Salado Village Voice put the following questions to the candidates for Mayor. Early voting began on April 23. Election Day is May 5.
QUESTION 1: Do we have adequate police protection? If not, what can be done to improve police protection? 150 words
QUESTION 2: Does Village government help or hinder economic development? Explain how you will address this if elected. 200 words
QUESTION 3: Does the Village adequately address its road infrastructure? Can this be improved? If so, how? 200 words
QUESTION 1: For the current size of our Village, low crime rate and limited budget, I would say we have adequate Police protection. Could it be improved, of course, but that will require more financial resources. Salado citizens provide approximately $350,000 in direct property taxes to the Village budget each year. That just about pays for our current Police Department personnel and equipment maintenance. The remainder of the approximate $1,000,000 municipal budget is paid for by businesses. To improve on our police capabilities additional financial resources will need to be added. If Salado Citizen’s desire to increase police capabilities, then they must voice their desires through increasing Property Taxes or increasing our business base.
QUESTION 2: I believe that our current Village policies generally encourage economic development. Could they be improved, of course. Economic development is not static but needs to be constantly changing and adapting to the needs of consumers if we want positive healthy growth. Salado citizens are encouraged to participate in this planning process, even if it is only to express their positive suggestions. We have a wealth of knowledge in our citizens and the challenge is to tap those resources. We have the foundational tools for easier citizen input. We have a Village website and we need to use it to it’s full potential to inform our citizens and at the same time provide a vehicle for them to provide input via the same website. Our citizens have very busy lives and it is understandable that committing to attend committee meetings is not practical, but participation via email/web links is a possibility.
QUESTION 3: When our citizens understand how limited our Village budget is, then we are better able to adjust our expectations about our road infrastructure. Maintaining our current roadways is a costly process and as I mentioned earlier, all that cost is coming from Business’s (Sales tax, Franchise fees, Alcohol tax, other fees) contribution to our budget. With additional growth from residential and commercial development, this will begin to strain our current infrastructure and improvements and expansion will become necessary. Increased revenue into the Village budget will be needed or we will end up depleting our current Village reserves. This is not an impossible challenge, and I am confident that the citizens of Salado have unique and viable options to solving this problem. I want to tap into that pool of knowledge and provide the best options available so our Board of Aldermen can make sound, fact-based decisions.
QUESTION 1: Can you ever have ENOUGH POLICE PROTECTION? Public health and safety must be the highest priority of ANY municipality – Salado is no different and if elected, we will do better.
If the mayor closely supervises unsafe events in the village, she should be able to advise the BOA in decisions to increase the police presence.
A mayor must visit every business after the COPS patrol finds unlocked building doors. The unlocked businesses are an invitation to crime, just as much as unlocked homes and cars.
Right now, we must have a full police force 24/7, the COPS program, and county back up when needed.
If the Sanctuary/Wildfire area becomes low cost housing, the village may have to reevaluate the sense of security we all enjoy now.
By June, Wildfire buildings will be gone, and the land can become ANYTHING built by ANYONE for 45 years. And the Village MUST provide sewer and possibly more police protection.
QUESTION 2: Mayor Reynolds believes in progress for this Village!
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the person who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
We got SNOOKERED! Our Village government was taken to the cleaners by a slick AUSTIN Lawyer, and consequently skip, David Williams and Frank Coachman harmed economic development for 45 years.
In the EDA grant application for $1.5 million federal dollars, the village said that 2,500 jobs will be created within 3 years of the sewer being operational. We only have 2,300 population!
Skip, Dave Williams and Frank Coachman have halted development along West Village rd and the North side of the Village while they neglected their job to get this sewer done!
We have lost thousands of sales tax dollars while land and houses sit empty along West Village rd. Do you miss the Dairy Queen? Do you miss the Travel Mart and Burger King/Arby’s? Do you miss The Mansion? Do you miss the Stagecoach coffee shop or public pool? Do you miss easy access to The Chamber office?
Question 3: I start to understand why one bid for sewer lines was 2 million lower than other bids.
Once the destruction of Royal street is over, McClean does NOT HAVE TO REPAIR THE ROAD!! Just think what will happen to West Village rd., Thomas Arnold, Church st and Main st!
How do we pay to repair roads? The current government thinks you need to pay more property tax! In fact, skip, and Frank Coachman just voted to borrow another 2.3 million of the sewer bond!
After the election, you may get a rude awakening in your 2019 tax bill!
We need more sales tax! We need more village economic development to produce those sales taxes. And we need to keep the monthly sewer bills at a reasonable rate to keep business owners from giving up on Salado.
No one has even addressed what will happen to renters of houses and business buildings if monthly sewer bills are astronomical compared to our neighbors. The numbers will be released after the election!
Mayor Reynolds will give full time attention to make Salado Great Again!
QUESTION 1: No, however, we have the best Policemen who take their job seriously. The Village needs 2-additional policemen, better equipment, newer cars, additional training. We are constantly seeking grants and free money to buy equipment and police cars. The City budget is tight but progress is being made.
Citizens on Patrol (C.O.P.s), started last year by Larry Nathanson, is a great asset. Citizens train every last Monday of the month with Salado Police. They work 2-days monthly checking doors, cars, and driving the neighborhoods. (Approximately 20-businesses had unlocked doors.) Crime is down.
Speed bumps are a consideration. Another is the, Sheriff ’s Department but they are stretched, too. “Ghost cars” or unoccupied police cars parked in well-traveled areas are considered. Our Constable works closely with the Village.
Our Police are not responsible for the ETJ unless it is a dire emergency. The Sheriff’s Department has that responsibility.
QUESTION 2: Both. Economic Development will be embraced but controlled. Quality will not be traded for quick expansion. Therefore:
(1)Village Ordinances will continue to be updated or written to address QUALITY economic development that meets Citizens’ needs; protects Salado businesses; and compliments our history/culture;
(2)Overlays, like Westside, will be designed and developed to ensure the best possible plan for a healthy community;
(3)Town Halls will be held semi-annually to discuss the latest economic developments. The format: questions and answers;
(4)To attract Quality developments, property tax incentives will be considered for those entering city limits. However, sales tax will not be bargained.
(5)Salado cannot lose its special qualities that are known State-Wide such as Friendliness, Well-kept neighborhoods, Art and Academic intellect, Fairness, Safety, and Environment. These qualities are hallowed and will not be manipulated for economic development. There will be Developers who will work with the Village to enhance those qualities that make Salado unique and beautiful.
(6)Everyone cannot be pleased and economic development cannot be stopped. The Mayor must have excellent “people skills,” and know the art of negotiation. The BOA and you will do the rest.
QUESTION 3: This Village has an outstanding Roads Committee, Alderman McDougal, Chair. For the last two years, road repair was made. This Spring/Summer more road repaired is SCHEDULED because this Committee negotiated with Bell County. The agreement: the Village will pay for the material; the County will furnish the labor and machinery at no cost to the Village. The savings is over $50,000. This committee has a 5-year plan to improve all the roads in Salado limits, and they are on schedule. In addition, this Committee met with TxDoT and James Construction every Tuesday until I-35 Construction was completed.
The BOA hears a report from the Committee or discusses road repair frequently. They understand that property values are affected by road conditions. However, this Village operates on a million dollar budget that covers every expense accrued from salaries to bathroom supplies. Money is tight and limited.
Every road in the Village, not just Mill Creek, needs some kind of repair. The Pace Park Road is in serious need. As sales and property tax money increases so will road repair. Until then, we will stick with our plan and go forward every year.