Q&A with candidates running for Place 1 on Leander City Council

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Kathryn Pantalion-Parker and Laura Lantrip are running for Place 1 on Leander City Council. Community Impact Newspaper asked each candidate about her priorities and experience.

Places 3 and 5 on Leander City Council are also up for election. Electionday is May 4, 2019. Early voting is April 22-30.

Kathryn Pantalion-Parker

Occupation: Independent fashion consultant
Top priorities: job growth, arduous regulations, property taxes
Website: www.kp4leander.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
Anyone can learn; not everyone will care. I care deeply for Leander and have the utmost respect for the history; terrain; [and] families past, present and future that call it home. As ambassador of the chamber of commerce, graduate of Leadership Leander and serving on charter review, I gained perspective into the personality and mechanism of our city. Comp. plan review, attending City Council meetings and a resident [of] almost 10 years, I now realize I’ve been preparing for this role to find common-sense solutions and do the right thing for Leander.

How do you plan on addressing the growth in your city?
Residential and commercial growth is key to our prosperity. We must have a more efficient process for builders and developers that wish to do business with us or a homeowner that just needs a permit to make improvements. A complete review of the process is needed to simplify and become more attractive. Leander has its own personality that attracts homebuyers and should attract commercial and jobs. Many just do not want to live in Austin; therefore, we have no reason to be like Austin. Keep Leander lovable; just give us a little more to love so we can live, work and play here.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
The comprehensive plan guides future land use, regulation and zoning. The city charter is a guide for the city both of which are reviewed every five years. All regulations should fall within reasonable guidelines or exceptions thereof. Upon review we have the opportunity to make improvements and be a better fit for proper growth. The TOD (transit-oriented development) [district] is a perfect example. It started out at 2300 acres and is now considerably smaller but still regulated by the SmartCode. The city may vote to make changes such as this to zoning as requested by applicant.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
1) Job growth–Leander must attract businesses to thrive. We need residents to stay here during the day to work, eat lunch [and] spend their earnings in local businesses and support continuous growth and improvements.
2) Arduous regulations–In order to achieve the growth, we must be more attractive by making our process easier and more welcoming.
3) Property taxes–Continue to rise even though the rate is lower due to rising home values. We must be diligent, strive to lower them below the ETR to see some relief. All of the above may help alleviate our painful property taxes.

Laura Lantrip

Occupation: Retired from Texas Municipal League IRP
Top Priorities: Quality growth, public safety
Website: www.lauralantrip.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
My education and local government experience have prepared me for this role. I have a BS in public administration and a Master of Public Affairs. I also have a unique perspective that comes from having worked on a local government staff, serving as a volunteer for local governments, and interacting with hundreds of local governments for Texas Municipal League IRP. My current role as a Leander Planning and Zoning Commissioner has kept me informed about issues facing the city.

How do you plan on addressing the growth in your city?
I would address it with adequate planning and responsible budgeting, so we can keep up with infrastructure, staffing and public safety needs. Attracting more businesses will help the revenue side of our budget. In planning for future development, the city has already begun the process of updating the comprehensive plan. Between updates, it will be necessary to take current conditions into account when applying the plan, and update sections if necessary.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
Balancing homeowners’ desires to protect their property values versus needed commercial growth is a continuing challenge in a fast growing city. Keeping the comprehensive plan up to date, having appropriate zoning and transitions between residential and commercial are part of this balance. I think we can have quality growth by having reasonable ordinances, and giving staff more flexibility in the development process.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
We need to responsibly manage Leander’s rapid growth. I support streamlining the development process rather than eliminating ordinances. We also need to broaden our tax base, and increase sales tax revenue by bringing new businesses to the city. I also want to match public safety funding to growth. My son is a firefighter, so I understand the need for adequate funding, training, and equipment to support those who risk their lives to provide for our safety.

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Marisa Charpentier
Marisa Charpentier joined Community Impact in September 2018. After working as an intern, she became a reporter for the Cedar Park | Leander edition in October 2018. Charpentier graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and Plan II Honors.
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