

Sheriff incumbent Gary Cutler won a second term against challenger Rodrigo Amaya by a margin of 57-43.

In the mayor race in San Marcos, none of the five candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote. The top two vote earners, Ruben Becerra and Mayor Pro Tem John Thomaides, will take part in a runoff election. That election will take place Dec. 13.

Here are some of the most important items on the Hays County ballot:

$237.8 million bond package

Hays County voters decided on the county’s largest proposal since 2008, according to KVUE’s news partners at the Austin American-Statesman

The bond proposal has two propositions:

  • $106.4 million for public safety facilities, including an expansion and renovation of the decades-old jail and construction of buildings for emergency communications and law enforcement
  • $131.4 million for road construction

Officials believe this money is necessary for the county’s explosive growth. People opposed to the bond have said the county already has too much debt and can’t afford to take on more. The county’s current debt obligation is around $364 million, according to the fiscal 2016 budget.

Hays County Sheriff

As Gary Cutler finishes his first term as Hays County sheriff, he faced off against Rodrigo Amaya for a second term.

Gary Cutler: The Republican was first elected in 2010 before he was an investigator at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, according to the Statesman. He also previously worked in the Williamson and Travis counties sheriff offices. He supports Propositions 1 and 2.

Rodrigo Amaya: A Democrat with years of experience as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, he is currently a bus driver. He briefly worked as an Austin police officer and as a city marshal in Lockhart. He is against Propositions 1 and 2.

San Marcos mayor

Current San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero said he would not run for reelection in 2016, opening the way for five hopefuls.

Sam Brannon: The self-employed San Marcos resident has experience with advocacy related to fluoridation, taxation and debt, voting integrity and water issues, according to Community Impact

Jacob Montoya: Montoya served on the city council from 2001 to 2004 and served as mayor pro tem from 2003 to 2004, according to Community Impact

Cherif Gacis: A relationship banker who has lived in San Marcos for 18 years, Gacis is a member of the Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee and San Marcos Fire Department Citizen’s Fire Academy, Community Impact reports.

Ruben Becerra: The small business owner is board president of El Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, was a planning and zoning commissioner, a parks and recreation board member and a Main Street advisory board member. He also served on the San Marcos disaster recovery committee and economic development board, according to Community Impact

John Thomaides: He has spent 13 years on the city council, including five terms as mayor pro tem. He left the council in 2010 to run for mayor against Guerrero. He currently owns the water filtration company Alpha Pure Water, according to the Statesman

Constable, Precincts 1 and 2

In addition to the responsibilities of every other peace officer, constables serve and execute civil court orders and serve as bailiffs at Justice Court. Democrat David Peterson won Precinct 1 with 63.71 percent of the vote and Democrat Michael Torres won Precinct 2 with 50.36 percent of the votes.

Precinct 1: Saul Medrano vs. David Peterson

Saul Medrano: Prior to starting his own security firm, the Republican worked as a senior deputy constable in Travis County, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also worked as a jail administrator and as a deputy sheriff, according to the Statesman. The Statesman reports that he hopes to create a better relationship between the community and law enforcement by doing community outreach. He believes the current constable, Peterson, could do a lot more.

David Peterson: The Democrat is serving his second four-year term as Precinct 1 constable. With more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, he believes he is deeply involved in the community currently, according to the Statesman. He serves on numerous boards, including the Hays Caldwell Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He wants to expand drug and alcohol education for students if he is reelected, according to the Statesman.

Precinct 2: James H. Kohler vs. Michael Torres

James Kohler: This Republican has served 10 terms as the constable of Precinct 2. Kohler has spent most of his 38 years as constable as a Democrat until he switched his political affiliation in 2012, according to the Statesman.

Michael Torres: Currently an officer for the Kyle Police Department, the Democrat started his career in law enforcement in 2001. According to the Statesman, Torres cites an offensive joke from current constable Kohler as the spark that led him to challenge him. Kohler has responded to that joke by stating that nobody has ever complained about it, the Statesman said. He also said he has many Mexican friends and has hired a Mexican-American as a deputy. Torres also told the Statesman that, if elected, he hopes to be more proactive in helping other law enforcement entities and do more community outreach events.

GO HERE for Hays County election results.

GO HERE for all election results.

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