Three candidates are vying for election as Mayor of the Village of Salado. Election day is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. May 7 at the Salado Civic Center. Salado Village Voice has featured profiles of the candidates along with weekly questions and answers. Those can be found online at saladovillagevoice.com. This week, we put these questions to 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: It is important for citizens to understand that Ordinances and Resolutions exist to support the bringing about of the Village Comprehensive Plan. Every new or amendment to our ordinances should reflect the furtherance of those goals established by the citizens of Salado in the Comprehensive Plan. The Plan should drive processes and not the other way around. The Subdivision ordinance provides sufficient guidelines for developers who wish to develop property within the Village limits. Section 6.7: Maintenance and Guarantee of Public Improvements and Section 8.1: Enforcement; Violations; Penalties provide the basis for acceptance of a subdivision by the Village and procedures to enforce said ordinance. We have ordinances and various Texas codes that outline other areas of property maintenance. Enforcement of these directives should be accomplished within the resources available.
Question 2: The zoning ordinance has stood the Village well for many years. Recent annexations and introduction of a wastewater system will change the face of zoning for future annexed property and appropriate changes and updates to the Village Comprehensive Plan and to the Zoning Ordinance will need to be incorporated. I stress again that the Comprehensive Plan should drive changes and not developers. Enforcement of these codes and ordinances should be accomplished within the resources available.
Question 3: Animal control is a dual city and citizen responsibility. We all know the deer population is a problem. The fact of the matter is it is estimated to be $250 cost per deer to remove. The studies completed by the Village indicated we would need to remove 300 deer per year just to keep the current levels from increasing. More would need to be removed if we want to lower the existing population levels. The math is simple: $250 X 300 = $75,000 will need to be raised each year to manage this challenge. I’m not one to place this burden on property tax increases. It is my opinion that this does not fairly share the citizen burden to manage the animal population. I would have you consider an Animal Control fee. There are estimated to be 2,000 residents in the Village of Salado. If each resident paid a yearly $37.50 Animal Control fee to the Village we would raise the $75,000 needed to fund this project. You could also look at from the number of occupied homes in Salado Village. In 2017 the total was 929. That would be $80.73 per household per year. Together we can move forward.
Question 4: First and foremost, I’m a Marine and proud of it. Marines get things done. Electing me is hope for change. That starts with internal changes in transparency, information availability, citizen education and a full-time Mayor to serve the citizens of Salado.
Question 1: Our “leaders” have led us to Economic Development stagnation, while clearly trying to kill much of the existing village’s sales tax base.
And if a builder is really smart, they negotiate to have no rules, oversight or controls like the Sanctuary and Stagecoach. Anything can be built on the Sanctuary land and Mr. Lyda does not have to put sprinklers in the renovated Stagecoach.
The Subdivision Ordinance is meaningless, since every developer makes side deals and obtains variances for anything including fire safety rules!
Skip, Dave Williams and Frank Coachman signed agreements with both the Sanctuary and the Stagecoach which gives developers the right to inspect themselves!
As mayor, I would hope to see the Subdivision Ordinance firmly upheld or revised.
If we do not hold developers to high quality, future residents will pay the price. Just look at what happened to the nearby neighborhood after Hidden Glen was built.
Right now, a developer is negotiating for a project at the Wildfire where buildings are being torn down.
Will a developer request variances to our Subdivision Ordinance? If “Windmill Estates” is willing to be annexed, the Subdivision Ordinance disappears with skip, Dave Williams and Frank Coachman “leading.”
Question 2: A large development just to the northwest should have been welcomed into the village and offered sewer.
Instead, our government tied us to empty land on the South and East side which has become undeveloped with the destruction of Wildfire.
Businesses that contributed to the village for years and deserve to be part of phase One sewer, have been ignored with promises of “phase Two”.
The Zoning Ordinance was totally ignored by skip, Dave Williams and Frank Coachman as they signed the Sanctuary deal:
A deal which included changing 3+ acres near College Hill in the Historical District zoning to Commercial.
When anyone brings up overlay, be prepared for zoning changes.
An overlay might protect development, but it is more likely to be used by those who want to see zoning changes in both the Historical District or in residential (not their own) neighborhoods.
If the village does not “overlay” the 3+ acres near College Hill from Historical District to Commercial, Hanks jr/Sulaski can disannex.
That contract was agreed to by skip, Dave Williams and Frank Coachman.
Eminent Domain continues to be a zoning threat with both the Sanctuary and Stagecoach agreements.
Question 3: Dr. Amber worked and worked to do “something” about the deer issue. After more than two years of petitions, forums, committee meetings, Mike McDougal set aside $10,000 to do “something” about the problem.
Then the Alderman told the deer committee to do something, but don’t spend money!
Recently the village spent over $1,000 mailing and collating property owners a survey.
Tax payers lost/the deer won.
What to do?
Don’t feed them.
Don’t drive fast.
Do support my plan for a letter writing campaign to state government and Buckley/Cosper and Brown/Whitson.
After taxes and schools, the great State of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department must make a plan for the entire state.
Question 4: I live in the village. I don’t owe anyone money, and I don’t owe anyone favors.
When I enter office, I will have two 11 year old cars and when I leave office, I will have two 13 year old cars. I will work full time for the village and be available to listen to everyone’s concerns.
If I disagree with you, I will argue. If you convince me, I will change my mind.
I will respect everyone who comes to speak to the BOA, and I will send a sincere “ThankYou” for your participation at BOA meetings.
And you will be able to hear everything….no mumbling allowed!
I will not ask you for money, nor will I waste your money.
I will not ask you to buy your own road, and I will not disrespect any neighborhoods. I will not break any law and start any rumor to cover up my failures. I know how to say:
I was wrong…..and….
You are right!
I will diligently ensure that residents questions and concerns will be openly discussed, and any document I sign, will be posted immediately for all to praise, mock or Harrumph loudly at over coffee the next day!
I will serve all the Village of Salado openly and honestly.
Question 1: Ordinances drive the Village Government. Many BOA decisions are made on Ordinance Content. Good decisions require accurate facts.
The problem is two-fold:
(1)Many Ordinances are outdated. This is 2018. Ordinances have changed since incorporation. Research, legal guidance, and citizen’s input are necessary in writing new, effective Ordinances. A solid foundation is required or risk being sued.
Subdivision Ordinances need changing. Wider Streets and sidewalks should be required for residential developments.
(2)There is no Police Officer appointed to enforce Ordinances. In our present-day environment, the Village cannot expect or order an untrained and unprotected person to enforce Ordinances.
Updating Ordinances requires a dedicated committee working with our City Administration. It is a major undertaking that requires time, commitment, and balanced thinking. Effective Ordinances will help secure Salado’s future. If you want to help, please contact our City Administrator, Don Ferguson, 947-5060.
The Ordinance/Code Enforcer should be a Policeman. We have 5 Policemen. Each stands a shift alone. Salado may be small, but it is busy.
A qualified Code Enforcement Police Officer is needed. When not enforcing Ordinances, he/she can assist the duty Police Officer.
It will cost to keep Salado a quality, outstanding Village.
Question 2: Do you accurately know the business, residential, or historical zones? Do you know the Ordinances for each?
Many guess, listen to others expound with “I think,” “Maybe” or “I have been told.”
I am one who does not know exactly where the boundaries are.
Probably 95 percent of Salado citizens do not know. The present Boundaries and Ordinances were written when times were different. Are they still relevant and/or legal?
Looking at Historical Zoning.
Most citizens want Salado to maintain its Historical ambiance and look? What exactly does that mean? What requires a building to look or be historical? What is acceptable in the Zone? The Historical District has an active Historical Committee with their own regulations. Are their decisions final and, if so, should not the Committee also be responsible for enforcing them?
Finally who has precedence, the Historical Committee, the Zoning Committee or the BOA?
An effective solution is possible if the Historical Committee, the City Administrator, and BOA representatives work together in reaching an agreement for an Ordinance that addresses all the issues. The same is true for the Business and Residential Zoning. If not there is going to be constant friction that leads to power struggles and a divided Salado.
Question 3: In January, the BOA sent a survey to citizens asking what should be done, if anything, on the deer population. The results:
503 returned (46% returned)
1. Do you believe there is an overpopulation of deer in Salado?
2. Do you believe that Salado should attempt to control the deer population?
3 What is the method best used to control deer
4. Are you aware that there is a $125-fine for feeding deer?
5. Will you be willing to raise taxes to control deer?
Strong majority believes there is an over population of deer.
A keen interest in controlling deer.
How to control is the question.
Most people know there is a feeding deer fine.
Majority do not want taxes raised to control population.
BOA should raise the deer issue, again.
Research and talk to experts concerning best way to control the population.
Determining how will be difficult and controversial.
Start enforcing feeding Ordinance.
No new taxes; money must come elsewhere.
The BOA will take up the issue this summer.
Question 4: Four years of experience “walking through the fire” of construction, sewer and water treatment issues, dis-annexation, Police reconstruction, Sanctuary, and multitudes of other problems/issues.
Not quitting or returning evil for evil, took cruel and untrue gossip, criticism and newspaper editorials without retaliation. Always overcoming impossible issues.
Instead of blaming federal, state and county officials; networking to make quality friends and allies who came forward making things happen.
Making Events, ribbon cuttings, funerals, fund-raisers, and meetings. When my job did not allow, I asked someone to represent us.
In 4 years, never missed chairing a Board of Aldermen/Lady meeting.
Making difficult and painful decisions in dismissing employees.
Meeting with individuals; working out differences/issues.
Working closely with a tremendous BOA. They are progressive, love Salado, and give their time and resources.
Visiting all Salado churches and worshiping with wonderful people.
Making snow cones for Lions Club and Fudge for Women’s Auxiliary. All money given to them.
Most hurtful: criticism for being a minister, a Christian, and called “Jesus and His Disciples” and being accused of taking money, cars, and kickbacks for favors. Never would I, not even a free ticket.
People ask, “Why did you want to punish yourself by running, again. And, why did you take so long to decide? It was not for ego/status. I make mistakes and do not walk on water. All I have is given to you, but if you decide a change is needed, so be it. You will make the right decision. Salado always does.