As acting Vice Chair of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, a homeowner and resident for nearly two decades, a past member of the Neighborhood Commission and the Capital Improvement Task Force, and a flood survivor and community voice on the effects of the floods of 2015, I have knowledge and first hand experience with these challenging issues facing the City of San Marcos and so many more.
Improving traffic congestion and parking especially in the downtown area. If we can support alternate transportation solutions such as improving the availability and reliability of CARTS bus service with the University tram and improving the number and safety of bike lanes, we would alleviate both parking and traffic congestion concerns.
It is the job of city officials who are both elected and employed to partner with the local business community on the issues of importance. The Chamber of Commerce provides a vital network and voice for businesses. 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.
Our beautiful rivers are one of our favorite reasons to live, work, and play here while also bringing economic development and tourists. Promotion of our resource will attract tourists and new businesses that serve both visitors and locals. I would continue to work with Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) to promote our city’s businesses. 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.
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.
If we find solutions for parking and traffic congestion downtown, the center of our small business community, it will flourish. It’s important that both locals and visitors from outside the community be able to easily patronize our small businesses.
To alleviate traffic congestion, there are several possible avenues to encourage alternative modes of transportation. First, I support our city’s attempt to partner with Texas State University to make both the University tram and CART bus services more efficient. This could provide wider-ranging service opportunities and increase the consistency and schedule. Second, we could improve the number and safety of bike lanes for cyclists. With so much traffic and insufficient parking, college students and residents alike could benefit from these improvements.
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. They know their own needs best. I would recommend hiring a full time grant writer to be on city staff. Currently, we do not employ a grant writer. There are many available grants which we may be able to secure that would supplement costs and provide funding. To save money, we could avoid hiring consultants and have “in house” employees do the work instead, such as utilizing the knowledge of our city engineers.
It’s very important that we spend the necessary funds to make long term solutions to flood mitigation a priority in our budget.
As an acting Planning and Zoning Commissioner, I am always mindful of the impacts our votes have on the interests of small business owners. I value their ability to earn a living and contribute to the local economy, so I try to listen to their concerns to alleviate the negative impact of government. I understand the financial implications to the small business owner associated with decisions we make on P and Z. As a council member, I would attempt to keep the costs and fees we mandate to a minimum. We should make every effort to streamline our permitting process to make it sort of a “one stop shop” for small business owners to save time for both the entrepreneur and city staff.
With growth happening all around Central Texas, we aren’t the only city facing the issue of affordable housing. Let’s start by investigating how other Texas cities have addressed this issue and adapt them to our needs. It’s also important to reach out to reputable charitable organizations or private groups such as Habitat for Humanity. As acting Vice Chair of Planning and Zoning, I have evaluated concerns posed by residents, researched information such as traffic and environmental studies, worked with city staff, and voted on these tough housing issues. Part of my decision-making process includes listening as all stakeholders voice their opinions on increased availability while protecting our neighborhoods, rivers, and the character of our city. I support the newly formed Workforce Housing Subcommittee and the Workforce Housing Task Force which will try to address the interests of residents on the housing affordability issue.
We need to give the necessary resources and tools to our police officers and fire department for training, equipment, rescue, and personnel.