Salado Village Voice put the following questions to the candidates for the Village of Salado Board of Aldermen. Their answers are below:
Question 1: Other than infrastructure and population growth, what is the most critical issue facing the Village of Salado? How is the Village handling this issue? Is there anything the Village can do better? (200 words)
Question 2: Do you support the Village negotiations with Sanctuary? Why or why not? (200 words)
Question 3: Do you support the partnership of the Salado Chamber of Commerce and Village of Salado Tourism Department? Why or why not? (200 words)
Question 1: To me, the most critical issue facing Salado is our ability to keep a vibrant business environment in the historical district of Salado. Our historical past, mixed with the eclectic feel of our downtown, is what attracts people from all over the country to come and enjoy what we have to offer. In that vein, I think we need to create a number of new events so that we always have a steady stream of people visiting our village and spending their money in our local shops, restaurants, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. This, along with a new Main Street project, will generate increased appeal to tourists and our local citizens alike.
Question 2: I totally support the Village negotiations with The Sanctuary, because we do not need to have a separate community to the south of our Village. We have the opportunity to be all-inclusive, which offers great benefits to Salado as we gain sales tax and property tax. That, in turn, allows our local government to have additional financial resources to repair roads, improve our parks, and enhance the overall appeal of our community. This also give us the ability to put in the sewer on Main street and the west side, in a much shorter time frame.
Question 3: I support the partnership of the Salado Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Salado Tourism Department. I strongly believe that having two organizations that plan and implement events that benefit our village will have a much greater impact than each going their own separate ways. Tourism’s job is to bring tourists to town to spend their money in our shops, restaurants, and lodging facilities. The Chamber’s job is to build a vibrant business community. The partnership provides a total coordination to make Salado more appealing to both businesses and visitors.
I believe that there are two very important issues currently facing the Village. The first is getting new businesses to settle here in Salado (economic development). It is my understanding that the Salado Chamber of Commerce has created a Committee or Team to address this issue. We currently have businesses closing and we need new business to come in and fill those voids. It is believed by many that the sewer system will help to bring both businesses and tourists to the Village. The main street project will also help with this issue. The other issue that I see is preserving the Village’s History. At present to my knowledge there is no active committee from the Chamber/Tourism to assist with this issue. The Salado Historic Society is basically powerless when it comes to preserving the Villages History. The preservation efforts are at the whims of the Zoning Committee which seldom, if ever, confers with the preservation societies in their decision making.
Question 2: Since the BOA has voted to resume negotiations with the Sanctuary I will support those negotiations. I will however oppose issues in the negotiations that I feel are not in the best interest of the Village. I think it is well past the time when our Village citizens have a right to know and hear what the Aldermen are hearing during these negotiations. After all they will pay the bill. I personally have never met the two people that are in charge of the Sanctuary Project. It might be helpful for the negotiations if there was a face to face meeting with the negotiators instead of all negotiation commentary coming by way of paperwork from the Mayor or the Mayor Pro-Tem to the board. My opinion is that all negotiations should be held with legal representation present for both sides. If counsel was present during the negotiations we would not have to wait for our attorneys comments and things would move ahead much faster.
Question 3: Yes, I support the Partnership with the Chamber and Tourism. It is way too early to say whether this Partnership will be successful as it has only been in place officially since January of this year. Also all staff was not in place until after January. This is a very unique merger since it is the first in the State of Texas to combine these entities in a true partnership, putting the Chamber/tourism under the city government. I believe that it will be two years before any real decisions can be made as to how effective this partnership is or will ultimately be. The executive committee has only met once and I am certain that the committee will do all possible to support and bolster the organization. I believe that it will be successful as long as the two entities are able to work effectively together so that both benefit equally.
Question 1: One of the most precious assets of our Village would be our downtown shopping opportunities. My view is that the Village Board should continue to place major emphasis on solidifying a primary reason that has attracted thousands of visitors to the Village in the past and will continue to do so, if promoted and marketed in good taste. Our Historical value is well established and should be highly promoted. Paramount in doing so is to increase tourism with rock solid marketing practices. This, coupled with continuing and enhancing the Main Street project, will create a better revenue position for our merchants and to the overall fiscal base of the Village. This is an extremely critical initiative that is certainly a primary ingredient for the positive future of our community.
Question 2: I absolutely support current negotiations with the Sanctuary Development Company. Negotiations are always more prudent when one has more than one option to pursue. The Sanctuary provides the Village with a third option for fulfilling the positive November bond election.
The values of the Sanctuary plan appear to be that it provides a more timely sewage initiation-completion time. In addition, it would provide more variety of housing, retail, and entertainment opportunities. Further, it would broaden the tax base which contributes to a moderate tax structure for all Village residents, and although a $10.5 million bond was approved, the Sanctuary appears in line to be less costly than the other options.
Question 3:I do support the newly established partnership of the Chamber of Commerce and the Village Tourism Department. My reasons for support are that they now have a consolidated budget which avoids duplication and will save tax dollars. Single direction is provided to the Executive Director which avoids duplicate directives. Further, the two groups have established one action plan that is in place and provides a better road map for success.
My final view is that this partnership provides a healthy environment that will enhance all facets of the community. It allows professional personnel the opportunity to plan, as a single unit, in order to provide a most laudatory Village that we all will be proud of.
Question 1: The Village of Salado has many challenges to contend with. In my opinion, completing the administrative foundation for the Village is of great importance. The Mayor, BOA and the Village Administrator have come a long way in putting administrative processes into place. This is a very time consuming and lengthy process and must be completed as soon as possible. All our efforts and planning toward improvement of Salado will be delayed if the administrative foundation is not fully in place to execute those programs.
Question 2: I support any negotiations with anyone who may contribute to providing value to the Village of Salado. In order to make the best decisions the BOA needs to have as much information as possible within given time constraints.
Question 3: I support this partnership. We have a vested interest in working together to continue to bring value to the Village of Salado. Tourism should support business, and business should support tourism.
Editor’s note: Election Day is Saturday May 9 at the Salado Civic Center, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. All of the Candidate Profiles and the questions and answers sessions can be found on saladovillagevoice.com.