What should the city do to protect the safety of its citizens from the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline?
I am in agreement with the decisions of the Hays CISD, Hays County and the City of Kyle to pass a resolution opposing the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline Route. In light of the minimal oversight that the state of Texas has legislation currently in place for these situations it's frustrating that the landowners cannot participate in the routing of this pipeline. I would require the Kinder Morgan/Exxon Mobil partnership with EagleClaw Midstream Ventures to complete an Environmental Impact Study on its potential effects on the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers. Furthermore, I think the City of Kyle, Hays CISD and Hays County needs to work at establishing a partnership with this entity bringing the pipeline through our county. If we know that they are going to build this pipeline and that they are going to use the power of eminent domain, it just may be a smarter and more fiscally sound decision to not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation fighting them, but require them to use that potential savings on their end and spend it for us building every single existing safety structure, pressure checks on the gas line every 100 yards if needed, enforce each and every statute for citizen safety and quality control possible. I would further require that they somehow pay into a payment schedule for additional training for our first responders to prepare for a natural gas incident. There could also be a training program established in our quickly growing school district for young men and women who will work in all of the industries supported by this pipeline; if that looks like researching environmental studies, welding, maintenance and quality control of the pipeline or managing the incoming growth and development of future construction in and around the soil this pipeline is built under.
If SB2 passes, how will this property tax legislation affect the city over the next 5 to 10 years?
This piece of legislation is multi-faceted, it is difficult to forecast what this legislation will do because it is still being amended in the Senate. I see some positive aspects where the creation of a state wide standardized manual for appraisers to use for assessing properties would be helpful. However, there are 254 counties in Texas and 253 appraisal districts. Texas is a huge state and the needs of the appraisal districts vary so much that it is not always equitable to take one appraiser with an office staff of a single individual and compare their spending projections to a county the size of Travis or Hays. The tax rate becoming more transparent for all the property owners is a fantastic idea because it will take some of that accountability back to the State Comptroller's office and doesn't direct as much of the targeted blame of rising tax rate over to our local county Appraisers. Additional oversight by the proposed committee could be a good thing and is included in this legislation. Ultimately spending by the City must be controlled and I think property taxes have become a burden to property owners. I can't project yet the possible unintended consequences from this legislation because it simply is not written or passed into law yet.
Kyle is a booming city. How will you balance Kyle’s need for additional infrastructure with a reasonable tax rate?
I have seen the growth here in Kyle and shifting the spending of our City's budget is one way to continue building the infrastructure. I've considered some new idea approaches to maintaining our current tax rate which includes something like an "out-of-state" fee to be paid by incoming developers. Just like the cost of "Out-of-State" tuition is charged to our students when they leave Texas to start college, possible we can charge a fee similar to that to the incoming builders and developers who are not from Texas. Further requiring the builders to pay into our existing and needed increased infrastructure should be written into the contracts with these new developers. Kyle will increase in size. There is no question about that, if we set standards high enough the right developers will come along to help achieve safety and additional infrastructure built the right way here in our City.
How would you characterize the current debt of the city? What is a realistic debt for a city the size of Kyle?
The debt of our city is very high. I think any debt on the books of a household, business, school district, city or county is not good. We were all taught (hopefully) to spend less than you make. However, I know that is not always realistic and that is when people, companies, businesses etc. begin to take on debt. I would like to see the operating budget exist that allows for a debt of less than 10%.
What are your thoughts about Kyle's affordable housing situation? If more is needed, how would you provide for it?
I do think we need more affordable housing in Kyle. I think one approach is to require the builders who are building these homes that start in the low 200K price and higher should be required to contribute a percent or fee to either an existing affordable housing project or to build a townhome, 4-plex quality unit that offsets the low inventory that Kyle has of affordable housing units.
Kyle has made several attempts at public transportation, including a limited trolley service and a subsidized taxi service. What are your thoughts about the need for public transportation in Kyle? How would you fund and provide it?
I think we need to think outside the box when it comes to public transportation. For instance, there are multiple buses that run the students of Hays CISD and even TX State which are not in operation (Generally) in the evening. Is it possible that we engage in discussions with those entities and create additional routes for early AM, mid-day and evening routes? Can we purchase older buses/shuttles from these groups? I would like to discuss some options and explore ideas from cities of similar sizes to implement their ideas.
If elected, you could run for reelection and be eligible for the new compensation package proposed by the Citizens Compensation Committee. What do you think is a reasonable monthly compensation for a City Council member in a city the size of Kyle?
If I am elected, I will run for reelection. I think the Issue of City Council Compensation is a sticky situation, in other words we will get what we pay for. If you do not offer some compensation for individuals in this position of public service in light of the work & time commitments required of them, then you essentially are telling that individual that their work for the City and their personal time does not have value. When the City of Kyle was a population of less than 10,000 people it was not as much of a time commitment from our City Council and $100 a month was likely a satisfactory rate of compensation.
The facts have changed, now our growing City requires our council members to work 20-35 hours a week. Time is our true currency, time spent at work, time spent away from family and friends, time is what all Americans would like to have more of. Sacrifices of personal time are made by all Committee and Council members especially in the precious evening and weekend hours. If compensation is not given to City Council members many things can begin to happen: Resentment can build up and the position can begin to feel like a thankless job. "Other methods" of incentives could begin to happen under the table because a Council Member is subject to bribery/special deals or agreements to vote particular ways. Less drive to work hard for the City can also occur because the Council Member may not feel there is a worth or value of their time invested anyway. However, if there is compensation for the City Council members, a higher standard of accountability and transparency will be required of them. Kyle citizens will be investing in the Council Member's and be able to require more of them because of that compensation. The Council Member's will not have excuses to not remain steadfast, working hard in an ethical, truthful and honest method for the City because the citizens are paying them to do so. If the compensation does pass into our charter I think there should be a timesheet submitted by each Council Member to account for how they are earning that compensation. I also think that if the Council Member is found to be participating in underhanded dealings or unethical behavior the citizens should be able to revoke that compensation for the member or move to have them removed from office. It is not always popular to take that type of stance when you look at the debt of the City and our current budget, but the worth of a person's time should have some value. I think at least $300 a week is a fair value for a Council Member who can prove they have spent at least 18 hours working for the city in that week. The rate of $300 a week totals $15,600 annually. Ultimately, as a City we will get what we pay for, if we pay nothing for the service of our City Council Members than we can expect very little from them to work on our behalf.
Should Kyle give economic incentives to attract businesses, or is the city’s location on the I-35 corridor and its position as one of the fastest-growing cities incentive enough? Explain.
I feel very strongly that the City's location is incentive enough. I think the growth needs to slow down. I have lived in larger cities for many years and we are at a crossroads here in Kyle where we can swing into dangerous overcrowding and crime rates increasing or we can swing over to slower growth and selective zoning that protects our citizens first and foremost. The growth is coming, we can be very selective about who we allow to come and develop in Kyle proper and the outlying areas. The Master Plan is going to be looked at again this year and we need to step back, take a broad look at the bigger picture and not give any more economic incentives to new developers.
Considering Kyle’s current growth toward the west with a projected 20,000 LUEs (living unit equivalents), does the city have the necessary environmental regulations in place to prevent the pollution of the Blanco River and other watersheds? If so, please explain. If not, what would you propose?
NO, We do not have enough environmental regulations in place to protect the Blanco River and watersheds. I am not sure how to undo some of the damage already done by decisions already put forth, however we can require higher standards for builders to use more environmental friendly products in their construction. Implementing some of the strategic uses that Jasper, KS established after the tornado decimated their city would be an idea. Researching new methods of preserving our greenspaces and discussing how these 20,000 LUE's will be built is another idea to protect our City.
Law enforcement is one of the largest expenses in the city’s budget. What are your thoughts about the size of Kyle's police force and if they are being deployed adequately?
Kyle Police Force does need to be invested in and increased in size. I think there should be satellite police stations in many parts of the City. I know we need an additional station and I propose that it be built on the East side of I-35. Working directly with our Police Chief to discuss what his force is needing is the first place to start when it comes to answering the question of how to adequately deploy law enforcement.
How well is Kyle planning for the future in general? How well is the city prepared for another flood like the one in October 2015? What improvements would you suggest?
Kyle is at a crossroads and somehow our new master plan will need the input of all our citizens, young and old. I think we have to plan for the future now but allow for the facts that everything takes time. It will not be overnight that our City arrives at the final product of our very best intentions for growth. Anything worth waiting for is always more valuable and typically worth the wait to achieve it. We can't just allow the overworked Kyle utility workers to be able to prepare for a historical flood like the one we had in October 2015. It is imperative that the drainage plans are worked on with the HOA's, future developers and road engineers. The more concrete that is poured the more likely we are to increase the flooding and that is a fact that will not change.
What suggestions do you have for encouraging more citizen participation in our government?
Town Hall meetings where citizens are able to candidly discuss their concerns in an environment that is conducive to a back and forth exchange of ideas is my first suggestion to engage our citizens. Hays CISD has an app where parents can send in questions, concerns and comments to the Administration either anonymously or with their name and contact info attached, I think that type of resource would also be a great way to engage citizens in our government. I also think reaching out to ACC, TX State and Hays CISD to the students graduating and beginning young adulthood is also a way to begin engaging new voters and soon to be property owners, business owners and working young people into the process of government procedures.
How can voters contact you?
Describe your educational background
Associate's Degree Liberal Arts Austin Community College, Completing my Bachelor's Degree at Texas State University in Occupational Workforce Leadership Studies emphasis on Business, Spanish & Public Administration.
Describe your relevant employment background
Office Manager 5+ years of Chiropractic & Occupational Therapy clinics, Children's Ministry Leader for 12+ years prior to moving to TX. Volunteering 15+ years in community and educational programs.
Describe your leadership experience background
I have 20+ years of background serving in different ministry programs at multiple Christian Churches in Virginia, California and Texas, volunteering in our community on multiple committees such as the Hays CISD Facility and Bond Oversight Committee. I served for 3 years as the Vice-Chair of the School Board for a Non-Profit Parent Cooperative Preschool where my 2 youngest boys attended in San Marcos. I've realized that in order to lead well, you must first be willing to serve well. I take great pride in leading the small businesses I have managed over the years to a position of growth & expansion, instituting new systems to gain profitability for our clinics despite the National downward trend of healthcare reimbursements. Additionally, serving in the Children's Ministry of Jubilee Christian Center of California my team increased its' volunteer roster by 375% and gained 150+ more children into the program over a 3 year period.
This is a special election to fill the Place 3 seat on the council, which is an at-large council seat, meaning that any registered voter in the City of Kyle can vote in this election. This seat was unexpectedly vacated when former council member Shane Arabie resigned in February.
The Kyle City Council is composed of a Mayor elected at-large by the people for a three-year term and six Council Members, three elected at-large and one from each of the three districts, for staggered three-year terms.
Whoever wins this special election in May will have to run again for a full three-year term later this year in a race that will be on the Nov. 5, 2019 ballot.
Kyle City Council EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS 2019
Click on the image below to see an interactive map of the Early Voting locations for the Kyle City Council election.
Click on the image below to see an interactive map of the Election Day voting locations for the Kyle City Council Place 3 election.