Howard College Tax Petition Has "More Than Enough" Signatures

Howard College Tax Petition Has "More Than Enough" Signatures

HOWARD COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Officials announced Friday a petition calling for an election to reduce the 2015 Howard College property tax rate has "more than enough" valid signatures.

According to the Howard County Elections Office, a total of 1,637 people signed the document. 1,172 of those signatures are considered valid, the election administrator said. 1,054 are required for a rollback election.

The petition began circulating after the Board of Trustees approved a seven-cent tax rate hike in August and was formally submitted to Howard College on October 5.

Dr. Cheryl Sparks, the President of Howard College, said she had been aware of concerns among local taxpayers and "wasn't surprised."

"I knew, of course, that the people expressing their viewpoints [during tax hearings] had very, very sincere and strong concerns," she told NewsWest 9. "They've worked really hard to gather those signatures."

However, the confirmed signature count does not translate to a final victory for taxpayers. A rollback election date cannot be set until the Howard College Board of Trustees votes on the validity of the petition.

Action is expected to be taken during the board's next regularly scheduled meeting on October 26, Sparks said.

"With the number of signatures that were validated by the election administrator and the fact that there are an ample number over the required number, I don't see a reason why... the petition won't be approved," she said.

Elections Office officials said the potential rollback election will likely be held in January.