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City charter amendments pass
Pearsall, Dilley elections see some re-elected, some new faces
Voter turnout in municipal elections continues to decline, with just over 20 percent of registered voters casting ballots in local races this month.
In Dilley, approximately 20 percent of the registered 1,603 voters cast ballots in the municipal election; in Pearsall, of 4,473 eligible voters, 22 percent voted.
Dilley’s city council election Saturday, May 7, saw Place 3 incumbent Alicia Machado prevail over challenger Joanne Rodriguez, a former councilor, by 29 votes, 182-153, according to tallies posted by City Hall over the weekend. At Place 4, Alexandria Inocencio, who previously held office from 2019 to 2021, won her bid for election by defeating former mayor Mary Ann Obregon by 21 votes, 181-160. Obregon lost her bid for re-election as mayor in 2021 against Gilbert Eguia after a 22-year stint at the council table. Place 4 has been held by Everardo “Bebe” Castillo.
At Dilley’s Place 5, challenger Rudy Alvarez unseated incumbent Councilor Joe Garcia by a mere ten votes, 174-164.
Garcia has held the seat since 2018.
At Pearsall ISD, Tomas “Tommy” Navarro garnered 735 votes and will continue to serve on the board of trustees, prevailing over challenger Jorge Cabasos, who earned 482 votes. Navarro has served as a school board trustee since 2016.
At PISD’s Place 6, Trustee Eric Fletcher has been unseated by challenger Eulogio “Logie” Rodriguez, who also defeated challenger Matthew Aguilar for the position. Rodriguez earned 494 votes, Aguilar 379 and Fletcher 351.
Just under a thousand votes were cast in the Pearsall municipal election. Incumbents James Leal and Sonia Hernandez did not face a challenger this year and will return to serve another three years at the council table.
At Pearsall Council Place 2, Ramiro Trevino earned 568 votes to secure Place 2, prevailing over Brian Blackburn, who received 436 votes. The seat has been held by Julian Hernandez, who is prevented by the city charter from seeking another term in office.
Councilor Aurora Garza garnered 410 votes, losing her bid for re-election to Place 4. Challenger Rachael Garza earned 552 votes to take the seat. The place has been held by Brenda Trevino, also subject to the Home Rule Charter term limits and ineligible to seek re-election.
According to records filed at Pearsall City Hall, all four amendment proposals to the city charter have been passed by voters.
Amendment One extends the deadline to have the city’s independent annual audit approved by the council and ready for public inspection from 150 days to 180 days, to conform with state law.
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 103, Section 103.003(a) dictates that the audit and auditor’s opinion must be filed in the office of the municipal secretary or clerk within 180 days of the last day of the municipality’s fiscal year. The deadline was changed to 150 days in 2016.
“The recommendation is that the city’s audit requirement comport with state law and not be more restrictive than legally required,” the amendment reads.
With the passage of Amendment Two, the city’s annexation authority now complies with state law, according to city administration. The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 347 in 2019, eliminating unilateral or forced annexation in Texas.
Amendment Three addresses Section 3.08 and 3.02 of the city charter, requiring that the mayor or any other member of the city council who announces or files for another elective office forfeit the city office without any action required by the council.
The final proposed amendment to the charter changes the length of councilors’ terms in office. Voters have approved extending terms from two to three years and restricting councilors to a maximum of two consecutive terms. The amendment goes into effect immediately and applies to those councilors elected this year. The amendment represents a change to the council election process that Pearsall has not seen since May 1995.