Salado Village Voice put the following questions to the Mayoral and Aldermen candidates. Early voting begins on April 23.
Question #1: The projected initial demand on the sewer system is 341 Living Unit Equivalents (LUE) for a daily demand of 83,545 gallons per day, or about 40% percent of the total 200,000 gallon per day capacity. In its ninth year, it is projected to increase to 432 LUE and 105,840 GPD. Should the Village be considered with attracting more users to spread the costs of the sewer to a wider base and share the burden? If so, what steps can the Village take to do that? (250 words)
Question 2. There are several residential subdivisions being platted and built in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of Salado. Should the Village try to attract them into annexing voluntarily into the city limits? If so, how? If not, why not (250 words)
Question 3. In terms of growth for the Village, do you want more residential rooftops, more businesses, both or neither? Why or why not? (150 words)
Question #1: Until the sewer is actually up and running, any projections to “spread the costs” cannot be realistically projected at this time. These questions/situations should have been considered at the time of the original proposal of the bond issue.
Question #2: Having spoken with several residents of our ETJs, they are adamant that being annexed into the village offers no benefits for them. Sewers are not presently in the equation for village home owners not living on Main Street and neither are plans for ETJ’s. Currently not paying village taxes, ETJ residents are still allowed to serve on all committees and boards such as the Planning and Zoning and Tourism Boards being appointed by the Board of Aldermen, making recommendations that impact not them but the current tax-paying village residents. America was founded on principals of “taxation without representation”. Our ETJ’s enjoy “representation without taxation”.
Question #3: Currently, there are several empty residential and commercial lots available for construction in the village. Not to grow is to inhibit progress but consideration for our historical heritage must always be a mandatory requirement for maintaining the ambiance on which we currently pride ourselves.
Question #1: The Salado Village taxpayers are paying to buy a sewage plant that will have a 200,000 gallon per day capacity which gives us extra capacity – this extra capacity belongs to the Salado Village taxpayers. If elected, I will be voting to protect the Salado Village taxpayer interests and our extra capacity. First, we must make sure that our estimates are reasonable and we do have extra capacity. Second, if we are sure that we have extra capacity available, I will look internally for Salado Village customers that can use and pay for using the extra capacity. This can be new or existing businesses and new or existing residential areas. Some areas are close to the sewage system that could easily be added to our sewage system and be a great addition to our sewage treatment system. These Salado village customers will be responsible for any additional service costs such as additional construction costs, design costs, sewage lines, lift stations and connection points. And last, if we are sure that we have available capacity then we can entertain proposals from outside entities to sell our extra capacity with the main focus of ensuring the village taxpayer is not funding any outside interests.
I will vote to protect the Salado village taxpayer interests in all planning and actions regarding the sewage treatment system.
Question #2: The Village of Salado must be aware of the impact that these subdivisions will have to our community. I will use my master planning and engineering management experience to position the Village of Salado to minimize the problems created by the growth in these areas. The subdivisions will increase traffic and create other challenges – our village must plan how to address these conditions. I managed the traffic control planning on Fort Hood for several years and now plan to use my traffic control experience to prevent village traffic concerns. Well planned and constructed neighborhoods that fit into our Salado Village heritage can be beneficial to our village. I will not vote to use village taxpayer funding to attract the residential subdivisions to annex into our village. I will consider a voluntary annexation proposal by any citizen as provided by our Village of Salado municipal procedures. I will consider all annexations proposals fairly. My decision to accept the voluntary annexation will be based on how the annexation will effect our village citizens. I will not vote for annexation if the area does not fit into our Salado culture. I will not vote to approve the annexation if it is not fair to our village citizens and does not bring value to the village.
Question #3: If elected, my priority will be to position our village to maintain our current small-town charm. Our tourist visitation is critical for our village economy. We must keep this tourist industry strong and robust to minimize costs to our village taxpayer – it is the life blood of our community. A strong community master planning and zoning process is critical to maintain our village heritage. I intend to use my extensive engineering experience and community planning experience to fairly regulate our growth. I would work to provide an enforced sound master planning and zoning process that can have controlled growth. Business and residential growth would then fit into our Salado Village character and provide additional charm for our village.
Question #1: Plans are already in the works to expand the system to the north on the East side of I35, and to the north and west of I35. There is also an interest by several parties in adding an extension out Royal from the existing lines. These expansions would be at a developer’s or land owner’s expense. This will add a significant number of LUEs to the system. It is important to note that at the time the treatment plant reaches 75% capacity, there must be a plan to address the need for more capacity developed and put in place.
Question #2: Many developers feel it is an advantage to their sales if their development remains outside the Village limits. That might be a good point in selling a property, but a residential development outside the Village limits does not have the same zoning protections and traffic controls as properties within the Village. In the ETJ, it is possible for a large commercial development to be placed next door to a residential area. The Village has limited authority in controlling the type of development in the ETJ. Bringing a residential development into the Village limits will allow the Village to zone the property, control traffic safety, and other measures, all of which will maintain or improve property values. There is more benefit to being in the Village limits than remaining out of the Village limits.
Question #3: Salado needs to expand and add additional roof tops and commercial businesses. If expansion does not occur, the Village will always be limited in its ability to provide general services to the community such as road maintenance, street lights, safety services, and park maintenance. It is necessary to bring both residential and commercial growth to the Village. If only residential is added, the burden to pay for services will fall higher on the residential taxes. If residential and commercial growth are attracted, the tax burden is shared by both and a balance can be maintained. There are incentives in place to attract both types of developments to Salado. These incentive plans will be on future agendas for discussion and possible action.
Question #1: Growth is inevitable, therefore yes, the city must attract more users, therefore ensuring water is flowing, and pushing debris through the pipes. The city needs to provide incentives to attract new subdivisions to attach to the sewer system. I most cases people want protection and safety from the city. The city may need to reevaluate the square footage restrictions on housing, and promote the creation of more affordable housing for workers of the local businesses.
Question #2: As stated above, yes, the city will grow, and must grow to create more revenue, thereby enabling Salado to provide more services to its constituents. The city will need to approach the leaderships of each subdivision and create a constructive dialogue on absorption. We need to know what the surrounding areas need, and in most cases the need is simple; protection and safety.
Question #3: The answer will always be both. The city needs to help businesses grow and thrive. Business is what attracts people to Salado. The town has an artistic niche which the city must promote. The artisans are the ones bringing tourists to town, however they cannot survive without labor, and that labor needs affordable housing. In speaking to many business owners, their employees travel to Salado because they cannot afford to live in town. I believe the housing square footage regulation needs to be re-examined.
Question #1: I feel the Village should take every step possible to expand the number of customers using wastewater plant. We need to keep in mind that this facility is not a one time expenditure. Every year there will be operating costs (utilities, staff and chemicals). There will also be future needs such as equipment repairs. The real value of our facility will be having as many customers as possible. By expanding our customer base for this facility the better it will be for all of our residents. When it comes to trying to attract new users, the availability of wastewater service is hopefully all the incentive we will need. The opportunity to get away from owning and maintaining septic system is a plus. In my opinion the best thing we can do is to be ready to service as many customers as possible as they begin to look at Salado.
Question #2: I think there is a feeling that growth in our Village will cause the loss of the charm of our Village. This does not have to be the case. I think one way to attract voluntary annexation is to provide the best possible municipal services to our residents. If newcomers or developers see good Village services they will want to be part of our community. We continue to need strong police presence, a reliable sewer service, and healthy economy. If we focus on the mission to make the Village of Salado the best it can be, developments within our ETJ will want to join our Village.
Question #3: I am in favor of growth but not just for growth’s sake. We are a smart wonderful, historical Village. We have so many talented residents. Just look at our art and culture. I believe that our Village has to continue to grow in order to sustained. I will only promote growth that is positive for our Village. We must have good Village governance and good annexation policies. Now is the time that me must look at establishing them. If we do our job, growth will be a path to a bright future. We have a Village that can use more rooftops and more businesses.