Bexar County voters re-elected Hector Morales to a third term on the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) board Tuesday and chose newcomer Deb Bolner-Prost over incumbent Lynn Murphy to fill another of two at-large seats on the ballot.
The river authority election was the only countywide measure on the off-year ballot that included seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, all of which appeared headed to passage Tuesday night.
SARA is tasked with managing the San Antonio River. Its jurisdiction reaches parts of Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties, and has directors overseeing the authority’s $241.7 million budget. The budget is funded by property taxes.
Morales received 13,425 votes – the most among any of the five candidates – to claim nearly 29 percent of the vote. Bolner-Prost followed with 12,407, giving her 1,186 more votes than Murphy, who was appointed to the SARA board in 2016 by Gov. Greg Abbott after the death of Sally Buchanan.
Skye Curd received 5,270 votes, while Joseph Nazaroff got 4,049.
Bolner-Prost, who has a background in statistics and marketing, has previously served SARA as an appointed representative with the San Antonio River Foundation. In that role, she contributed to the ongoing projects along San Pedro Creek and Confluence Park.
“It’s fantastic to see San Antonians waking up to the fact that we have to be concerned about our water quality and protecting ourselves from floods,” said Bolner-Prost, 64, a former Olmos Park councilwoman.
In addition to flood management, Bolner-Prost wants to address the root causes of litter and trash entering the river system.
“I feel that I can help maybe turn the paradigm,” Bolner-Prost said.
Morales, 72, was first elected to the board in 2005, and serves as its secretary. He said he is looking forward to continuing the commercial and recreational development along the river.
“I’m very happy that there are a lot of people looking forward to me keeping on,” Morales said. “We’ve got a pretty good program going.”
The San Antonio River was recently awarded the Thiess International Riverprize, which is considered to be the most coveted international award for river and watershed restoration, stewardship, and management. Morales compared the honor to winning an Academy Award.
“We have a lot of scientists and brilliant managers at the river authority – a lot of people that appreciate and create recreation,” Morales said.