Salado Village Voice put the following questions before the seven candidates for the Village of Salado Board of Aldermen. Their answers follow.
1. With the final approval of permits for the sewer coming, will you work as an aldermen to make progress on the sewer, suggest different plans or oppose progress on the sewer? Why? (100 words)
2. What ideas, proposals, approaches will you bring to the Board of Aldermen concerning Economic Development, attracting new businesses and promoting Salado, if you are elected? (150 words)
3. What is your vision for Salado in five years? in 10 years? How do we get there as a community? (150 words)
Question 1: Final approval to make progress on the sewer: Yes. Suggest different plans: To drill for water atop a hill is a stupid idea. Placing a waste water plant on top of a hill that requires expensive “lift stations” to force sewage uphill is a dumb idea.
We missed an economical, financially beneficial joint venture with Belton and Temple when offering us the opportunity to tie into their already existing waste water plant. This was the most feasible and profitable plan to have brought needed dollars into Salado through the sale of effluent as well as we would have been on-line quickly without the added expense of maintaining our own system and delays caused by having to obtain necessary permits for a new system. Properties on Main Street would have had the option of whether or not to tie onto the sewer. Unfortunately, it is already too late to correct this very costly decision.
Question 2: Economic Development: Too many inexperienced opinions and actions by the present board have already caused costly delays Salado’s progress in this respect. Hiring a professional economic development organization is crucial. Such firms do market analysis and research, attracting appropriate businesses to specific areas. One must spend money—wisely. Actively working with professionals is the best and proven method to attract business which will promote Salado. Regardless of political posturing, no current council member has the experience or expertise to successfully promote economic development without expert advice of professionals.
Promoting Salado through tourism is a proven, vital way to bring more tourists, visitors and new residents to spend their monies in order to survive as a prosperous village. Many Saladoans have questioned why a very successful tourism department was dissolved in favor of having only a chamber of commerce and the remaining budget of over $249,000 has “disappeared” and never been accounted for.
Question 3: Vision for Salado. Keeping Salado as one of the Last Frontier’s village is a proven attraction that must maintain its heritage. Main Street is charming and inviting and doesn’t need any additional fluff (“butterfly” benches??) to keep its ambiance. We are a Western Village—not the Deep South. Just ask visitors what they think about the building frontages as they presently exist.
As evidenced by our past events, the lack of sufficient parking spaces has become an issue that must be addressed.
Looking at the other small towns around us, you don’t see them trying to re-do what isn’t already attracting people to their towns. Keeping our historic village quaint but yet progressing intelligently with future growth is vital and necessary.
David T. Williams
Question 1: I will continue to work toward progress with the Sewer System by keeping on the present course. The engineering drawings and project contract are ready for bid once final official approvals are provided. With Sales tax and franchise fees paying close to 65% of the Villages operating costs, the sewer is critical for business development and financial health of the village.
Question 2: I’m excited about the opportunities to develop the west side of I-35. If it is all possible I would love to see a development much like the Domain in Austin. A well coordinated, aesthetically pleasing facade with large sidewalks and greenery everywhere. I would encourage the use of analytics to support development planning, the use of consultants as resources allow, and seek citizen input.
Question 3: In 5 years I see a Salado that is growing in retail and restaurants in the Historic District and beginnings of major construction on the West side. I see community organizations growing and an atmosphere of optimism in the air.
In 10 years I see a vibrant Salado day and night life and a west side that is the envy of Bell County. I see a financially stable village budget primarily support by Sales Tax and Franchise fees. I see Salado citizens that are the envy of their friends because we get to live in this wonderful Village.
We get there by partnering Village citizens with businesses. Citizens continue to volunteer in the many organizations that make Salado the destination of choice. Be positive and seek solutions to challenges.
Question 1: I will work diligently to see the completion of the sewer. For the sake of Main Street, the sewer has to be installed. In the historic part of our village, the septic systems are old and some are giving way. The new aerobic system is very costly and takes up twice the space that the old systems use. This would drive many businesses out of business. A good example is the Mansion. When that septic system failed, the owner, Gene Street said he could not justify spending $200 thousand dollars for a new aerobic system and he just closed his award winning restaurant down. This has the very real prospect of happening over and over again unless we do what the voters asked us to do and that is to put in and complete the sewer system. Additionally the west side of 1-35 must have sewer to be able to meet their future needs.
Question 2: The growth of Salado will happen if we want it to or not. It is our job to properly manage the growth and at the same time to increase our tax base and our sewer users.
There is new housing development all around our community that is not in our city limits. Through an aggressive plan with developers, we are offering them incentives to bring their development into the city limits so that we can increase our property tax base. When this happens, it generates additional resources to meet the needs of our citizens. More money for road repair, for additional police, for parks, all things that cost money.
With the addition of the sewer on the west side of 1-35, Commerical business will come calling and it will be our job to decide what is good for Salado and what is not. Many businesses that want to come here will want incentives. It will be our job to analyze the cost benefit to Salado.
Question 3: The greatest asset we can have in Salado is a unified Salado. A village where everyone works for a common goal to preserve our past and at the same time work toward the future. Protecting our historical assists should always be our number one priority. At the same time we should build a cohesive community where neighborhoods and retail co-exist to make a quality town that is the envy of Texas.
It is difficult to say what our Village will look like in 5 years or 10 years. In my mind I see Main Street and Royal Street with all of their charm and history that has made Salado famous. I see sidewalks and antique lighting down both streets. I see garden areas and rest areas that welcome our visitors to our shops and events. I see an aggressive tourism effort that brings quality events to Salado each month. I see more people in our shops and staying in our lodging facilities. I see more tourists enjoying the charm and quality of life that Salado offers.
On the west side of 1-35, I see new restaurants and retail establishments that support the community. I see a much increased tax base that will be able to support increased services to the community. I see an overlay district on the west side that will give that part of town a central theme that blends well with the rest of Salado.
The future is bright for Salado.
1. I will work as an alderman to make progress on the sewer. I would like to see the lines extended initially to the northside hotels and the schools west of I-35 and to as many other areas as possible that would support new businesses or residential developments. If we need to add capacity or an additional treatment plant, we should do that. At this point in time, the sewer is the only village-owned utility and will hopefully be paid for by user fees as we develop it. Also, supplementary public restrooms need to be added along Main Street.
2.I will use creative placemaking to make public spaces better, i.e. downtown, parks, squares, sidewalks, streets, historic district. I would institute Salado Vision 2018, a type of block party to discuss our future, where citizens could share what they love about Salado, what brought them here, what they would change or would keep the same. I would involve youth in the planning. They bring fresh perspective. Blank drink coasters could be used to collect input; love it side for what to keep, leave it side for what to abandon. Hold a The Good/The Bad/The Ugly photo contest to see what needs to be emphasized or cleaned up. Pictures with index cards could be displayed on a wall at the Civic Center with suggestions how to improve Salado. Candy corn or jelly beans could be dropped in clear glass jars (giving a visual effect) to vote for favorite projects.
Question 3.I will have two guiding principles as an alderman, responsive government and controlled, directed change. Community planning should focus on visioning, strategizing, and creating action steps. Look at what is worth preserving and look forward to positive changes. The Village can partner with faith-based groups, service organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, merchants, or any other group wanting to be a part of making Salado more attractive for residents and visitors. I never want to lose that small-town atmosphere where I know my neighbors, I know the merchants, I feel like a vital part of the community and enjoy just walking the streets and sidewalks and stopping to visit along the way. It is our choice what Salado becomes over the next few years. Proper planning and involvement by all should be our watchwords as we move boldly into the future. The best for Salado is yet to come!
Question 1: I will work to make the proper and thorough progress. Working with the engineers and supporting their efforts on completing the sewer the right way, the first time.
Question 2: The Economic Development of Salado is a must, but I believe we need to support the small businesses that we already have and small business growth. We need to advertise Salado as a destination, as a featured spot for traveling Texas. A place to visit, stay for a while, and shop the amazing Main Street we have.
Question 3. We need to do everything as a community. A strong community will ensure a positive growth and development the way the people want it to happen. In 5 to 10 years I envision a Salado that still is a small town, a village where everyone knows their neighbors and the businesses. Yes there will be growth but we the people need to control the change and growth that will happen to preserve the amazing community we have.
Question 1: I absolutely support the concept of making progress on the sewer system as designed. This matches the expectations that the voters expected when they very clearly supported a Village sewer system by voting in support of it at the polls. This message was overwhelming and understood.
I trust the voters that when they say something, they mean it. They not only mean it, but with high standards intended. High standards indicated to me that our voters expect a commitment to excellence. This will be the end product.
Question 2: The current Board of Aldermen have employed a City Administrator who began his responsibilities this week. The term, Economic Development is solidly in his wheelhouse. One only must review Don Ferguson’s many areas of production and you will discover that economic development is at the top of the class. Sustainability is equally as obvious, as production has not been a fleeing idea, it has been maintained for a period of years, not months or days.
In addition to this Village leadership, an active Economic Development Committee has been in place for a year plus. This committee consists of bright individuals who possess a variety of skills, successful experiences, and enthusiasm. This committee is loaded with the will to be a performer, not a spectator and are more than ready to provide a most professional support element.
Question 3: My vision for Salado in 5 years is that this community will exhibit an atmosphere that others will view as wholesome, caring, and productive. It will be a Village that people will look forward to visiting because of the various experiences available to them. Salado will be a joyous occasion and one that you look forward to sharing with anyone who will listen.
My view for Salado in 10 years will be a refinement of the last 5 years. Shop owners will gain from their experiences and modify what in their view, should be “tweaked”. Plus, new experiences will arrive in the form of attractions for all ages.
We will get to these places by having great leaders who have a passion for their causes. Those who have an obligation to develop a positive attitude, one that inspires others in all that they touch.
Question 1: A West side business told they will not receive sewer? Since I am not on the sewer committee, and have a very vague idea of what has already been spent on sewer development, I beg ignorance. We’ll all know more after the election.
I do know that Fred Brown voted against the financial go ahead to KPA, and I have to respect that the mayor pro-tem knows a lot more than I.
I’ve also read in the Village newsletter that Mr. Brown questions whether anything will ever be built around the Highlands/Sanctuary WWTP. Sanctuary Pie in the Sky ring a bell?
Question 2: I voted for the sewer bond to extend a sewer to the schools, the West side and Main St. Will that happen? If elected, Reynolds will spend every waking moment, and every bond dollar left in the coffers to make it happen!
The sewer on the West side and Main St. will provide all the Economic Development our infrastructure can handle. We do NOT need more rooftops to cause more flooding. We need businesses that can handle our tourist’s bathroom needs, so tourists are comfortable and happy to stay all day!
And for under 65 homesteaders, a sewer rebate would help equalize the sewer tax burden. Once the sewer is built, O&M (Operation and Maintenance) costs should be paid by users. cross your fingers if your taxes are not frozen!
Right now the Stagecoach WWTP does not have enough users! Businesses that wanted to connect were ignored by Brown and Foutz. Does nose and face ring a bell?
3. Vision: Reynolds sees a Main St. full of cars, tourist busses, but no blue outhouses ever again.
Reynolds sees a lit up Main St. and Royal St. with more nighttime visitors and neighbors strolling along from open restaurants to open shops.
Reynolds also sees more big name franchises on the Westside to benefit locals and I35 travelers.
And Reynolds still has a dream of a small mall on the West side with a movie theater, a bowling alley, or even a Table Tennis Club.
And when we vote on a new school bond, Reynolds dreams of a competitive size pool to provide college swimming scholarships for our students and a longer, healthier life for the entire community.