city council

San Marcos smoking ban now in effect

Smoking on city-owned or leased property has been stamped out by a city ordinance effective today.

The ordinance prohibits smoking tobacco products, e-cigarettes and other inhaled vapor devices inside all city facilities, as well as outdoors at city parks, athletic facilities and grounds. The ban, which was adopted by city councilmembers in October, will also ban smoking in public places and places of employment effective June 1.

The “public places” defined in the ordinance include banks, bars, restaurants, bingo halls, indoor music venues, convention facilities, schools, health care facilities, retail stores, theaters, malls, sports arenas, waiting rooms and workplaces.

Smoking e-cigarettes to be allowed in vape shops after ordinance amendment

City councilmembers voted unanimously Tuesday to exempt “vape” shops from the citywide public smoking ban, which was passed early last month.

City Manager Jim Nuse defined a vape shop as a store selling electronic cigarettes where people can pick out flavors of tobacco and “vape” in the establishment if desired. Vape shop owners voiced concern that the ordinance would force them out of business. Under the recently approved ordinance, smoking is prohibited in any public place or park, in enclosed areas owned by the city and enclosed workplaces.  

Much of the council’s discussion revolved around whether it was appropriate to amend the ordinance after much debate and work had been put into the recently approved one.

Newcomer to city council claims Place 1

Lisa Prewitt was elected to the city council Place 1 seat after receiving more than twice as many votes as her opponent, Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Bill Taylor.

Prewitt received 1,682 votes, making up for 75.9 percent of the votes for Place 1, while Taylor received 534 votes , accounting for 24.1 percent.

Taylor said he ended the night “disappointed” by his loss in the election. He hugged his children and thanked his supporters during the watch party at Rooftop on The Square after a majority of the poll results were released. Supporters were in disbelief, some saying they did not know how true the polling results were.

Council Place 2 incumbent Jude Prather wins re-election

Incumbent Jude Prather defeated opponents Mason Murphy and Thom Prentice for the San Marcos City Council Place 2 seat Tuesday night.

Prather finished with 68.75 percent of the votes. Murphy followed with 19.28 percent, and Prentice earned 11.67 percent. Prather claimed his victory in the election before all eight precincts reported polling results and addressed the crowd, which included his father, wife and childhood best friend.

“I think the campaign went well, but three months of campaigning is nothing like three years of governing,” Prather said. “The hard work comes next.”

City, county elections see anticipated low voter turnout

Pablo Palmonio standing at a voters booth

While less than 10 percent of registered voters in Hays County cast ballots in this year’s local elections, officials say the low turnout was expected.

According to polling results, 8,490 Hays County voters headed to the polls Tuesday to choose city councilmembers and approve charter amendments and statewide policies. Joyce Cowan, Hays County elections administrator, said the county has 98,000 registered voters. About 3,100 voters in Hays County cast ballots during early voting and by “personal appearance,” and 3,000 more had voted on Election Day as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Cowan said.

City council candidates draw support from local organizations, residents

The race for Place 1 and Place 2 on the San Marcos City Council has been funded by a multitude of backers, including political action committees representing local fire fighters and realtors throughout the state.

Candidates are required to file their campaign finance reports 30 days before the election, and again eight days prior. Candidates are also required to disclose the donors and the amount of money raised for their campaigns. The Place 1 candidates saw the largest amount of donations toward their campaigns, while two of the three Place 2 candidates were largely self-funded.  

Candidate Profile: Mason Murphy

Mason Murphy wants to use his background to bring more jobs to San Marcos and support economic development, according to his website.

Murphy is a career counselor at Texas State and is running for Place 2 on a platform of bringing blue collar jobs to San Marcos, providing public safety resources to the town as it grows and improving kindergarten through high school education.

In a Q&A with The University Star, Murphy said working with schools to help students will assist in alleviating San Marcos' poverty issues.

Candidate Profile: Jude Prather

Incumbent Jude Prather is hoping to keep his seat as Place 2 councilman, running on a platform promoting fiscal responsibilty and improvement of streets, sidewalks and utility infrastructure, according to his website.

Candidate Profile: Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor has cast over 1400 votes over his 31 years in San Marcos local government and hopes to continue doing so, as evident by his bid for city council Place 1.

Taylor was appointed to the San Marcos Airport Commission in 1982 and previously served on the city council, Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Small Business Advisory Board, according to a written statement read at the University Star City Council Debate. Taylor is a niche marketing insurance agent and serves as chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Protecting quality of life, increasing jobs and opportunity, and be fiscally responsible are goals for Taylor, according to his website.

Candidate Profile: Lisa Prewitt

Lisa Prewitt is running on platform that embraces the Comprehensive Master Plan and protects the river while encouraging growth, according to her website.

Prewitt was vice chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee that was involved in the creation and adoption of the Comprehensive Master Plan. She owns a landscape design business and has operated it for eighteen years in San Marcos. She is currently a member of the Heritage Association of San Marcos, Greenbelt Alliance, and San Marcos River Foundation, as well as serving as chair of the Economic and Development Subcommittee of the San Marcos Watershed Initiative.

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