City, Liberty Hill school board candidates set for May elections
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
The Liberty Hill municipal election will have a pair of contested races on May 5.
Rick Hall is challenging incumbent Connie Fuller in the mayor’s race, and Bill Brannan is running against incumbent Council Member Wendell McLeod in Place 4.
Place 2 Councilman Ron Rhea did not draw an opponent during the filing period, which ended Feb. 16.
While Councilman Jon Branigan is not up for re-election in May, he has filed to run for Place 5 on the Liberty Hill ISD Board of Trustees.
According to state law, Branigan can serve simultaneously on the city council and school board, but it is unclear what his intentions are.
In response to questions this week from The Independent about his plans, Branigan said to “call back in a couple of weeks” and he would talk about what he plans to do.
If Branigan, a Liberty Hill developer and real estate broker, resigns from the council, the remaining members have the opportunity to submit nominations to fill the seat, who would then be elected by the council to serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Branigan was elected to the council in 2017, filling the seat previously held by his mother, Liz Branigan, who chose not to seek re-election.
Another item that may or may not appear on the May ballot is renewal of the City’s road maintenance fund, which earmarks a quarter-cent of all sale tax revenue specifically for roads.
City Administrator Greg Boatright said the tax generates about $160,000 annually for road maintenance and must be renewed by voters every four years. Not renewing the tax would simply roll that quarter cent of the sales tax back into the City’s General Fund.
Boatright said not placing it on the ballot for renewal is something he is talking with staff about and plans to talk to the council about.
“What we’re looking into is what if we didn’t renew it,” Boatright said. “The quarter cent would come back to General Fund and we could use it for whatever the council deemed appropriate. We’re in a lot different position now in that we have other resources to pull from for our transportation needs.”
He said he understands why it was done when it was done, with the council and staff feeling like they wanted a dedicated fund that could not be utilized for anything else, but the flexibility now is appealing.
There was no concern on his part that removing the restrictions on these funds would leave the streets out when it came time to budget for projects.
“That’s one of the Council’s highest priorities is addressing our streets,” Boatright said. “I feel very confident we will exceed what we’ve been doing on our streets and enact a program that will allow us to rehab our streets each year, where over a five to seven-year period a majority of our streets will be reconstructed.”
The decision to place the measure on the ballot for renewal will be up to a council vote.
LHISD Board of Trustees
There are two contested races for Liberty Hill Board of Trustees with incumbents seeking re-election in each of three places.
In Place 3, incumbent David Nix, an assistant claim manager, did not draw an opponent.
In Place 4, incumbent Jeff Madison, a healthcare administrator, is being challenged by Kathy Major, who retired in 2017 as Principal at Liberty Hill Intermediate School.
In Place 5, there is a three-way contest with incumbent Anthony Buck, an emergency management coordinator, being challenged by Russel Martin and Jon Branigan.
Dr. Martin is a veterinarian at Comanche Trail Veterinary Center in Liberty Hill.
Branigan is a developer and real estate broker, who is currently serving on the Liberty Hill City Council.
Early voting in city and school elections is April 23-May 1. Election Day is May 5.