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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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May 4, 2011     Hays Free Press
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Hays Free Press May 4, 201 i 0PINIO#I Page 5A + Graham Mendel running for Mayor of Kyle l.Which local current or former elected officials (Hays County or any dry, school district or other poBtlcel sub- division therein) do you think most closely reflect your sensibilities and/or style in guvemin# Why Mark Jones, He is a realist and listens to the people. He wit[ also address MENDEL the subjects that need to be addressed and not dance around the topic. 2. ~be what your candidacy is all about In 140 characters or less. My candidacy is about listening to the citizens of Kyle and then being their voice on the City Council. 3. Size and scope of govern- ment have been leading issues in recent elections on the local, state and national level. Do you think the dry of Kyie spends too much in its general fund budgeff If so, what spedfically would you cut and how much money would this saveT I don't believe cuts would be a necessity if the city would stop partially funding State road projects and focus only on the needs of the city. 4. What is the ideal tax rate for the dty of Kyle and how would you get theret The ideal tax rate would be where we currently are. Unfortunately we will not be able to stay at this rate due to the amount of debt past and current council has accrued. The only way we will be able to maintain or lower taxes is to attract more business to the City of Kyle. This would in- crease sales tax revenue, prop- erty tax revenue, and increase the number of available jobs for the citizens of Kyle. s.C nmdiy what IS your plan for improv- Ing Kyle area streets and roads and which three proj- ects do you think are most pressin# We need to locate the fund- ing to cover the expense of improving dty streets. We may be able to obtain grants to help offset the cost incurred by the d~, or we look into the budget to see where we can obtain the money. The three streets that are most pressing are Burle- son, Goforth, and Lehman Road. All three of these roads handle a lot of traffic everyday; not to mention that Goforth and Lehman have a school on them and no sidewalks for the children to be able to walk safely to school. 6. Do you think Kyle has enough police officers on the streets to maintain reason- able levels of public safety~ No, Last I knew there were five officers on duty to cover our close to 30,000 residents. 7. What IS the most recent book you have read? "The Freedom Line" written by Peter Eisner &Mac orPC7 PC David Wilson running for Kyle City Council l.Wlzich local omzmzt ur former clected alktak (lta Co= oranyO , school district or other potltical sulx visfon theteht) doyou thtnkmest desdy ralectymtr sensi- bilities and/or style In I have seen a num- ber ofhigh quality public servants since moving to Kyle to make my home some 16years ago. WILSON Hays County Judge Eddy Etheridge was organized, intelligent and in particular looked forward to the future ~rtation issue~ I admire his conttibution. leffBartoiL while notin office at the ne, contrl~outed greatly to the FM 1626 parmership betm~n state, coun~ city and private developer investments into what is now our economic future. As our commissioner for Prednct 2 he was responsive to transportation needs specifically which I admire. Wtll Conley, Commissioner Pre~ct 3, was instrumental along with/udge Powers in the keyvotesin the concept devel- opment for FM 1626. The FM 1626 development which fueled the future development in Kyle which we now are verypmud like Seton Hospital, HEB, Target, Kohl's, Lowe's and the many medical fadlitles that have been attracted to the FM 1626 area. Will Conleywas looking out for Kyle whUe our comm - sioner, (unnamed) was asleep at the switch. I have thanked Commissioner Conley many times in Commis='onefs Court and other public venues for his forward looking thoughtful lead- ership for our coun~ Mark Jones, new Commis- sioner Pmdnct 2, has shown real leadership in the short time he has been on the Commism'oner's Court. I-Ie is truly committed to doing what is in the best inter- ests for Kyie and Bud~ Sandm Tenorio, former Mayor of Kyie and ctm~tly a Council Member in Buda, is one ofmyporsonalheroes, She is quality and a wonderful organizeL Mawr Susan Narvalz of San Marcus is a quality planner who I served with on the Hays CaldwenPublicUtilityAgency. / Her contributions to our water acquisition for our future in Bud& Kyle, San Marcos and Canyon RegionalArea will ben- efit us well into the future. PattlWoods andWfllie Tenorio are performing quality service dining a difficult lime on our HCISD board and I admire their effort~ At the dty level I have a num- ber ofpeoplewho have con- tributed specific talents of note that have contributed greatly to the city 0f Ky] U~g; M~,f MO0~ (thoughtful Conservative that does whatis best for KyieF, May- or James Adkins (planning and Implementing for the future), Becky Selbem (a passion for improvement ofKyie), Michelle Lopez (collaborative, thought- ful and intelligent), Mayor Mike Gonzalez (the master of pulling complicated concepts into distilled dear message), Todd Webster (prepared, smart and always focused on doing the best for his distlict), Mayor Lucy Johnson for her (always what is best for Kyle focus). I could go further but I must apologize to the many good people who served our dty while I have lived here for not having the space in this answer to identify them. 2. Detxa'B~what IS all about In 140 dmraommor km. Welivein a strong and vibrant community and I want to continue to provide the quality leader- ship to insure our sucress in the futur~ We can't go hackwaIds and hide our heads in the sand hoping everything will be ok: We must plan, invest in a conservative way to make the best quality coinmunitywe can have for our combined future Our combined economic future and property values depend on the Kyle City Council's effective management of transportation and other infrastructure need~ One offmy top priorities is to attract business which provide jobs and enable us to be more than just a bedroom commu- nity but have an economically viable future where people can live, work, go to school play and enjoy the uniquely Kyle lifestyle. & Sim andscopeofgovem- merit lmm becu lesdinR imu= bz recent electiom on the kind, stete and national lem~ Do you tmaktt chyaK# momu inimt mrelkad mmldyouoat andhowmudt moneymmid this ~ We do an effectlvejob of balancing cost effidencywith delivery of qnality service~ We are effectively managing our budget. For example, the fomaer Police Chief requested 8 posi- rions for last fiscalyear and was cuthackto 21/2 positions. Three council members voted to not fund the 21/2 positions which I find were needed for our growing 28 thousand plus population. 4.Whax IS theidsel taxrate t cltyofK#mth mmldyou tttm I am comfortable within the range we now have.we must pay debt we have incumxi in the future but I find 41 cents per hundred to be very reasonable considering the investment in our dtythat we can all see and enjoy I find the taxpayers to be veryvocal toward the dtybut on my total tax bill I find the dty tax to be less than 20% of the fuli tax burden for ahome owner. c mra what Is url nfor K# area ~ and m and whichth pro maoyou aremmt We have an oppommityto work with a developer to pay for part of a proposed Burleson mad connection to the develop- ments on FM 1626. Again, in the Kyte way, we collaborate with others to maximize the results of our investment~ I believe con nuingthe 35 improvements and the east FM 150 improvement to be critical for mobility and safety. Let me also say we mnst address Goforth Rd and Lehman Road asv~elL 6.Dowetht r has enaeshpoaceonkmuntbe streets te maintain rmamal~ elsofpubaesafety* I believed last year that we were short police officers in comparison to coinmuniries our siz~ I am for adding staff for specific purposes not just money at a problem. We must invest in our police department with staff, technology and leadership if we are to maintain a safe commu- nityin the future 7.What IS themostreomt bookyouha~rmd~ "Team ofRiva]s, The polili- ca] genius of Abrslmm Lincoln" (rids was actually a re-read) 8.MacorPC~ I use aPCbecause I amino conservative for a Mac. I would love one howev~ PrcaCessional Massage Them Li :e Coach and Hgpnotist tiands On A hands on approach to helpinggou re.sb3re balance f~ ~our lit:&. Oudng my of an effec~ worldng re~il: an awan~nn~ Served on a team that so.ted lhe Cabela's Project Supported actions for funding of St~ecoach Park and other Supported actions to secure a thirdzource of ddnldng water for Buda Supported the establishment of the Buda Police Department and supports efforts to secure funding for technology needs for the Deparlrmmt Suppoaed actions to obtain edd~ sources of funding to complete the Trud( Bypass Overpass, the renovation of Main Slmet Oveqoass and other road improvernents in the Boda area Respecting the Election Day Is May 14, 2011 Johnson l.Which local current or former elected offidais (Hays County or any dty, school district or other political sulxlivl- don therein) do you think most closely mttect your sensibili- ties and/or style in guvemU why I believe that both Commissioner Mark Jones and former Commissioner Jeff Barton most closely reflect my approach to governing. But I must admit it is that I take my inspiration from them as it will probably be some years before I obtain their leadership ability. But I share with them their pro-growth, pro-business, and, most importantly, pro- community sensibility. I also admire their ability to make the hard decisions, honestly and ethically. I have strived to do so myself. They listen to the peo- ple they represent and firmly believe that they are "the voice of the people." And I really ad- mire that quality. I also admire both of these mens' ability to wurk with others on projects, understanding that govern- ment is a collaborative process. Both Commissioner Jones and Barton have been excellent at getting things done for Kyle, while being relaxed and cheer- ful with their constituents. I'm still trying to pull it off as well as they do, but I'm grateful I have them as inspiration. JOHNSON 2. Desatbe what your candidacy IS allaboutin 140 chamOem or less. I am dedicated to fixing our dty's infras~ctum, improving dty services, and keeping us prospemus. Kyie has a bright future] 3. Size and scope ofguvem- ment have been leading issues in recent elections on the local, state and national level. Do you think the cry of Kyle spends too much in tts general fund budgeff If so, what spedticaily would you cut and how much moneywould this save~ There has been much debate over the last year over the role of city government and whether Kyle is overstepping its bounds in providing certain dty ser- vices that others have deemed "tmnecessar~" such as parks and recreational programs, Economic Development, the public librar~ our grant pro- gram to non-profits, and even the funding of improvements to state and county roads wi.'thin the ciW, (FM 1626, FM 150, and 1-35). I use the Kyie City Charter as my principle guide, a docu- ment created and voted on by the people when we became a home-rule city. Our dty charter gives the dty the authority and the responsibility to "provide for the advancement of the interest, welfare, health, mor- als, comfort, safeW, economic weU being, or convenience of the dty and its inhabitants." Furthermore, the charter gives the city the ability to "develop and improve, or cause to be developed and improved, any and all publLic streets, sidewalks, alleys, highways, and other running for Mayor of Kyle public ways within the dty." I believe it is our duty, as members of the city council, to ensure the best future for the dty and to provide the city services desired by the majority of our citizens. Our budget's general fund expenses reflect both the dty services specUicany requ t in our charter and the services that the council have deemed neces- sary for "the general welfare, health, morals, comfort, safety, economic well being, or conve- nience of Kyie residents" AND NOTHING ELSE. Our budget is much smaller than most cities our size, reflecting the council's continued goal of keeping our city government efficient and small. One of our dty council's goals has been to keep Kyle an affordable place to live. Kyle's property tax rate is only 17% of a property owner's total tax bill. I want to ensure it stays that way. 4. What is the ideal tax rate for the city of Kyle and how would you get there? The ideal tax rate for any city is $0.00. The real question is: are we getting ma.~num value for the taxes we do pay? I believe we are. Given the large num- ber ofpeople we provide city services to in Kyle, our rela- tively modest tax base, and our extremely rapid growth rate, I'm proud of our 41.54 cent tax rate. San Marcos has a property tax rate of 53 cents even with an extremely high sales tax base due to the outlet mall. Lockhart has a tax rate of 73 cents. With the revenue generated from our property taxes, we fund a host of vital dty services: police protection, street mainte- nance, municipal court, park maintenance, and recreational programs. We provide these services efficiently and with a smaller dty govemment than many dries our size. I will work hard to ensure we lower our property tax rate whenever it becomes possible to provide these services with less revenue as our tax base grows. S. Generally speakin& what IS your plan for improving Kyle area streets and roads and which three projects do you thinkare most pressin# We need a fong-term 20-year capital improvement plan to address our transportation needs. The Comprehensive Plan, adopted by Council last summer, offered dtizens numerous workshops in which they identified three major roads needing expan- sion: Burleson, Goforth, and Lehman. But the City does not currently have adequate fund- ing to take on these projects without a vote flom its dtizens to issue more debt. We will be seeking additional public input befom a final decision is made. Whenever possible, it is of vital importance to work with our county and state governments in developing costly transporta- tion programs. In the interim, there are several minor road improve- ment projects we can accom- plish, without issuing debt, by dedicating funds each year to this purpose. We are currently working on a prioritized list of road projects for this purpose which will be reviewed by Council next month. Many of our city streets have not been properly maintained since they were originally paved. Proper maintenance could have pre- vented this deterioration. Our new city manager is working with our Public Works Depart- ment on developing a street m aintenancepmgram~, . .'" 6. Do you think Kyle has enough poBce officers on the streets to maintain reasonable levels of public safety~ For a city of our size, Kyle has a very low crime rate and is a relatively safe and peace- ful community. That does not mean, however, that our cur- rent police staffing is adequate. We are far below the national average of officer-to-resident ratio and lack sultident officers on duty to always guarantee a reasonable response time. The council strives to budget annually for new officers. We currently have 8 open posi- tions our city is working to fill. I believe once these officers are hired, our residents can expect a higher level of service and more reliable response times, 7.What IS the most recent bookyou have read? The last book I read was "That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis. It is thelast bookin a trilogy, but I find the Christian inspiration andmoral lessons that C.S. Lewis weaves into the plot more significant and palpable than in the Others. I'm currently reading "In Praise of Folly" by Erasmus. 2011 marks the 500th anni- versary of its original printing and, in any case, it seemed like a good book to read during an election. 8.Macor PC3 I believe Macs and PCs will one day live in harmony; merg- ing together into one beautiful expression of technological creativity and synergy. Until that da)~ I am a Mac. FARM E Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO. nOMZ. LI . BOAT. m ALTn 251 N. FM 1626 #2C * Buda, TX 78610 Office: (512) 312-1917 Fax: 312-0688 Email: dvthames @ austin.rr,com Monday-Friday, 9am-Spm Your Business & Referrals Are Appreciated +