Bingo on the ballot: Commissioners sending gaming issue to voters

by Kimberly Rubio, assistant editor

Charitable bingo could soon be coming to the Herby Ham Activity Center after Uvalde County Commissioners on May 13 approved placing the matter on the November election ballot.

The item was placed on the county’s agenda at the request of Herby Ham Activity Center manager Sue Rankin, who claimed 65 percent of people who attend bingo events in surrounding counties are residents of Uvalde.

“The interest is high and we need to bring that revenue back to Uvalde,” Rankin said, noting that the state gets 5 percent of funds and splits the percentage with the county. Remaining funds will benefit the center.

According to Rankin, she plans on hosting a bingo event three times a week. Non-profit organizations will be allowed to set up a concession stand and raise funds for their respective organizations.

“It is already legal in the city of Uvalde. The Catholic Church has done it for years, but we need the public’s vote before we can make it legal in the county,” Rankin said.

City residents first voted on legalizing local bingo games for charitable purposes in a special election held April 3, 1982, after more than 300 residents signed a petition requesting that a bingo election be called.

Official results in the bingo election showed 874 voting for legalization, with 233 voting in opposition.

Food pantry

Tru Hiatt, a board member with the Uvalde Food Pantry, was present during the 10 a.m. board meeting to update commissioners on current happenings.

According to Hiatt, 16 percent of Uvalde residents live in poverty and require food pantry services, in addition to government assistance.

Hiatt said the organization feeds 450 families each week, which costs roughly $5,000 a month.

“A lot are elderly people on fixed incomes. Some are raising their grandchildren with no help from their children.”

Hiatt said individuals seeking help must register once a year but proof of income is not required. Food is distributed each Saturday.

Other business

Commissioners approved permitting the sale of fireworks during the Memorial Day period of May 22-27.

They also approved a request to assist the city of Sabinal in repairs to the Sabinal Senior Citizens building, which the county utilizes to conduct nutrition program services. Commissioners agreed to pay $6,150 f the $12,300 repairs cost. The project consists of demolishing the existing sidewalk, which is estimated to cost $1,800; installing a new sidewalk, $2,200; creating a parking area, $6,100; and replacing awning, $2,200.

The meeting was adjourned in memory of Nancy Williams, Tiffany Vargulish, Amador Moralez, Marcos Hill and Melvin Brown.

(The story does not continue beyond this line.)


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