1. What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing Stephenville?
One of the biggest challenges facing the city at this time is our aging infrastructure. We need to stop kicking the can down the road, and start fixing things. We now have the information to overlay maps of bad streets with the damaged underground sewer. We can prioritize projects worst first and prevent digging up newly repaired road due to a failed sewer line. This keeps the costs down for both projects.
Another important need is to recruit manufacturers to locate to our town and attract higher paying jobs. New higher paying jobs drive everyone's wages up and places more money in your pocket. We have a dedicated and motivated workforce within our community with much to offer prospective industry: an excellent school system, university and college, and friendly, small town values. Stephenville now finally has an “open for business” sign up.
2. Do you support an events center/multi-purpose facility? Why or why not?
I am strongly in favor of placing this decision in the hands of the voters. The citizens must be given all of the information as talk of this project moves forward by the “core group” of stakeholders. At the last council meeting, I asked what the property tax increase would be if the city budget expenditures grew by 1 or 2 million dollars of debt service on a loan and operational costs of an event center. This is not a trivial amount.
I do not support building a multi-million dollar center using city funds at this time for the following reasons: 1) The costs facing the city for infrastructure. 2) Other surrounding event centers do not operate in the black. 3) Moving forward is putting the cart way before the horse.
This is a hugely speculative project and no engineering plans exist at this time for it. It is a want - not a necessity - and cannot be compared to our urgent need for rehabilitated sewer lines.
3. What are your thoughts on the East Side Sewer Project?
We have applied for a grant with 30% loan forgiveness. We did not "sit and twiddle our thumbs" last year as my opponent incorrectly stated and miss this opportunity.
We DID apply, but the funds are limited and granted by a ranking system. The funds were depleted prior to our ranking in line and Stephenville was turned down. We reapplied this year and are currently in the vetting/ranking stage. The project does not repair any of the existing clay pipes failing infrastructure. TCEQ is going to expect us to start repairing those lines. It will be essential to have conservative members on council who will work to make the most cost effective decisions regarding that repair while still getting the job done. Therefore I am only in favor of phase 1 of the project which provides relief for 2 lines nearing capacity.
We have a lot to fix in Stephenville. My most important concern is that our basic priorities of water, sewer, and streets get taken care of as cost effectively as possible.
4. How long have you lived in Stephenville and what clubs/organizations are you a part of?
I have lived in Stephenville for nearly 30 years. My family had been coming to visit for many years before that. When the location became available, we opened Santa Fe County Taco Company.
We were so very blessed by our customers as we have been in business since May of 1988. I donate to the Fine Arts Council; I also donate my entire council pay to the Erath County Humane Society. Santa Fe supports many charitable events and silent auctions and donations in our community and schools.
5. Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?
My experience running an independent small business, the necessity to constantly do more with less, is good preparation for being on the council. I have supported cutting costs while setting aside 1 million and 700,000 dollars respectively the last two years to repair roads.
I have voted for tax decreases and am very aware that the tax money was hard earned by the citizens from whom it came and should be spent as wisely and as respectfully as it deserves.
I have seen how past council decisions have burdened the city for years going forward. The most notorious example of this is the Proctor Water vote where the council overrode the citizens' wishes, and burdened the city with not only the millions in bond debt, but the additional water payment that started out around 35,000 a year and has grown to be close to 250,000 dollars a year...money that could have paved streets, drilled wells, and fixed sewers. Electing the right people makes all the difference; their decisions can affect your life long after they are no longer on the council.
If you want a conservative who will protect your money, I sincerely ask for your vote for Sherry Zachery in Place 7. It is an honor to serve you.