Stuart Kirkwood – District 3 Kyle City Council Candidate

What should the city do to protect the safety of its citizens from the proposed Permian Highway Pipeline?

The Kyle City Council along with other surrounding cities as well as Hays County has signed proclamations opposing the Permian Highway Pipeline. Recently, the City of Kyle joined forces with Hays County and has initiated legal action against the pipeline. I would encourage every concerned citizen to continue to voice their opposition to their local, state, and national representatives. As an elected local representative, I will continue to work with the surrounding communities and counties to protect our citizens and environment from the proposed pipeline as well as future environmental and community hazards.

If SB2 passes, how will this property tax legislation affect the city over the next 5 to 10 years?

SB 2 passed the Senate and was sent to the House with a scheduled date of April 27th for debate with the bill being amended to 3.5% rollback tax rate. If the bill comes out of the House intact, the City of Kyle will need to ensure it is financially efficient, reducing costs where possible, and focus on increasing sales tax revenue. The city’s economic development team in collaboration with other community organizations will need to focus on working together to promote Kyle to attract large employers, increasing the expendable income levels as well as attracting businesses which will assist in keeping the expendable income in Kyle. If the city surpasses the cap, it will need to convince voters of the legitimacy for the increase. This will increase the transparency level of the city overall.

Kyle is a booming city. How will you balance Kyle’s need for additional infrastructure with a reasonable tax rate?

I would need to review the cost associated with the infrastructure projects and work with the council on creating a priority list. Once the list is vetted, decisions will need to be made determining which projects are completed with available funds without affecting the tax rate. I believe there are opportunities for cost savings within various areas of the city. I would also expect to obtain residents input, ensuring the concerns of our community are part of the final decision.

How would you characterize the current debt of the city? What is a realistic debt for a city the size of Kyle?

Kyle’s current debt is in the neighborhood of $120 million. According to the latest S&P Global ratings, dated February 2018, the bond rating for the city was raised from A+ to AA-. The report states an adequate economy, strong budgetary performance, very strong budgetary flexibility, and a very strong liquidity. The report also calls out there is no long term financial plan. There are many factors which should be considered when determining an acceptable debt and prior to burdening the tax payers with more bond debt. I would work with the council to create a long term financial plan, determine the priority of the needs within the community, and build a manageable project plan. A strong long term financial plan along with smart planning can ensure managed growth while providing an exceptional quality of life for our residents.

What are your thoughts about Kyle's affordable housing situation? If more is needed, how would you provide for it?

Kyle has affordable housing through various federal agencies as well as subsidized housing through various private apartment complexes. Affordable housing is necessary and should be made available to those in need. The city should work with developers to include affordable housing when appropriate. Affordable housing should be seen as a temporary arrangement and programs should be available which will assist Kyle citizens to move up.

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?

A need for public transportation does exist for the citizens of Kyle. This need is expected to increase along with our population. I would work with the Council to appoint a citizen led committee to evaluate the needs and make recommendations with viable solutions. The solutions need to be both efficient and cost effective.

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?

I have researched this topic and have found various results with a few at each end of the spectrum. I found some neighboring cities, the size of Kyle, in which they do not pay the council or mayor for their civic duty. I also found some cities which pay their council and mayor more than the proposed package for the Kyle Council. I believe each council member will need to decide if the compensation package is reasonable and appropriate as they do have the opportunity to donate the funds back to the city or to another charitable organization. When I first served on the council in 1998 we were not paid until after the city charter was enacted, setting the pay at $100 a month around 2001. In my opinion, I believe $500 a month for council members and $800 for the mayor is an appropriate first step.

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.

When I was on the council in 98-02, Kyle was at the cusp of the initial growth spurt. If we wanted a business to come to town, we had to agree to large incentives which always favored the business. We are, in my opinion, at a point in which any future incentives should favor the city. With a limited amount of open space left in Kyle, any future incentives for businesses or developments need to become more advantageous for the city. Incentives now are based on supply and demand. Kyle now has the homes and population as well as supporting businesses so we can now “want” the business/development to come to Kyle but the business/development “needs” Kyle.

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?

Environmental issues are always a concern when you start changing the natural habitat with homes or businesses. The city needs to be very diligent in ensuring the Federal and State regulations are strictly enforced and developers should be held accountable for any failures. The protection of the environment is vital to the long term sustainment and health of our community. Ensuring all environmentally sensitive regulations and practices are followed will allow a healthy and harmonious existence with our environment and watersheds.

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?

The Kyle police department is the largest expense in the city due to the fact it runs on a 24 hour, 7 day a week operation. The police department is made up of patrol officers, 911 dispatchers, animal control, as well as code enforcement. Given the Kyle Police Department has been understaffed for several years I believe we need to ensure the proper attention and funds are allocated to correct staffing levels. As a commissioner of the Civil Service Commission, I witnessed several testing periods with limited amount of job offers extended due to the quality of applicants. The national average is 2 officers per 1000 and we are just over 1 per 1000. I believe an appropriate staffing ratio would be 1.5 per thousand to maintain the safety of our citizens. Given the low staffing numbers today, I believe the police force is appropriately deployed, with the majority of the sworn officers assigned to uniform patrol and traffic divisions, being available to be dispatched to emergency situations.

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?

The city hired Storm water Management Plan Administrator to utilize best management practices for storm water. Funds are available to start working on those areas which need attention to prevent another round of flooding. The city adopted the SD&FRMU ordinance in 2016 to allow the city to address future flooding, maintain existing infrastructure, as well as design and install new infrastructure. I will work with the council to ensure we are addressing the most affected areas first to prevent another round of flooding.

What suggestions do you have for encouraging more citizen participation in our government?

Increasing citizen participation in local government, in a positive manner, is a challenging task. In 1996, when I first became involved in local government, I was greeted with enthusiasm from those who were in elected positions and had lived here most of their lives. Kyle was about 3000 in size and there was little to no active citizens, other than those already in a planning and zoning or council member position. My personal experience was positive and I would work toward encouraging citizens to be more active, by reaching out to those I have met during my campaign and getting them involved in committees and organizations.

Image of Stuart Kirkwood


Stuart Kirkwood

How can voters contact you?

email or Facebook or 512-268-1425

Describe your educational background

Graduated from San Marcos High School in 1986 and from Texas State University (SWT) in 1995 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Attended Austin Community College and obtained a certification from Texas Certification on Law Enforcement in 1999. I am currently licensed under TCOLE as a Master Peace Officer.

Describe your relevant employment background

I am currently employed with Dell Financial Services as a Consultant, Business Operations in which I am responsible for five large outsourced service providers. I have also served in a Sr. Manager role, responsible for various operational teams, processes, as well as budgets. I was employed as an aviation police officer for the City of Austin, Aviation Department at ABIA from February 2003 until May of 2006.

Describe your leadership experience background

I served on the City of Kyle’s P&Z commission from 1997 through 1998 and then served on the Kyle City Council from 1998 until 2002, with the last year of my term serving as Mayor Pro Tem. I am currently serving as the Chairperson on the Civil Service Commission. Over 20 years of corporate experience managing various outsource providers, teams, and budgets.

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.


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.