Taxing entities across the area are steadily putting their ballots behind nominees to local appraisal district review boards in Gregg County and Upshur County.
The districts are responsible for appraising all real and business personal property within their respective counties. Their Appraisal Review Boards are comprised of county residents as an independent body to hear and resolve disputes over appraisals.
For the City of Gladewater, that meant two council votes Nov. 16, one for a resolution supporting candidates to the Gregg County Appraisal Review Board of Directors for 2024 and 2025, one behind Upshur County nominees.
In Gregg County, the City of Gladewater had 39 entitlement votes to cast, calculated from the tax rolls, either for one candidate or distributed between multiple nominees.
“I don’t see any benefit in splitting them up,” councilman Kevin Clark said.
Ultimately, the council’s resolution – a motion by councilwoman Brandy Flanagan, seconded by Rocky Hawkins – put all the city’s votes behind local Farrell Alexander.
In Upshur County, the city had 110 entitlement votes.
“We have, locally, two people on the ballot,” Mayor Scott Owens said, including Tracy McKnight and John Ussery. “There are five that will be elected on this county-wide.”
“Strategically, if we want to get someone from Gladewater, we’re going to have to put all of them for one,” Flanagan noted.
According to Hawkins, “John’s been doing a good job, I think.”
Council member Teddy Sorrells suggested putting all votes behind the local, longest-serving candidate, Ussery. His motion, seconded by Clark, was unanimously approved with council member Michael Webber absent.
At Gladewater ISD on Monday, Superintendent Dr. Sedric Clark noted, “Based on the number of landowners, taxpayers in Upshur County, GISD gets a number of votes (230). We can cast all for one or split it,” he said. “The question I would ask is ‘Who has worked with our district?’ That would be John Ussery, to me… I’ll go with anyone else.”
At board president Ross Morgan’s suggestion, trustee Cori Arevalo’s motion to split the 230 votes between the two local candidates, McKnight and Ussery, was seconded by Jeff Cook and unanimously approved by the four board members in attendance with three trustees absent (Danielle Budro, Garth Cockerell and Chris Thompson).
The White Oak School Board cast votes Nov. 14 for the Gregg County Appraisal Review Board.
“There are seven candidates to choose from,” Superintendent Dr. William Paul noted. “I did talk to the City of White Oak. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but I did put in a plug,” and spoke with GISD as well.
The White Oak trustees put all the district’s 105 votes behind school board member and realtor Stephanie McKinney with a unanimous 6-1 vote (McKinney abstaining).
– By James Draper