Two candidates are gluttonous the Place 4 bench on the College Station Burghal Council, which is currently captivated by Councilman Barry Moore. Moore has absitively not to seek re-election.
Voters will accept amid Joe Guerra Jr., a busline artist who abominably acclimatized the bench adjoin Moore two years ago, and Elianor Vessali, a Planning and Zoning abettor and absolute acreage abettor who absent the Place 1 chase aftermost year to Councilman Bob Brick.
Guerra and Vessali answered questions about their campaigns and assorted burghal issues via email. Their responses arise beneath as written.
Q: What acquaintance or angle do you accept that you would accompany to the position?
Guerra: I am a busline artist by trade. I accept about 30 years of busline planning engineering and architecture experience, 10 years with TxDOT and bristles years with the burghal of College Station and the blow in the clandestine area alive for busline engineering consultants. I am additionally a certified burghal artist through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and a able busline artist (PTP) certified through the Institute of Busline Engineers
At my time with the burghal of College Station, I helped advance the 2009 Absolute Plan and six adjacency and commune plans, to accommodate the Southside Adjacency Plan, the Eastgate Adjacency Plan, the South Knoll Adjacency Plan, the Central College Station Adjacency Plan, the Medical Commune Plan and the Wellborn Commune Plan. I was able to collaborate with the aborigine advising groups and the adjacency ability teams in developing these plans, so I got to apprehend their issues and concerns. My time on agents additionally acclimatized me the befalling to see how the burghal puts calm budgets. I was additionally allotment of a aggregation that prioritized basic projects annual and put calm absolute activity amount estimates.
Finally, afar from the agents reports, I can ask for abstruse abstracts such as cartage appulse assay or a arising letters and accept the advice provided in those reports.
Vessali: Our assorted and growing citizenry is best served by board associates who can accouterment the countless of issues that we face based on their arrangement of assorted experiences. Professionally, I accept ability and acquaintance not alone with the accumulated and business world, but additionally with government employment. Personally, association account has consistently been an important angle of my life. My account on assorted boards and my accord in our association programs accept acclimatized me an insider’s attending to every aspect of our community. We charge board associates that represent our burghal as a whole, gluttonous to serve all of our citizens’ needs and that can assignment with our bounded ally in advancing the priorities of our city.
Q: As College Station continues a aeon of accelerated growth, some association of earlier neighborhoods accept bidding that they anguish they will or accept been larboard abaft by the city. How do you anticipate the Burghal Board should antithesis the charge to plan for the approaching while additionally alert to the apropos of accepted residents?
Guerra: I anticipate that this is consistently a affair with any city. I see it with my present job. I administer several affairs with the burghal of Houston for the close I assignment for presently. The majority of these projects are to plan and architecture the rehabilitation of basement that has been alone for a actual continued time. So if the burghal is spending all of its assets acclimation impacts created by development or architecture basement to accommodate capacities for anew acclimatized development, there is actual little money larboard over for aliment or the rehabilitation of basement that needs to be fixed. The apropos of these association are valid.
In adjustment for funds to be set a for aliment and rehabilitation projects the burghal needs to accept new development pay for itself. So we charge to use added tax accession costs districts, tax reinvestment zones and added forms of appulse fees. This will chargeless up allotment for aliment and rehabilitation projects. Finally, the burghal should go aback to developing adjacency affairs area by projects or initiatives can be vetted and proposed by the neighborhoods.
Vessali: As a affiliate of council, it would be my albatross to focus on the burghal as a whole, including all of our neighborhoods. The burghal will anon activate adventure the development of a new absolute plan. The purpose of this land-use plan is to accommodate advice for advancing advance in a abode that balances bread-and-er advance with the aliment of a aerial affection of life. This all-embracing activity will acquiesce the citizens the befalling to accommodate acknowledgment on the approaching planning of the city. As residents, we charge as abounding options as accessible to assure all of our neighborhoods, both absolute and new ones. As a board member, agreeable citizens in the conception and development of the absolute plan is a basic allotment in acclimation approaching needs with the apropos of residents.
Q: How would you brand the accepted board for its efforts with adjacency issues? Do you anticipate the burghal should be accomplishing more?
Guerra: The present board allows for association to articulation their concerns, but again there is a majority of votes on board that are not absorption a alertness to accommodation in adjustment to antidote the neighborhoods’ concerns. There is rarely a accommodation or an addition band-aid advised by assertive majority associates on the Burghal Councils of the accomplished bristles to six years. Previous to these aftermost six years, the Burghal Board and the Planning and Zoning Agency were added absorbed to accommodation in adjustment to appear to a adaptation for both sides.
Vessali: During my time on the Planning and Zoning Agency these accomplished two years, we accept taken a cardinal of accomplishments to abode adjacency issues. With the abetment of staff, both the agency and the board accept fabricated efforts to analysis accepted ordinances and accomplish changes or corrections area all-important and for the account of neighborhoods. For example, the proposed subdivision of lots in an earlier adjacency brought to ablaze a artifice in our authorization that was finer addressed and corrected. Now, no one will accept to abhorrence the redevelopment of streets with actual baby lots actuality complete in the boilerplate of absolute neighborhoods. Recommendations accept already been fabricated to aggrandize the account of options that neighborhoods can baddest and accommodate in the development of an bury application. These are alone a few examples of the burghal accepting taken activity to acknowledge to citizens’ acknowledgment and concerns. I would apprehend any approaching board affiliate to abide to abode and acknowledge to issues brought advanced by our neighborhoods.
Q: The tax amount has been added several times in contempo years, and addition access is allotment of the allotment plan for the new Burghal Hall. Considering those and added fees afresh adopted by the Burghal Council, do you anticipate this is a advisable strategy?
Guerra: The boilerplate aborigine has had their acreage taxes aloft four of the aftermost bristles years. For bounded business, acreage taxes accept been added bristles of the aftermost six years. In my opinion, it’s time to stop this aeon and attending at added forms of revenue. Tax accession costs districts, tax reinvestments zones and busline reinvestment zones should be activated in as abounding corridors as possible. The burghal ability additionally appetite to attending at accessible assurance (police and fire) ability appulse fees. These strategies are all advance administration strategies based on development advantageous for itself and approaching association advantageous for impacts and casework that they will need.
Vessali: I accept that we are all acquainted that the burghal has banking issues to overcome. As a board member, I would appraise all accessible options to abate the tax accountability on the citizens. We charge assembly who will assignment to ensure that burghal operations are fiscally able and that tax dollars are acclimated in a abode that touches as abounding citizens as possible.
Q: Accompaniment against bounded ascendancy will acceptable acknowledgment as a affair for the 86th Texas aldermanic session. Area do you anticipate the burghal could be best accessible in agreement of limitations that could emerge?
Guerra: As I recall, two of the issues advised in the aftermost aldermanic affair was a cap on acreage taxes and a brake on annexation. On annexation, the burghal has had the befalling to addendum acreage area owners absolutely address the burghal to addendum them, such as the speedway property, so not all addition needs to be confrontational. On acreage taxes as mentioned above, the burghal has aloft acreage taxes for an continued after aeon and in my appraisal it’s time to booty a breach and attending at added forms of revenue.
Vessali: The affair of our acreage tax accountability continues to be at the beginning of discussion. As during aftermost session, there could be movement in the assembly in favor of banned on acreage tax collections and/or acreage tax increases. We all ache from the accountability of acreage taxes and I do accept that it is time for some array of acreage tax reform. However, this is a able affair that involves not alone the burghal but additionally the appraisal activity itself and the academy districts. We all charge to assignment against a band-aid that lessens this tax accountability and removes the blackmail of actuality burdened out of one’s home while still allotment our municipality.
Q: Bristles proposed amendments to the burghal allotment are additionally on the ballot, conceivably best conspicuously the hypothesis to extend board appellation lengths from three to four years. Do you anticipate appellation lengths should be extended?
Guerra: I am against to accretion the appellation banned from three years to four years for a brace of reasons. One, if the burghal confused to four-year agreement again the burghal elections would band up with mid-term or presidential elections. This would accept the abeyant of accepting accessory backroom edge into our bounded burghal elections, burghal elections should be nonpartisan. The added acumen I am against to accretion appellation banned is that it would booty best to vote a board affiliate out of office. It would booty four years instead of three years as we accept now.
Vessali: I accept the proposed alteration is account consideration. Holding bounded elections on even-numbered years alongside accompaniment and federal contest would not alone abate acclamation costs but would additionally accommodate an able way to access aborigine turnout. Currently, board associates adopted on odd-numbered years are adopted by about four or bristles times beneath votes as those adopted in even-numbered years. This alteration would accompany some adequation to our board acclamation process. A four-year appellation would additionally accord new board associates added time to acclimatize to the job and would accord burghal agents time to acclimatize to the council, get acclimatized to their administration and to accomplish as a team.
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