Both the city of Katy and Katy ISD voted to approve the results of the Nov. 3 city council and board of trustees elections, respectively, Tuesday evening. The elections for both entities saw changes …
Both the city of Katy and Katy ISD voted to approve the results of the Nov. 3 city council and board of trustees elections, respectively, Tuesday evening. The elections for both entities saw changes in one or more seats on their respective governing bodies.
Katy seat changes hands
Katy swore in two familiar faces and one new council member Tuesday evening.
In total 4,692 votes were cast in the Nov. 3 city council election, said City Secretary Becky McGrew, 1,300 of which were undervotes. An undervote is a vote that is not counted due to the ballot not being marked legibly or may be caused by a voter not participating in all elections on his or her ballot such as when a voter only votes in the presidential election but not in downballot races.
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris, who holds the city’s At Large seat on the council kept his seat and was sworn in Tuesday after running unopposed in the election.
In the Ward A race, 4,482 votes were cast of which 1,125 were undervotes. Incumbent and winner Janet Corte garnered 1,906 votes while Diane Robichaux Walker secured 924 votes and the third candidate, Dharminder Dargan receiving 527 votes.
For Ward B, the most contested race with four candidates, Rory Robertson won against incumbent Durran Dowdle as well as candidates Steve Pierson and Sam Pearson. Of the 5,629 votes cast in the Ward B election, 1,036 were undervotes and Robertson received 2,370 nods of support from voters. Robertson was followed by Pearson with 761 votes, Dowdle with 877 votes and Pierson with 585 votes.
Canvassing of the votes was approved unanimously by council members, after which Dowdle was presented with a plaque for his service to the city on various boards and council, including serving as Mayor Pro Tem prior to Harris being appointed to that role.
Dowdle congratulated Robertson for the election win and offered his assistance as Robertson moves into the role of city council member.
“Rory, congratulations. We’ll (I’d like to meet with you). We’ll get together and talk and chat about whatever you want to talk about,” Dowdle said. “I’m here to help and mentor and assist.”
Dowdle also thanked city staff for their assistance during his tenure with the city and praised city staff for their hard work and service to the community.
Robertson returned the sentiment in his acceptance remarks.
“I truly appreciate all that (Dowdle has) done,” Robertson said. “This group (of council members) is really a great team and represents so much of what the city of Katy (offers). I know that we have big goals and we are working hard to achieve … and I’m very excited to start working with Mayor (Bill) Hastings and council.”
Katy ISD confirms canvass
Katy ISD Counsel Justin Graham spoke briefly during the meeting wherein he reviewed the final tallies for the Katy ISD Board of Trustees elections which took place Nov. 3.
Position 3 candidate Ashley Vann was declared winner in her election because she ran unopposed, Graham said. Leah Wilson took the Position 4 seat on the trustees’ dais against opponent Michael Dillard, who garnered 47,099 votes for that place, Graham said. Finally, incumbent and KISD Board of Trustees Vice President Bill Lacy lost his bid to hold onto the Position 5 seat to Greg Schulte. Graham said Schulte was able to pull in 63,150 votes to Lacy’s 45,659.
Lacy motioned to accept the results of the election canvassing and to certify the results of the election, with both measures approved unanimously.
KISD was set to meet Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. after Katy Times’ press time to swear in Schulte and Wilson during the district’s regular trustees meeting. Other items on the agenda for that evening included appointment of new officers for the Board of Trustees, naming an executive director for secondary curriculum and instruction, naming the former L.D. Robinson Pavilion near the district’s Education Support Complex, discussing course additions for the 2021-22 school year and discussing items donated to the district.
Graham praised Ellen Hebert, a legal assistant with the district, whom he said did the bulk of the work coordinating election activities with the three counties.
Graham said the district would try to get some sort of reimbursements for the additional election costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but did not clarify exactly where that recovery of funds would come from.
Graham said expenses for the election were much higher than normal due to the election being postponed from May to November, forcing the district to contract with Fort Bend, Harris and Waller counties’ elections departments for the election which is usually run internally. He said that, while final figures are not in, the estimated cost is $450,000 or more.
“Compare that to a traditional May board election where we have anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 people vote, that normally costs us anywhere from $94,000 to $120,000 to run,” Graham said.
Correction: Due to a typo, an earlier version of this story indicated the incorrect number of votes cast for Janet Corte in the Ward A race. The corrected number has been appended. Additional details regarding undervotes has been incorporated for clarity as well.