As Mayor of Kurten, I was responsible for developing and presenting the budget. I never proposed an increase in the tax rate my ten years as Mayor. Unfortunately, the tax rate is just one component of how much we, as property owners pay each year for property taxes. With evaluations going up, even if tax rates go down we find ourselves with a bigger property tax bill. I will be an advocate for lowering our property tax bills not just the rate. To do this we as the Commissioner’s Court have to approve a tax rate that is a “no new revenue option” The other side of the equation is spending. I would look at all expenses and see where the county can become more efficient while still providing the services you need. Many of us in Brazos County are operating our personal budget in a “no new revenue” scenario. Our county government needs to do the same.
I will advocate for the proper placement of Interstate-14 that’s planned to be constructed in Brazos County. The current plan presented by the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization places Interstate 14 going through Brazos County including nearly 27 miles in Precinct 2. This is a deep concern of mine and if you live in Precinct 2 it should be a deep concern to you also. If this is constructed as planned this will impact and change Brazos County in ways not seen since Texas A&M University was placed in Brazos County in 1876. There will certainly be positive economic impacts to Brazos County but if this is not done correctly, and with the proper planning and buy in from our local citizens, it has the possibility of being a disaster due to adverse lifestyle to the citizens of our county, especially in Precinct 2. Nothing will change the landscape more that an Interstate. I have identified at least 33 homes, probably many more, that would need to be razed if the path of Interstate 14 follows the current plan that has been presented. The rural community in northeast Brazos county would be changed forever. Property owners will be subject to imminent domain authority. This can be a win-win situation if the correct people are in place to be an advocate for these landowners. We can experience the economic growth to the area WHILE not experiencing the negative impact this Interstate could bring.
Precinct 2, in Brazos County, is becoming a bedroom community to Bryan/College Station. Old farms and ranches are being bought up by developers and small neighborhood are popping up everywhere. The problem with this is the current infrastructure can’t support the growth. The other issue with this, is except for the subdivision platting process, which was last updated in 2016, there is very little protection a landowner has concerning what type of business or activity can come in next to their property. My approach would be to partner with developers in the planning stage to insure what they want to develop will fit the area in which they are developing.
The cities of Bryan, College Station, Wixon Valley, and Kurten, all have one thing in common; we are all located in Brazos County. Now that sounds obvious, but the cities and the county don’t always act that way. We have a great opportunity to work together on projects and initiatives that will save each entity money that can result in tax savings for each citizen throughout the county. This can be done! As Mayor of Kurten, we have accomplished this, and we can and will do more.
Sanitary Sewage Regulation
From firsthand experience this is an area that needs to be reviewed and improved. This specific issue affects Precinct 2 more than any area in the county since the vast majority of Precinct 2 is in the rural parts of the county. As we continue to grow this issue will only become worse. Virtually all homes built in the rural community are currently required to have, what is referred to as an aerobic system. Very few traditional “field line” systems are approved in Brazos County. Aerobic systems are good systems if they are properly maintained. As density in our area increases this will become a problem. First and foremost, it can become a health hazard and negatively affect quality of life. Most aerobic systems in Brazos County are serviced annually by a service provider for an annual fee. There are some good companies out there that provide this service but as reported to me as Mayor, there were some bad ones too. The complaints I received were “Brazos County requires me to have an annual service contract which costs me $300 annually and the company doesn’t do anything to assure my system is running correctly and is not a health hazard”. This too is an issue I would personally address. The county must get tough on companies that charge our citizens to do a service that is mandated by the county but the typical service doesn't do anything to insure the system does not pose a health hazard.
MUD Districts (Municipal Utility Districts)
If you have never heard of this term, as a citizen of Brazos County you will soon. In fact, we already have two MUD’s located in Brazos County. These MUD’s are going to play an important role in the lives of people currently not living within the city limits of Bryan/College Station. I have first-hand experience working with MUD’s and in my position as Mayor of Kurten I have working experience with how this affects property owners within the ETJ (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction)of the cities located within Brazos County. As the cities of Bryan/College Station expand geographically through annexation, MUD’s will become more prevalent, and most of these infrastructure costs will fall on the backs of the citizens who buy property within these MUD’s. The creation of MUD's will also allow much smaller lot sizes which can lead to infrastructure issues if not properly planned.
First Responder Platform
Training is a large component for all jobs including our local law enforcement. I will propose to provide funding to the Sheriff’s Department to increase their training resources.
Increase Mental Health Services – we currently do not have a local hospital that handles people with mental health issues. This is a burden on the Sheriffs department as they deal with this issue on a continuous basis. They must drive patients to out of town hospitals which becomes a time resource issue.
Auxiliary Sheriffs Office and on-site EMS
In the outlying areas of Brazos County, Precinct 2, when there is a medical or safety emergency going on in your life you want and need help fast. With our current structure many times that is not possible. Our First Responders do a tremendous job with the resources they have, but many times these first responders are not in the vicinity of the emergency, unlike our fellow citizens located in the city limits of Bryan. Many times the Bryan Fire Department or EMS have to travel to the rural parts of the county to assist with medical emergencies or traffic accidents. I am proposing working with the Sherriff’s office and Brazos County ESD 2 to provide a facility for deputies and ESD 2 personnel to work out of so we can have 24x7 protection.