Salado Village Voice put the following questions to the Mayoral and Aldermen candidates. Early voting begins on April 23.
Question 1: There have been preliminary discussions of a landowner giving property to the village that would serve as a small day-time only airport (operated by the municipality). The developer would retain the surrounding property to sell hangars/apartments to owners of small airplanes. All of the property, to include the hangars/apartments, would be annexed into the Village. Is this good or bad for the Village? Why? (200 words)
Question 2: What is your opinion on the future of The Sanctuary development and its impact on the Village? (300 words)
Question 3: What is your opinion on the maintenance, operation and use of Pace Park property? (250 words)
QUESTION 1: Has a thorough market analysis been done on the feasibility of such an installation? We already have a small area airport currently used mainly by sky divers so why add another one? Has the FAA been contacted with this proposal and responded to any alderman’s request?
QUESTION 2: I feel the Sanctuary will ultimately have a negative impact on Salado. Their shops will challenge the success and viability of our current small businesses because of their large advertising budgets and Salado will lose the charm and appeal to visitors who come here to get away from such businesses in large cities. Due to a sweetheart deal on taxes, the Sanctuary won’t pay any for 15 plus years while the village residents get to build and maintain a sewer plant for the Sanctuary’s use with a few residents on Main Street being able to use it.
Question 3: We need to develop Pace Park to its fullest potential by having equipment for special needs children as well as all ages. Such a facility would attract families to come and enjoy coming to Salado, a unique village away from hectic city life. Future plans could also include a dog park which is a very popular in many communities. The very successful Serena Festival would also have a center for their activities. The park is in a strategic location to attract visitors to relax and rest.
QUESTION 1: I do NOT see a benefit to vote in favor of this annexation. The Village would not benefit from operating an airfield. We would have to comply with FAA regulations, perform maintenance on the runway and surrounding grounds – and possibly have to provide air traffic control and runway lighting. However, the landowner has the right to bring the annexation request to the Village through established municipal procedures. I will use my experience in community planning to evaluate the proposal on what benefits will the Village receive, how will our Village heritage be impacted and how will the annexation affect our tax rates.
QUESTION 2: The Sanctuary development could be a positive addition to our community based on the preliminary concepts of an art driven community – this could fit nicely into our Salado Village heritage. However, the Sanctuary must be a carefully master planned addition to our community. I can bring my master planning experience to benefit our Village during this process. The Sanctuary concept must be examined on how it will impact our tax rates and Village services. I will vote NO on any action that does not protect the Village taxpayer – any services the Village provides must be funded by the Sanctuary development.
QUESTION 3: I am in favor of the Village of Salado being responsible for Pace Park. If I am elected, I look forward to looking for additional ways that we can improve Pace Park to serve our village. I would be supportive of adding playgrounds to support our children. A playground for special needs children may be a great addition. I have extensive experience in the maintenance and operations of facilities and communities including parks – I look forward to bringing this experience to the Village of Salado to improve usage, safety/police services, event planning and long-range master planning to provide a strong recreational and tourist park attraction for our village.
QUESTION 1: The airport being mentioned is already in operation and hosts the Temple Skydive business. The owner is seeking to improve the airport with paved runways and taxiways. There are also plans to build or improve an existing building for an FBO (Fixed Based Operator). There are several benefits for the Village. There will be additional lots within the village limits which will become part of the ad valorem tax base. The airport will attract visitors to the village which will contribute to sales tax revenues. If the airport becomes an asset of the Village, the Village would own the runway and taxiways, and possibly the FBO facilities. The Village may choose to operate the airport, or contract for the FBO services. The Village can sustain the airport with fuel sales and taxiway access fees assessed the land/hangar owners, much like HOA fees for a defined neighborhood. Salado would become a “fly-in” destination for pilots!
QUESTION 2: There is activity indicating the beginning processes of physically developing the tract south of FM 2268. The current arena and most of the contents are being auctioned this spring for removal from the site. The developers are in the process of creating the site and construction plans for the tract and should be submitting these to the Village soon. The appearance of a delay in activity for the Sanctuary is directly related to the progress on the waste water system. Final construction plans are contingent upon having the waste water system in place and close to operation. It would have been unwise to begin development and building without the waste water system in place. Future impact on the Village will include increased revenues in both sales and ad valorem taxes. There will be infrastructure in place, paid for by the Sanctuary developers, which will allow for growth within the Sanctuary and the surrounding areas. The development agreement with the Sanctuary was a positive move for Salado as the development area annexed into the Village limits which provided development control. Without the agreement, the development would most likely have become its own entity without any development controls or benefits to Salado proper.
QUESTION 3: Historically, the land was placed in a trust and deeded with restrictions to only be used as a public park. This was established prior to the incorporation of the Village. A Pace Park Board was created to operate and maintain the park and did so wonderfully for years. Since Salado has incorporated, there are now opportunities for the Village to seek federal and state funds, grants, and other compensations to improve the park provided the land is entrusted to the Village. That process began with the BOA becoming the official board for Pace Park. Ultimately, the Village itself becomes the sole trustee of the park. This allows the BOA to establish a public parks board which will make recommendations for its operation, improvement, and maintenance. I believe we will see noticeable improvements to the park through federal, state, and local civic organization and citizen support and efforts.
QUESTION #1: It’s bad to take over the small part in order to benefit one person’s agenda. It’s an all or nothing situation. The Village should either take it over completely, or not at all.
QUESTION 2: My opinion it’s it needs to be done correctly, green, and smart. The development should build upon the charm of Salado, and not distract from it. Decisions regarding the future of The Sanctuary must be ethical, and I will demand Alderman to recuse themselves if there appears to be an unethical situation.
QUESTION 3: Pace Park has the potential to be a beautiful and relaxing green space for local residents. I would like to see more proposals, and hear more opinions of residents before I form a formal opinion.
QUESTION #1: I feel we would benefit from having an airstrip in our village. It would need to be well designed and managed. I have been told that the area behind St. Stephens Catholic Church has been considered as a location. As our community grows we need to be open to new ideas. The municipality would be the best to oversee this addition to our Village. The property owners that will be most impacted by this airstrip should have input in decisions regarding this project. It is and always will be important to keep all growth respectful of our historical charm.
QUESTION #2: For many years I have heard discussions of “Sanctuary”’, so, this morning I made it a point to go out and discuss with others “Sanctuary”. There are many different opinions and ideas of what it actually is. This development has a master plan that includes restaurants, hotels and possibly senior apartments. It is my understanding that they have been given a 10 year tax relief and each year the owner’s taxes are increased eventually paying full amount. This is a common practice for new developments. The Sanctuary appears to be an upscale residential and commercial plan. As far as impact on our town, I believe most growth is good, and we do want to add to our tax base. We as citizens of the Village, must also monitor and stay on top of new growth to guarantee the preservation of our historical areas.
QUESTION #3: Pace Park is a very important part of our community. Currently the Village of Salado is acting as Trustee of this park . It has been a place of Easter Sunrise services, art shows, picnics, fund raisers and a place to just go and enjoy the park. Recently the maintenance of this park has improved. I drive by often and have noticed less trash and more trimmed grass. I would like to see some advertisement regarding the park and encouragement of more use for family activities.