Dozen local cities cancel city council elections

Not a single candidate in these cities has a challenger

BEXAR COUNTY – Twelve cities within Bexar county canceled their upcoming city council elections because all of the candidates are running unopposed.

Those cities include Alamo Heights, China Grove, Fair Oaks Ranch, Grey Forest, Helotes, Hill Country Village, Kirby, Live Oak, Shavano Park, St. Hedwig, Terrell Hills and Von Ormy.

“I was in a contested election… I believe it was in 2003. Or maybe 2004,” said Gabriel Durand-Hollis, Mayor of Hill Country Village, “I’d have to check.”

The city of Hill Country Village hasn’t held a city council election since at least 2005, according to the Bexar County elections administrator, Jacque Callanen.

“Isn’t it wonderful,” said Callanen. “The election code is fantastic because it says 'Hey, if you only have one person running, they won so you don’t have to hold an election.”

While the twelve cities aren’t holding city council elections, voters in some municipalities still have to head to the polls to decide on other issues.

In Helotes, for example, voters will cast their ballots for or against a proposed tax. They’ll see the list of shoo-in city council winners when they go to the polls.

Cities post an alert of the canceled elections and who won each race in places they normally post city notices, like outside city halls or online.

The city of Terrell Hills hasn’t held a council election since 2014.

 “We just don’t have much turnover on the council. We do not have any term limits,” said Terrell Hills City Manager Greg Whitlock.

Whitlock says the lack of elections is a relief to city staff.

“It’s just a great benefit to have the same people and not turnover, like some cities, every election. They have one or two people new every year,” he said. “It sure makes our job easier.”

Canceled elections aren’t just happening in Bexar County. Other parts of South Texas called off elections, including some school districts.

That list includes Pleasanton, Bulverde, Comal Independent School District, Kerrville ISD, Ingram, Ingram ISD, Falls City, Runge, Bracketville ISD, La Vernia, Stockdale and Crystal City.

The majority of the Bexar County cities that canceled city council elections this year did see a race last year.

Many of the smaller municipalities call an election every year because certain council member positions are voted on during even-numbered years and the remaining positions are voted on in odd-numbered years.

Here’s a look at when each of the dozen Bexar County cities last held an election:

  • Alamo Heights- May 2018
  • China Grove- May 2016
  • Fair Oaks Ranch- May 2018
  • Grey Forest- May 2018
  • Helotes- May 2018
  • Hill Country Village – 2005
  • Kirby- May 2018
  • Live Oak- May 2017
  • Shavano Park- May 2018
  • St. Hedwig- May 2018
  • Terrell Hills- May 2014
  • Von Ormy- May 2017

“It’s an honor to serve our friends and neighbors,” said Mayor Durand-Hollis. “And if I'm not doing a good job, I’m sure I'll hear about it.”

And he’d likely have a challenger, he joked.

About the Author:

Myra Arthur is passionate about San Antonio and sharing its stories. She graduated high school in the Alamo City and always wanted to anchor and report in her hometown. Myra anchors KSAT News at 6:00 p.m. and hosts and reports for the streaming show, KSAT Explains. She joined KSAT in 2012 after anchoring and reporting in Waco and Corpus Christi.