Five candidates are seeking two positions on the Village of Salado Board of Aldermen. Election day is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 5 with the polls open at the Salado Civic Center. Salado Village Voice has done a series of questions and answers with the candidates each week. The series is available online.
For the final week, here are the questions we asked of the candidates:
Question 1: What is your opinion of the Subdivision Ordinance and the enforcement of this and other codes in terms of property maintenance? (200 words)
Question 2: What is your opinion of the Zoning Ordinance and the enforcement of this and other codes and its effects upon local business? (200 words)
Question 3: Can or should the Village do anything about the population of white tail deer? If so, what? If no, why not? (200 words)
Question 4: What sets you apart from the other candidates and why should you be elected? (250 words)
Question 1: Currently, we have no certified compliance officer to legally enforce any ordinances voted into effect by this present board. Such an officer must be trained and certified by the State of Texas. Even when particular ordinances are passed by the BOA, regardless of recommendations by their own appointed committees, the present board often gives variances to certain parties.
Until voters realize the inequalities of such variances, any ordinances are moot.
Question 2: See above answer to question #1.
Question 3: Here we go again with the same old question about the deer population and typical inactions of the BOA. A recent survey was sent to the village residents requesting their opinion of what to do about the deer population. Costs were incurred by the village tax payers to send this survey out-over $500.
Results? Actions? Why no resolutions? The deer population question is apparently non-resolvable by this board. When no one on the board has the expertise to discover an answer to a problem, the board obviously is incapable or unwilling to do their elected job. If elected, I intend to get answers, then inform the public as to what has or has not been done to take care of this on-going problem.
Question 4: Any person running for public office deserves everyone’s thanks. Many offices are volunteer, non-reimbursed, time/effort-consuming positions. As a 10-year plus resident of Salado, member of several organizations, serving on boards such as the Historical Society and Tourism Department, I keep aware of problems and interests of the citizens and business owners, realizing the necessity of staying knowledgeable of what Salado offers constituents, visitors, and tourists. We are a quaint, friendly Texas village needing to remain proud of our history and its preservation.
Each person coming to BOA meetings stating their concerns absolutely deserves the respect and courtesy to be heard by all board members without intimidation by anyone. The BOA must observe the rules as set forth and abide them as also required by attendees of meetings. I will make sure such courtesies are maintained. Orderly, respectful, non-confrontational meetings are the right of all citizens.
Financing my own campaign, I am indebted only to Saladoans and will represent all their interests.
Question 1: The Subdivision Ordinance No. 2009.03 dated April 2, 2009 is put in place to assist residential developers to construct housing areas that meet safety, traffic, utilities, codes and other requirements to blend into our Salado community and maintain the quality of life that we currently enjoy. Our subdivision ordinance is based on an approval process of concept, construction plat and final plat approval. This ordinance is a living document and should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect the needs of our community as changes occur. Our subdivision ordinance must also consider the zoning ordinance as designated within our zoning map system. A part of this ordinance that appears to be missing is how the subdivisions are incorporated with our sewage treatment system. If elected as your alderman, I will use my master planning experience to update the subdivision ordinance. I will actively work to ensure that our Subdivision Ordinance is fair to our residents and the new subdivisions – subdivisions must bring in tax revenue to pay for our village services.
Question 2: The Village of Salado Zoning Ordinance 2013.08.04 was most recently updated in June 2015. If elected, I will work to ensure that our Zoning Ordinance is more regularly updated. My experience in community planning at Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston has shown that zoning plans must be reviewed and updated as our communities change. In my experience, the zoning plans require evaluation and updating at least yearly. A large portion of our zoning map identifies historic districts which can limit how businesses can alter their property – our zoning plan needs to provide details on how our businesses can improve facilities and maintain our Salado heritage. I can use my community master planning experience to make sure the Village has an efficient zoning plan to fairly treat our businesses equally and protect the Village identity. Our zoning ordinance purpose is correctly stated as “the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, morals and general welfare, and protecting and preserving places and areas of historical, cultural and/or architectural importance and significance within the Village”. If elected your alderman, I will diligently work to make sure our Zoning Ordinance purpose is supported and the ordinance is updated.
Question 3: I have visited with many Village residents during my campaign. The deer topic repeatedly comes up during our conversations. My response is that I love the deer but hate the damage. When my grandchildren visit they are thrilled to see the deer. Several other visitors to our village have mentioned to me that they love to see the deer. The flip side of this issue is that I have seen the damage the deer can do to landscaping and have seen sick or injured deer in our neighborhoods. We do have a deer problem that must be addressed. During a recent Board of Alderman meeting, the city administrator was tasked to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for any information on how to control deer population within a community. I know that we are not the only community in Texas with a deer overpopulation concern. I fully support a humane form of population control. Due to safety concerns, I do not support village residents harvesting deer on their home property. If elected as your alderman, I will keep the deer overpopulation concern in the forefront of our municipal leaders until resolved.
Question 4: My engineering and community planning experience sets me apart from the other candidates. I have a deep love for our Salado community and I am eager to serve the Salado residents. I will bring my talents as a registered/licensed Texas professional engineer of over 30 years to represent the Village residents in all aspects of our community. I am the only candidate with sewage system design, construction and management experience. I am passionate in my service to the public as evidenced by my volunteering to manage Army construction projects in Iraq. I bring community master planning experience from Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston and Baghdad, Iraq (I planned the location of the Baghdad sanitation landfill and also planned several main sewage and water supply lines in Iraq.) I bring traffic and transportation experience to our Board of Alderman – I have worked with the Texas Department of Transportation on several road planning projects while at Fort Hood. My 33 years as a civilian with the Army provided a broad background of personnel management skills that can be used if elected to the Board of Aldermen. I have met many new friends while campaigning and I deeply appreciate the warm reception that I have received from the Village family. I am thankful for all those who have supported me, especially my wife, Diana. If I am elected, the Village residents will have an experienced engineer who will bring a new “can do” positive attitude to your Board of Aldermen!
Question 1: The Subdivision Ordinance has been on the schedule for review and updating. There are several conflicting sections within the ordinance. The ordinance revision has been on hold because there has not been a Village Municipal Court in place. The Court is necessary in the enforcement process. The court we have been using to litigate traffic and criminal cases does not have authority or jurisdiction to hear cases regarding violations of Village ordinances. Now that the Municipal Court is in place the Subdivision Ordinance will be second in line to the revision process following the West Side Overlay District.
Question 2: The Zoning Ordinance has been effective in controlling safety, public health, and desired growth. The Zoning Board has done an excellent job in their review and hearing process. There have been very few instances where the Zoning Board of Adjustment (which is currently the BOA) has been called upon in the zoning appeals process. This is an indication the zoning process is working. As it is with the Subdivision Ordinance, the Zoning Ordinance should be reviewed and updated when necessary. The Zoning Board should be the governing body to recommend changes within this specific ordinance to the BOA.
Question 3: I believe the Village and the BOA want to do something about the white tail deer population in Salado and should do something to assist with this problem. The problem is in the “can”. There has not been a solution presented to the BOA which does not involve considerable expense or present possible safety issues. The recent survey revealed our citizens want the problem addressed but are not willing to increase revenue to provide the necessary funding. The question then becomes what services must be foregone to balance funding to solve the deer population problem. In the 2016-17 budget there was a line item of $10,000 for deer population control. This sparked an outcry from our citizens with respect to the manner the control might be achieved. At that time, it was estimated that several hundred deer would need to be removed to achieve a healthy balance in the population. I am sure that number has increased significantly in the past two breeding seasons. Estimates for removal have ranged from $50 to $100 per deer. For 300 deer, that would equate to $15,000 to $30,000; for 600 deer – $30,000 to $60,000.
Question 4: I entered this servitude as one of your Alderman 4 years ago at the encouragement of former mayors, aldermen, friends and acquaintances whom Kaye and I have come to know since we moved here in 2001 and from our time as teachers in Killeen ISD. I have spent most of my professional life serving in volunteer positions of many kinds since 1980. I do not consider myself a politician, rather a fellow citizen who will serve the community. The only agenda I carry is to address the needs of the Village in the best possible manner and with the best possible solutions we can create and afford. Kaye and I have invested deeply in this community and believe the best is yet to be. We will always “Honor the Past and Embrace the Future”.
Question 1: I am leery on reading the Subdivision Ordinance since the Ordinance website has a disclaimer stating the laws listed on the site may be out-of-date. This shows the importance of having up-to-date and factual information.
Question 2: As previously mentioned, the ordinance website is not the best tool to use in making informed decisions. Local businesses and local residents are too often left in the dark, uninformed, without a source to lean on for factual information regarding the village.
Question 3: The deer are already attracting larger predators. I love the deer, however there is an easy way to handle the deer humanely, without a cost to tax payers. It will have to be regulated, and supervised by the village.
Question 4: I am pushing to open up the village so that the population of Salado may be informed. No other candidate is mentioning the issues I am bringing up. There is a lot of mistrust, and misinformation filling the streets of Salado. The best way to tackle the issue is by opening up the doors. The government must over-inform its population, thereby promoting healthy discourse. I have been trained in servant leadership, conflict resolution, and Lean 6 Sigma. I believe in data, better processes, open and easily accessible information, and a government that protects our pursuit of happiness.
Question #1: Unable to download PDF for Subdivision Ordinance
Question #2: As I read the Zoning Ordinances I become convinced of the importance for having and following these ordinances. We must all do our part to help implement, follow and encourage others to do the same. Enforcement should equal throughout the village. The effect on local businesses should be limited and the same rules should apply to all or at least be adhered to in a timely manner.
Question #3: The deer are over populated and I think everyone agrees with that statement. However, I am not in favor of any type of kill or slaughter of these animals. I believe that there has been money allotted for help in the cost of solving this problem. I would be in support of some type of movement or relocation of a number of the deer away from Salado.
Question #4: I have lived in Salado for over 20 years. During this time, I have seen people and places come and go away. I have served on committees at my church in an effort to do my part to help others. I have and continue to serve on the Salado Water Supply Board in an effort to make Salado an even better place to live. I have served on the board of the Salado Historical Society because I believe ever much in the importance of our rich history. I have no personal agenda for this position. My only desire is to continue learning about the needs of our community and support the right type of growth for it. I will listen and help you find an answer to your questions.