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OUR TURN: Head to the polls, make a difference

Voters across the Highland Lakes have a chance to exercise their right to self-governance by going to the polls Tuesday.

Many brave souls have died to guarantee this privilege, which is not shared in every nation or tribe on this planet. Casting a ballot is a cherished liberty, only maintained by sacrifice.

Residents Tuesday who want to have a say in how their community is run should cast a ballot and make their voices heard.

There are no contested local elections this voting season, but there are 10 state constitutional amendments that must be decided.

The local issues on the ballot, however, also are important to some segments of the Highland Lakes.

Marble Falls area voters can decide whether to create the proposed Emergency Services District No. 6.

Granite Shoals voters may vote on the proposed ESD 
No. 3.

An ESD is a political subdivision approved by voters that collects property taxes to fund fire protection, emergency medical services, or both.

Under the Texas Constitution, an ESD can levy no more than 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Why are ESDs important? Because they ensure under-funded volunteer fire departments continue to have access to the training and equipment they need to preserve lives and property.

The volunteer fire departments not currently under an ESD — six districts have been created so far — only receive a few thousand dollars from Burnet County to survive. The rest of the funding comes from fish fries, barbecues, spaghetti diners and raffles.

The growing populations in the extraterritorial jurisdictions of Marble Falls and Granite Shoals deserve to have the best and most modern firefighting services possible. The continuing drought, and the massive wildfires of the late summer, are more proof that resources cannot be stretched thin without adequate funding.

Also on the ballot: Kingsland voters have a chance yet again to decide whether their community becomes an incorporated municipality with full police and fire services, zoning enforcement and a local government.

Proponents argue a future incorporated Kingsland can be funded by a 2 percent sales tax and franchise fees without levying a property tax.

As the area continues to grow, residents deserve to have the benefit of zoning and centralized services. However, the issue has died before at the polls.

For information on where to vote on election day, call the Burnet County Elections Office at (512) 715-5288 or visit the Burnet County website at www.burnetcountytexas.org; click on Departments, then Elections. The website also has a sample ballot.

Llano County voters can call the Elections Office at (325) 247-5425 or visit the Llano County website at www.co.llano.tx.us and click on Elections Administrator. A sample ballot is there as well.

Polling places also are printed in this newspaper and can be found online at www.dailytrib.com.

The vote during the November general election Tuesday symbolizes what makes the United States great — the right to determine how government is funded and operates. Make the time to make a choice.