Hutto City Council Place 5 candidates answer Q&A

Early voting for the Hutto City Council Place 5 runoff election will start May 24. (Community Impact staff)
Early voting for the Hutto City Council Place 5 runoff election will start May 24. (Community Impact staff)

Early voting for the Hutto City Council Place 5 runoff election will start May 24. (Community Impact staff)

A runoff election for the Hutto City Council Place 5 seat will take place June 5, with early voting starting May 24. None of the original four candidates received a majority vote May 1, which requires a runoff election between the two with the most votes to pick a winner.

The two candidates are Nicole Calderone and Krystal Kinsey. Kinsey finished the May 1 election with 291 votes, or 36.51%, out of the 797 votes cast. Calderone finished with 222 votes, or 21.58%.

What experience would you bring to the City Council?

Calderone: I served three years as HOA president where I became familiar of the city ordinances, charter and also state statutes, so I believe my working knowledge of the laws and codes would be an asset to be able to jump on and get to work right away without having a learning curve. I’ve also been in management for an extensive period of time with managing managers, and I feel that between my experience in human resources and my understanding of our city systems and manager rules, that I would be the best choice for developing staff and putting systems in place to ensure that we retain the best and the brightest.

Kinsey: That’s kind of how I got involved, with wanting to be a more informed citizen. I saw a lot of things that I didn’t understand, especially with development and development agreements. I really feel like that experience, fighting for an adjacent neighborhood, really helped me start coming to meetings and really starting to understand some of the issues that Hutto is facing.

What are some realistic goals you feel can be accomplished if you’re elected?

Calderone: I believe that the council protocols need to be revised and reintroduced. I think that our development code and processes need to be streamlined to make it easier for businesses and developers to come to Hutto. I believe that our comprehensive plan needs to include our community and involve crowdsourcing for residential and businesses. I think our parks master plan needs to be re-evaluated.

Kinsey: Definitely I feel as though I have a pretty good development understanding background as far as how things go through annexation and planning and zoning, so I really think that with all these plats and approvals, I really feel that, that background is going to help. Really have that good goal of responsible growth, growing at a reasonable pace and making sure we’re not just approving all these [planned unit developments, public improvement districts, municipal utility districts] and not really understanding what we’re doing.

How would you address transparency issues in the city?

Calderone: Our new council has come a long way in answering to the people, which is a huge turnaround from where we were two years ago. I would like to make sure that we continue on that path and releasing information to the public. Transparency is fantastic; however, it is partnered with accountability. I want to make sure that, not only do we continue to look at transparency, but that we hold accountable those who fall short of the standards.

Kinsey: Honestly I think transparency and just communication in general is something that is really lacking, so having an actual liaison going to our board and commissions meetings is going to be a key factor and then having that report at each council meeting. I feel like that would be super beneficial for the transparency.

How would you help bring in more retail, commercial and industry into Hutto?

Calderone: I think an opportunity for us to bring in businesses to our city is with the newly hired economic executive director, so I think having a good working relationship with our [community development corporation] and healing relationships with our [chamber of commerce] in addition to networking with other chambers will bring in business. I believe that Hutto doesn’t need to do a lot to attract businesses based on where we’re located. I don’t think our problems are with getting business; I think our problem is in the speed in which we can get those businesses from plans to being open for business.

Kinsey: A lot of times when those places are looking for a place to come to, they’re going to be looking at our fees, our [economic development corporation] code and, honestly, they’re going to be looking at the City Council and how other retailers have been dealt with and what kind of red tape they’ve had to jump through. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m going to be an easy sell whatsoever, but at the same time, knowing that we desperately need that retail to diversify the tax base, I’m definitely going to be more for retail.

What is something you want Hutto residents to know about you?

Calderone: I would want Hutto residents to know that I’ve been an outspoken member of the community for over two years now because I love Hutto and I value our integrity, how we’re doing business, how we’re treating our residents and for our future.

Kinsey: I want Hutto residents to know that diplomacy and respect reign the day. That, that’s really what we need to fix a lot of the issues that Hutto has with trust in the City Council and why we have such an issue filling boards and commissions because I think people don’t really like the way that volunteers of the city have been treated, especially the last few months; it’s been pretty rough.

By Megan Cardona

Reporter, Round Rock, Pflugerville-Hutto

Megan is the Hutto reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions. In 2020, she graduated with a degree in communication from UT-Arlington, where she worked at the student newspaper, The Shorthorn, for two years covering student affairs, campus administration and the city of Arlington.