Questions & Answers
Q: How have you changed since the first time you ran against former Mayor, Doug Gaul?
A: In 2019, I came barreling onto the scene and turned-off many ears with my direct approach. In my naivety, I underestimated the power of perception being louder than truth and although I was honest, the noise silenced my message. Now, I make an effort to separate my feelings as much as possible when explaining the awakenings of community interest, to allow others the opportunity to come to their own conclusions from the facts presented.
Q: What is the purpose of the City Council? In other words what is the job/responsibility of the City Council?
A: It is our duty as citizens be active in our democracy by electing representation who will facilitate municipal governmental functions of balancing the budget, creating reasonable policies, and management of one employee, the City Manager. The duty of Council is to uphold the laws of the land, represent the best interests of the people, establish the standards of a unified vision, respect boundaries, and hold accountable those who fall short of the expectations. The responsibility of Council is to provide complete answers to their constituents.
Q: If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
A: This question threw me for a loop because the chances of it being an actuality are low. Grants are not usually for an amount this high, are matched by the City, and for a specific project. For fun, if Hutto had $1M dropped in the bank, I'd lobby to spend $500K toward the general fund, $300K to reserves, and $200K to parks for recreational activities.
Q: In your opinion, what are Hutto's greatest strength and weakness?
A: Our greatest strength is geographical desirability and our biggest weakness is balancing new growth while continuing to provide services and maintenance on infrastructure.
Q: If elected, how do you plan on balancing growth and provide services?
A: Growth is exploding but with untrained staff, misappropriated funds, litigation delays, and corrupt leadership, the City has been feverishly correcting mistakes which caused the financial crisis while struggling to catch-up on neglected infrastructure services we couldn’t afford to fix. Now that the City is no longer hemorrhaging money, bond projects are moving forward, and new development is paying their fair share of impact fees, we are going to see a healthier fund balances during this budget season. I would like to see capital improvement projects prioritized using a decision making matrix in conjunction with pavement analysis and recent water studies. We’ve come a long way from the money-pit of a water deal we once had and can focus on forecasting the pace of capacities. Fiber internet will make Hutto’s bedroom community more appealing by allowing the potential of home-based work opportunities. We must also prepare for the adverse impact of growth by connecting with social service organizations which connect people with programs like employment coaching/job fairs, ride-share, mental health counseling, child care, summer programs, and big brother/big sister.
Q: There’s a variety of interpretations of what is considered appropriate which leads to a perceived lack of transparency. What are your thoughts?
A: Government does not have the authority to determine what is “good” or “bad” for the People to know. It is the duty of elected officials to proactively provide the public with comprehensive information of the subject matter. In the past we have seen records blocked from being released, vocal citizens gaslit at the podium and their character tarnished in our social culture for speaking-out against the malfeasance that almost sank the City. Transparency to me means that truth is available and freedom of speech is protected. One idea for improvement is an online message board, monitored in compliance with OMA regulations, where all of City Council can comment on topics outside of regularly scheduled meetings to answer questions as a body, clear-up any misinformation, and listen to the concerns important to the taxpayers.
Q: Do you foresee a need to increase taxes in order to provide those services or do you believe it is possible to provide some or all of those services without an increase in taxes?
A: From the financial reports and actions we’ve seen following the crisis of 2020, spending has been curbed and we’ve regained fund balances, which has allowed for the no new revenue rate we saw last/this year. The income from developmental impact fees will help to fund capital improvement projects, to be discussed during budget season, but it’ll take a bit of time to build-up the ad valorem and sales taxes generated from new commercial growth. Since we’re already behind on major infrastructural improvements because our bond money was misappropriated and we were lied to about the 11 cents, selling more bonds will take financial finesses. I’d need to compare our priorities with economic feasibility before being able to thoroughly answer your question but I’m willing to go line item by line item, separating needs from wants, to provide public services while saving us all money.