2021 San Marcos City Council questionnaire

City Council candidates were given a week by the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce to answer the following questions. Please note that all answers from the candidates are unedited by the Chamber and posted as they were submitted by the candidate.

1. Please describe any qualifications and past job experience that has prepared you to serve effectively as a Councilmember of San Marcos?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"I am currently serving as your Place 5 Councilmember. I have served as both Chair and Vice Chair of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.  I am a father to a newborn son, Declan as well as a homeowner and resident for over 20 years.  I am a past member of the Neighborhood Commission and the Capital Improvement Task Force (bond committee), and a flood survivor of the floods of 2015.  I have knowledge and first-hand experience with these and other issues facing our community. I have management experience running multiple retail, distribution, and delivery businesses around our city."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I am the only city council candidate that was born and raised in San Marcos and that has four generations of family roots here, so I would like the community to know that my heart and intentions are to preserve a city that I have called home my entire life. I currently serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission where I have learned how city packets, agendas, and meetings work. I have a thorough understanding of what it takes to be well studied, talk to the community about development issues, and understanding the land development code. I plan to take this experience, in combination with me serving on other various boards and commissions, and all of the community involvement and engagement that I am a part of, with me to city council, which I truly believe makes me prepared to serve effectively as a Councilmember of San Marcos."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Served before on the San Marcos City Council from 2010-2016 and as an Infantryman in the Iraq War. Currently, I’m employed as the Hays County Veteran Service Officer."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I have two degrees in Geography, a bachelors in Urban Geography from Prairie View A&M University and a Master’s in Environmental Geography from Indiana University-Bloomington. I have taught geography classes from human to physical geography at the college and university level for 14 years and I am currently a High School English Teacher, in charge of 9th Grade English 1. I have also been a Reading Comprehension Teacher. I served on the Ethics Review Commission from 2016-2018 and then City Council from 2018-2020. I currently sit on the boards of the Calaboose African American Museum and KZSM Community Radio. Communication in all areas of people activity and at all age cohorts, as well as the geography of cities and environment, have been my business for decades."

2. What do you believe are the two most pressing concerns currently affecting business in San Marcos and what will you do to correct/overcome them?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"The pandemic and shutdowns have created many challenges for our businesses in San Marcos and across the country.  With the downturn of the economy, we need to support our businesses and promote tourism.  We have so many events that are uniquely San Marcos like Sights and Sounds, Mermaid Promenade, Concert in the Park, Arts Squared, the airshow, and farmer’s market.  Our city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mainstreet program can utilize these events along with COVID recovery funds to invite in visitors who will spend money in our community. Businesses have faced staffing shortages which have put an additional strain on business owners and staff. We can work with our local partners such as the Chamber, Texas State University, and SMCISD to host job fairs to promote employment opportunities."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I believe the two most pressing concerns currently affecting business in San Marcos is COVID-19 recovery and over regulation. Many small business owners here in town have told me how tough it has been to financially recover from a global pandemic, and when a business tries to make a change to help them stay afloat or recover that over reglation from the city has got in the way. I have seen small local businesses close their doors because of the pandemic, yet the city could have done more. One way to help these small local businesses not shut down is by prioritizing them and working with the small business owners to make sure we aren’t over regulating them to the point where they cant prosper. Small businesses employ majority of our city, so I believe we should do all that we can to make sure they thrive and grow."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Public Safety and Housing affordability are the two most important issues the San Marcos City Council can help businesses with. We need to support our first responders and their difficult and dangerous work. Housing affordability needs regulator pathways and not roadblocks."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"The most pressing concern affecting business in San Marcos is the dearth of an adequate workforce during the pandemic. There are many reasons why people have been loath to find employment in certain businesses, including many service industry and front-line businesses. Some of these reasons include expanded unemployment (which has since ended), fear of exposure to Covid-19 and a lack of willingness to work for low wages. The second most pressing concern affecting business in San Marcos is a lack of multiple large-scale job opportunities that could lead to the  employment of all ranges of middle-class aspirants. With the current tech and industry boom occurring in Austin and up and down the I35 Corridor I will work closely with the GSMP to introduce appropriate and forward-thinking employers to San Marcos and also seek to support businesses in their ability to offer their employees living wages, thereby bringing them back to the job market and as close to full employment as possible."

3. Do you perceive there to be a gap between the city and our business community?  If so, how do you suggest the city bridge the gap and enhance cooperation between citizens, businesses, and city government?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"It is the job of city officials who are both elected and employed to partner with the local business community on issues of importance. The Chamber of Commerce provides a significant network and voice for businesses. The Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) plays a valuable role in promoting economic development.  I have experience managing businesses around the city and as a chamber member. I would listen to the needs of the local business community, integrate promotion resources, and encourage improved communication between all parties."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I do perceieve there to be a gap between the city and our business community. I have seen this through my work that I have done on the Planning and Zoning Commission with Conditional Use Permits (C.U.P.s), where certain restrictions and amendments are tacked on to businesses which will only harm and affect their business in a negative way. I do not think the city should make it harder for small buisnesses to recover after a pandemic made it so difficult for businesses to stay above the water. I suggest that the city bridge the gap by not only fostering business success by advertising businesses on a public scale but by talking and interacting with these businesses throughout the year and not only when permit renewal or CUP renewal comes up."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"There is a gap with some in our community, but working with civic organizations, and business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce helps close those gaps."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I don’t think there is a gap between the city and the business community. The GSMP and the Chamber of Commerce have worked closely with the city and, in particular, the Planning Department and other city entities for years. In fact, it can truthfully be said that there has been a close relationship between business interests and city government, traditionally speaking. Where there may currently be a gap is in the desires of some interests to expand business and development opportunities in San Marcos without regard for greater planning needs and the imperatives of a sustainable future. The needs of capital and the needs of the environment don’t have to be polar ends of a spectrum. To the contrary, they should be unitary and city and business interests should coincide since we all want what is best for the COSM."

4. What can the City do to encourage existing business growth and new business attraction?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"I would continue to work with Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) to attract new businesses which provide good salaries and benefits.  City government should reach out to companies that the city would like to bring here instead of just waiting until a company shows an interest in us."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I believe that the City should not be so restrictive on exisiting businesses so that they can experience growth when possible. When it comes to attracting new businesses, I believe what it takes is strong, proactive, and consistent economic leadership. This will require a councilmember who isn’t afraid to bring a business to the table and then be willing to negotiate terms and conditions. This will take councilmember(s) being willing to negotiate and partnering with the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Chamber of Commerce to work together to bring new, good paying jobs/businesses to our town. San Marcos continues to lose good paying jobs/businesses to surrounding cities such as Kyle and Buda, so we must ensure we have strong economic leadership on the council so that we are doing everything we can to bring good paying jobs to town."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Support organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the GSMP."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"The city can and should offer more incentives to local small businesses, on the scale of those incentives often offered to larger corporations that seek to locate here. We can offer property tax incentives, business expansion incentives by way of limited wage reimbursements,  retention incentives that seek to support business interests in recruitment and interconnection with other businesses in town. We could also add incentives for saving energy and put programs in place that offer rebates and reward businesses that move toward environmental sustainability. The GSMP is already very effective at introducing new businesses to San Marcos. What we can do to facilitate that is add certain foci to our search for appropriate businesses to relocate here. A focus upon biotechnology, for instance, might be one such area of interest. Since we are such a vibrant and environmentally attractive region, companies that seek forward-thinking cities that would work with them to build the world of the future would find a welcoming home here in the COSM."

5. Do you feel the relationship between the City and the University is strong?  If not, what do you suggest should be done to correct this deficiency?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"I would encourage collaborative efforts between the City of San Marcos and Texas State University for parking solutions, alternative modes of transportation, and joint economic development partnerships including promotion and communication.  I would encourage Chamber members such as small business owners and city staff representatives such as Neighborhood Services and Code Enforcement to attend University employee orientation for new staff and students at the start of each semester."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I do not feel that the relationship between the City and the University is strong. I hear many people in the community and who work for the City say that they do not believe the University is doing their part in helping keep San Marcos clean, safe, and beautiful. A way I believe we can correct this deficiency is by having a Univeristy-City coalition or committee where the two come together and build relationships and have discussions on issues both groups experience. The Univeristy is a big part of this city, so we need a strong and solid relationship with them to ensure everyone in our community is doing their part."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"It's not as strong as it should be, but Texas State is a great asset to our community and I plan to strengthen those partnerships."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"The relationship between the city and the university is strong and has a firm historical basis of mutual respect. Being a sovereign entity, the university is on equal footing with the city. As two such bodies, the city and the university must communicate clearly and with as much transparency as possible regarding issues of mutual interest, such as the development of properties that lie within the city’s territorial jurisdiction. Continuing, strong communication and an agreement about the mutuality of interest in maintaining the COSM as a vibrant and forward-thinking locus and hearth that would support the university’s intention of becoming a Tier 1 Research Institution and the city’s potential intention of itself hosting next-phase environmental and technological business incubation would be to the mutual benefit of both town and gown."

6. What improvements do you believe are needed for adequate transportation infrastructure in San Marcos?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"Parking and transportation issues continue to cause concern for many citizens and business owners.  We need to finish road projects around the city in a timely manner.  I support the interlocal agreement we are working on with Texas State University to integrate our bus services.  Bike lanes and sidewalks around the city are important safety related infrastructure investments for those who cycle or walk. We need to listen to the recommendations of our parking advisory committee to find solutions to these problems including integration of our bus services and the possibility of adding a downtown parking garage.  With that said, I am not in favor of paid parking on our streets."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"There many improvements that are needed for adequate increased transporation infrastrcure in San Marcos. First, we must allocate and dedicate more funds to public transporation as we continue to see more and more traffic and congestion on our roads and highways. This means not only more vehicles but more routes to all areas of town and at convenient times so more people can have a steady mass transit option to and from work. Secondly, which is tied to the first reasoning, is access. Many people do not have public transporation that reaches them in a reasonable distance. We must ensure equitable access for all residents of San Marcos. Lastly, we need to continue to prioritize multi-modal transporation in a walkable, bikeable, driveable, and mass transit option San Marcos."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"More regional transportation projects with CAPCOG and better coordination between CARTS and the Texas State."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"The focus on making certain that sidewalks become ubiquitous particularly in and around downtown San Marcos is important as well as dependent upon neighborhood input. The current transition of the bus systems CARTS and the University Bus, into a unitary and free busing system is well underway and will assist in making public transportation a viable and accessible benefit to all citizens and visitors to the COSM. Working in tandem with TXDOT, continuing improvements to the access roads for I35 as well as walkability and bikeability between both sides of San Marcos must continue. Improvements to all roads, to include standardizing the bike lanes and making certain that new parking does not impede traffic, is mandatory."

7. As a Councilmember you will be responsible for approving the annual budget, please describe your approach to the budget process and list one thing you would change from the FY 2021 approved budget.
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"I think it’s important to publicize the initiation of the budget process and encourage citizens with concerns to attend the budget workshops and/or send their written comments to the council every January for the up-coming budget.  I want a collaborative process with city staff to help establish budget priorities. The departments know their own needs best. It’s very important that we spend the necessary funds to make long term solutions to flood mitigation a priority in our budget. Improving infrastructure for stormwater runoff is another priority many established neighborhoods around the city need urgently.  With our growing population in mind, our police, fire, EMS, and emergency services should be prioritized."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"The City has a budget of over 250 million dollars, and we need to make sure that each dollar is being well spent and getting used appropriately. My approach will be the same approach I had earlier this year with the Capitol Improvement Projects (CIP) that came before the Planning and Zoning Commission. I took each item and questioned its priority, its benefit to the community, and if there was anyway to cut costs when possible. I questioned staff and departments on items as we were proposing millions of dollars for some projects. I plan to bring this same approach when I am elected as a councilmember. One thing I would change from the FY2021 approved budget is that I would have allocated more funds for affordable housing solutions and subsidies."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Adding more 9-11 Emergency dispatchers, Patrol Officers and Mental Health Officers to the San Marcos Police Department."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"Our current budget shows increases in the General Fund budget, driven by $887.5K to sworn Fire and Police as agreed upon in the FY19 Meet and Confer, there were also contracted service increases and support to transit operations with an increase of $650K as well. We added additional staff, including a Veterinarian and some communication specialists. There was a capital outlay and one-time expensive of $800K and an effective 5% rate increase in Electric for residential customers to offset the dissolution of TIRZ #2. We also saw a stormwater rate adjustment of 8.5% and an increase in garbage contract of 4%. Our debt service increased by $1.2M as well as other capital outlay additions for specific and necessary purchases. Under the leadership of our City Manager Bert Lumbreras and a capable and effective city staff, our city has fared quite well in comparison to other municipalities during the pandemic. My approach to the budget is to seek to minimize increases as much as possible while maintaining necessary city functions. While on council, I endeavored to embody this philosophy and was successful in doing so, in tandem with city staff and council members. This year’s budget totals $259,813,384.00, which was a $1.1M increase from 2020-21, represents the balancing of a budget during a difficult time not only for the COSM but for the world."

8. Do you think the City property tax rate is too high, about right, too low? Please explain what you would do differently.
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"There has been a significant increase in land costs, home prices, and appraisals over the last few years in our city and region.  We need to do everything we can to help citizens, especially those on fixed incomes, stay in their homes. That’s why I supported implementing a Homestead Exemption for all homeowners and an expansion of the over 65 Homestead Exemption.  This will bring meaningful tax relief to citizens who live here and own their homes as well as future homeowners.  As appraisals go up, we can continue the expansion on the Homestead Exemption or lower the tax rate to offset the additional increases in appraisals."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"The City property tax rate is too high, and my opponent actually just voted last month to increase the city property tax rate and utility rate. Admist a global pandemic, where people have lost their jobs and livliyhoods and small businesses have shutdown, I do not believe it’s a reasonable or responsible action to increase taxes. Not only did a global pandemic cause economic inseciruty and hardship on so many people, but people are not seeing their wages rise at the same rate as taxes and property valuations are rising. What this in turn does is effectively tax and price people out of their homes and ultimately of this city. We should not be doing this and I would not vote for any increase of taxes if I am elected to city council."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Folks in fixed incomes struggle to stay in their homes because of property taxes and we must always be aware of those when our city sets its Tax rate."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I think property taxes are getting higher for some folks who can’t afford it while they are just right for others or even too low for still others. I think it is dependent upon the neighborhood that we live in and factors beyond our city, to include national and state trends of migration and the availability of housing stock. Since we live in such a desirable location, we find ourselves in the position of being a small town grown large, quickly, with no end in sight. As a result, our continuing need to provide housing stock for folks moving into town continues to add new construction throughout the COSM as well as in our ETJ. For those who require assistance with their property taxes, the COSM should endeavor to provide them with such, to include homestead exemptions for the disabled and elderly where applicable."

9. A major issue facing San Marcos is housing availability, in particular, the lack of affordable housing for our community workforce.  What are your thoughts on this issue? Include actions you would support.
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"The extreme growth in our region has placed pressure on our home and rental market. We need to do everything we can to bring additional housing and rental stock to the community while protecting our existing neighborhoods and the environment and keeping people in the homes they already own.  We need to work with the tools provided in the Land Development Code to provide more housing and afford developers the flexibility for different types of housing.  I have supported some of these projects and new developments based on appropriateness of the proposed location.  We need to do everything we can to keep people in their homes by finishing infrastructure improvements in a timely fashion such as flood mitigation, stormwater drainage, and transportation projects in existing neighborhoods."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"Well, this is the number one issue of my campaign so to put it into 150 words is going to be tough. In short, it is troubling that 72% of our community rents and the median single-family detached house price jumped from $268,000 to $280,000 in just one year because I don’t know a single person’s income that has risen at that same rate. We also have a community that has 51% of our residents making less than $35,000 which means they will never be able to own and will have to rent their entire life. What we need is more missing middle options, more density where appropriate, and responsible infill development. In addition, we HAVE to increase our housing stock because the historic low levels are what is hyperinflating prices and values and making it so hard for people to get into homes."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"I would support implementing some of the recommendations from the San Marcos Housing Task Force."

Mark Rockymoore, Place 6

"Missing middle housing as well as more affordable housing, both single-family and multiplex oriented are solutions that I support as long as they occur in locations, neighborhoods that are amenable to such shifts. The Neighborhood Character Districts should allow neighborhood councils to decide what kinds of additions they would like to see in their neighborhoods. When I was on council between 2018-20, I voted for affordable housing additions in the city of San Marcos consistently and will continue to do so. I will also seek to create more housing diversity by adding the missing middle to areas on the eastside of San Marcos as well as to the north and south of the downtown and successful neighborhood areas."

10. With the rising crime rate in San Marcos, what would you do as a councilmember to better support SMPD?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"San Marcos had approximately 3200 traffic accidents in our community over the last year.  Over the last 10 years, we have seen a 90% increase in violent crimes.  Chief Standridge has requested the need to hire additional officers for the creation of a traffic division which I supported.  Time spent on accidents pulls officers away from doing community outreach, patrolling neighborhoods, and investigations. The volume of calls for service has increased exponentially.  Our 911 telecommunications operators handle all calls for police, fire, and EMS. I also supported the hiring of additional 911 telecommunication operators as requested. Chief Standridge communicated that our police department was long overdue for a technology upgrade for SMPD’s record keeping system, so I also supported the funding for this request.  I will continue to support SMPD by listening and addressing the needs of the department."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"The rising crime rate in San Marcos is not unique to our town but something that is being seen throughout this country after a global pandemic has turned our world upside down. We first need to talk about the root causes of crime which are housing and job insecurity, poverty, and higher rates of mental illness and substance abuse. After meeting with the San Marcos Police Officer’s Assocation (SMPOA), it is clear that if I am elcted as a councilmember that I can help the police department by ensuring that there is adequate staffing. The force has many positions open and also need more support on the operations side of things with dispatchers. We need to make sure our first responders are fully supported and have the staffing to do their jobs."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Give our Police Department the staffing and equipment needed to keep our community safe."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"SMPD is highly supported as it is. When on council last, I voted to approve all measures relating to the SMPD and will continue to do so as long as it is within our capacity to do so as a city. Cite and Release as an ordinance serves to increase the capacity of officers to respond to emergencies and violent crimes by decreasing the time off of the streets related to the processing of minor crimes immediately, leaving that to a later and still legally imperative date. It works and has led to the increased efficiency of the SMPD. As we continue to grow as a city, there will be areas of support where we add to the capability of SMPD to respond to the public and the needs of law enforcement. These may include training and additional staff specifically to assist in the areas of mental health council and emergency/crisis management."

11. Are you  strong enough to resist when special interest groups and supporters aggressively try to alter your opinion on an issue? 
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"YES!  I will continue to do the necessary research as well as listen and engage with citizens, city staff, stakeholders, and my fellow council members to inform my votes and positions on issues.  I will continue to make pragmatic decisions using all available information and knowledge on topics that come up on our council agendas."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"Yes, I am strong enough to resist when special interest groups and supporters aggressively try to alter my opinion on an issue. I have proven this to the community whenever special interest groups and developers have tried to meet with me regarding developments and issues that have come before the Planning and Zoning Commission. I also, very proudly, have run a campaign where I have not accepted a single dime from a special interest group or developer that supports me. I believe this is important not only to my core ideals and ethics, but also to show people that if elected to council, that I will not be beholden to anyone or interest group, or developer. I will vote what I know is right in my heart and what is best for our community."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Yes and I have in the past."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"Yes. My moral and ethical imperatives are very important to me. I stand for the highest causes that seeks the well-being and best outcomes for all citizens, regardless of their social or economic status. My time on the Ethics Review Commission as well as the two years I served previously on council have provided me with a voting record that proves that is so. I am beholden to no outside sources for funding or support. Only the citizens of our great city, state and nation."

12. Council has been riddled with decorum problems, including snide remarks and very unprofessional behavior in meetings.  Would you be willing to sponsor a requirement that all members must be held to a high standard, to be defined, at all meetings they attend in an official capacity?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"YES!  On Council, I understand that I represent the ENTIRE community and I will strive to uphold the highest standards of decorum"

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"Yes, ultimately I would be willing to sponsor a requirement that all members must be held to a higher standard at all meetings in which they attend in a official capcity. We need to restore civility to our city government and what this looks like is working together and being respectful even when our political beliefs don’t align. Lets let San Marcos government be a model for all municipal governments and not the opposite."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Yes, we need to bring civility back to city hall. Our country is so divided, which is sad because the word UNITED is in the name of our country The United States of America. Now we are seeing this same divisiveness in our community."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"We do currently have something of the sort in place. Under the Rules of Decorum, City Code Section 2.045 it states clearly: “To ensure that meetings of the City Council are conducted in a way that is open to all viewpoints, yet free from abusive, distracting or intimidating behavior.”

As publicly elected officials, all city council members should endeavor to represent the highest principles in service to all of their constituents, including those that voted for them as well as those that did not. Unfortunately, the national and state political climate affects cities as well and a lack of decorum has come to typify public engagement at all levels. It is up to each council member to decide who they are going to be in service to their city and the citizens are watching. If such behavior does not comport with the citizens' vision of how their city should be run or how their representatives should behave, our electoral process will prove that out by removing them from office. For me personally, clear and effective communication means being respectful of my peers and listening. I do not engage in ad hominem attacks and, in response to them, seek the highest ground possible from which, hopefully, the conversation can then be elevated."

13. Will you support requiring ALL council members to meet at City Hall for council meetings, creating a more open and personal dialogue with the citizens of San Marcos?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"Since I have been sworn in, I have been present at City Hall for council meetings.  I am not in a position to require my fellow Council members to be present for meetings. I hope that conditions improve so my fellow council members will feel comfortable enough to attend meetings in-person.  I feel that it helps increase community participation and improves decorum."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"I believe it is important and vital for council mebers to meet at City Hall for council meetings because it does indeed create a more open and personal dialogue with the citzens of San Marcos, however I am not for this being a requirement. We must acknowledge that we are still in a pandemic with multiple variants going around, so if someone is feeling sick or has potentially been exposed then it is best they participate in a meeting virtually and not in person and potentially infecting other councilmembers, city staff, and community members. This also plays into my belief that meetings should stay in a hybrid mode because it allows community members to participate that may not be able to make it city hall for various reasons and in a safe way."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Absolutely, and this could help bring civility back to city hall."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I will personally be going to the council chambers every meeting I am able to do so. However, I respect individual council members' decisions regarding their own personal health. Being able to break bread together and talk about things in person is invaluable. Looking into one another’s eyes, being able to interpret body language and tone, responding intuitively and in the moment often presents us with opportunities to come to mutual understandings. As long as we can dehumanize each other and see each other as just talking heads on a screen, full understanding and the potential for coming to some form of shared opinion will be lacking. So as long as we are within this fraught time period and potential danger to some folks remains high given their health concerns, I respect their decisions to remain absent from council chambers."

14. What is your understanding about the Greater San Marcos Partnership?  How would you propose strengthening the relationship between the City and GSMP?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"The Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) plays a valuable role in promoting economic development. I would continue to collaborate with GSMP to attract new businesses which provide good salaries and benefits to our citizens."

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"My understanding of the the Greater San Marcos Partnership is that the GSMP works to not only market central Texas and the greater San Marcos region to high quality jobs/businesses, but to actually attain them and foster their entrepreneurial growth. I know the partnership cares about sustainable growth, new capital investment to the region, and making sure we have a skilled workforce. I am not on Council, yet, but I would propose strengthening the relationship between the City and the GSMP by having a willingness and open mind as I seek weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings to ensure that the work the GSMP is doing is aligned with the direction and want of the City and community. Everyone wants higher paying jobs here in town, so we need to ensure we have good relationships with the GSMP and the Chmaber of Commerce."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"I was a big supporter of GSMP in the past and will be so in the future."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I recognize the importance of the GSMP in bringing new businesses to town that can influence the character of the entire city. As we continue to experience astounding growth along the I35 Corridor between San Antonio and Austin, San Marcos will have to take advantage of the current flight of businesses from other states into Texas. While doing so, we can concentrate on certain industries that would augment and highlight our natural resources. We also need to make sure that these companies will assist us in preparing for a sustainable environmental future and that they understand that the world is changing and that we need to keep up with those changes for the benefit of our residents as well as our businesses. I think the GSMP and the city already have a great relationship. It is strong, as well. In my experience of city staff and GSMP leadership I have seen nothing but positive and fruitful engagement that has resulted in good business opportunities and the addition of new companies to our employment environment. My only concerns have to do with making sure the GSMP is true to its name and that San Marcos remains its primary concern and allegiance as its expansion into regional activities continues."

15. Why do you think San Marcos struggles to keep a City Manager?  What qualities will you be looking for in our next City Manager?  What resources would you enlist in the search for our new City Manager?
Mark Gleason, Place 5

"As one of the fastest growing cities and regions in the country, San Marcos has a unique set of needs which place a huge demand on the individual who serves as our City Manager.  As a middle-sized city, many people use the experience they receive as our city manager as a stepping stone position for a more prestigious opportunity.  A positive working relationship with open communication and professionalism between the community, council members, and city staff is vital and necessary. It is important that our next City Manager has knowledge of our community and understands our specific needs.  I would prefer to hire internally.  However, if there is a need for an external search, I would support a citizen panel and opportunities for community input to help with an external search for our next City Manager."

Zack Sambrano, Place 5

"I believe that San Marcos struggles to keep a City Manager because the City Managers we have had have not been as ever-changing as the dynamic of our City Council and the community. This will be a main quality I look for in our next City Manager because change will continue to happen and we need a City Manager who is open, willing, and able to change based on the community’s wants and needs. I will use all resources in my power as we search for our new City Manager, with the most important resource being people. We should have people involved in this process as those the new City Manager worked with will be able to provide valuable insight if the new City Manager aligns with the Council and community."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"Some on the City Council have had contentious interactions and relationships with our City Managers which has caused good City Managers to leave, and we need stability in City Hall. We need strong leadership on the City Council to support a strong City Manager."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"Our growth. Our transition from a city run more by relationships than by formal procedures. A lot has happened as our city has shifted in its demography and as our commitment to making sure our river/city interface is safe as well as protected from further environmental degradation has increased. From my perspective, as the council shifted from a development-at-all-costs stance to an environmentally and resident population-sensitive stance, the normal pressures placed upon a city manager to serve many interests simultaneously was ratcheted up about 100-fold, making the job virtually impossible to carry out effectively. We can and will do better. Our current city manager, Bert Lumbreras, has effectively held the line and helped the COSM to transition between an old way of doing things and a new, more egalitarian and societally-aware manner of conducting the business of San Marcos. Assistant City Manager Stephanie Reyes will be in charge of conducting the search and the council will vet and approve any candidate deemed qualified to fill the position and take San Marcos into the next phase of its dynamic growth. For me, an awareness of the site and situation of San Marcos, its business and environmental concerns and at least a passing familiarity with its neighborhoods and of the river most importantly, will be important factors in my decision-making process. A willingness to listen, to engage in the city’s business in a transparent manner and to live in the city and grow with us is mandatory."

16. Please use this opportunity to provide any additional information you would like members of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce to know.
Mark Gleason, Place 5

Mark Gleason did not provide an answer for this question.

Zach Sambrano, Place 5

"Thank you, Chamber of Commerce, for this thoughtful and well organized questionnaire. It is clear that you all know and undertstand the issues pressing the community because they were all addressed on this questionnaire. If there is anything I’d like the Chamber to take away from this questionnaire and who I am, its that I am running to help people and small local businesses. As the only candidate that was born and raised here and has four generations of family roots here, my heart is in this community like no other. I want to ensure we have a sustainable and inhabitable San Marcos for generations to come, for my kids, for your kids, and for their kids’ kids. San Marcos is truly stronger when we come and work together."

Jude Prather, Place 6

"We need a steady hand at City Hall. Let's make a difference in our city."

Mark Rockeymoore, Place 6

"I love San Marcos. I have two years worth of a voting record for y’all to examine and I am accessible to the citizens of San Marcos in many realms of people activity.  I am engaged in the community and have many friends and acquaintances all across town and across many social and demographic groupings. I’m always willing to listen and learn, as a life-long educator I believe intrinsically that we can all stand to learn a little bit more about perspectives outside of our own. I am not one to believe or pretend like I know everything and I have a lot to learn about business! I am willing to do so and I am a willing partner with y’all in making San Marcos shine as the jewel, deep in the heart of central Texas, that it really and truly is."