Tuesday is the last chance for registered McLennan County voters to make their voices heard on local and statewide measures that could affect their taxes, schools, state parks and more.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the county’s 33 vote centers.

During two weeks of early voting, 6,269 voters cast early or mail-in ballots, according to the McLennan County Elections Office.

McLennan County voters will decide whether to approve a $14.5 million bond package to expand the city of Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo.

County officials have said the bond would not directly increase the property tax rate because of an expanding tax base and current debt being paid off. The county does not and will not fund the zoo’s operation and maintenance, which the city of Waco subsidizes with about $2.7 million per year.

An exhibit featuring the endangered black-footed African penguin would anchor the addition at an estimated cost of $4.5 million. An education and veterinary center would carry a $8.3 million price tag.

Midway Independent School District residents will decide whether to pass a $148 million bond issue that would fund a new elementary school, an expansion to the high school’s career and technical education programs, and the reconfiguration of grade levels by eliminating intermediate schools. If voters approve the bond package, the school district will decrease the tax rate by 1 cent.

Residents of West Independent School District will vote on a $21.5 million bond package that would replace its elementary school, which was built in 1952 and lacks safety features like a basic fire sprinkler system. The school now serves two more grade levels than it did before a 2013 fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people and destroyed other school buildings.

If voters approve the referendum, West ISD’s tax rate would increase by 18 cents to $1.37 per $100 valuation. That would add about $247 a year in taxes for the average homeowner in West ISD, whose home has a taxable value of $137,379, according to the McLennan County Appraisal District.

Additionally, a handful of school districts and cities are holding school board and city council elections.

Statewide, voters will decide whether 10 propositions for constitutional amendments will pass. Some of those propositions include amendments that would make it more difficult for future lawmakers to enact a personal state income tax, which is already prohibited by the state constitution; dedicate sales tax revenue collected from sporting goods purchases to state land, parks and historical sites; and allow the Texas Water Development Board to fund projects in disaster and economically disadvantaged areas of the state.

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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