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

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Incumbent Stephen Thomas and Tim Kelly are running for Place 1 on Cedar Park City Council. Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates about their priorities and experience.

Places 3 and 5 on Cedar Park City Council are also up for election. Election day is May 4. Early voting is April 22-30.

Stephen Thomas

Occupation: Senior advisor to CEO and chief HR officer
Top priorities: Eco. dev. and infrastructure maintenance
Website: www.stephenthomasforcedarpark.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
Serving on the council for a number years as well as on city boards and commissions, I understand city functions and council responsibilities. I have extensive experience in government operations and finance and effective working relationships in state and local government. My conservative fiscal management has enabled tax rate cuts over the last six years without compromising city services. I also understand the responsibilities of representing every resident of the city.

How do you plan on addressing the growth in your city?
The city has reached a tipping point on low-density housing, and areas currently zoned for apartments have been built out. This residential development will support development of commercial tracts. The market will drive the commercial development and could support some high-density residential mixed use. It is important that we protect our planning areas for large employers or strategic development. We should develop parks and public spaces to improve our quality of life.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
It is important that the city protect our strategic planning areas. Zoning of land is an important process to ensure the highest and best use of finite resources. The city should work with the development community to expedite development of commercial tracts. The city should have some flexibility as we build out because some tracts of land may need further consideration to address realistic uses. The market will drive development and we should protect property rights.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
Infrastructure rehabilitation for roadways and water and sewer, transportation and mobility considerations to move people in and around the city safely, and continued economic development to lure large employers and key commercial development to diversify the tax base.

Tim Kelly

Occupation: Treasury Dept., contact rep., retired CW3 Army
Top priorities: Lower taxes, safer community, term limits
Website: www.timkellyforcedarpark.com

What makes you fit for the role of a city council member?
As a 27-year Army officer, I developed a relentless desire to succeed. Military life taught me to be an ethical and responsible leader and prepared me for the most vigorous of challenges. Throughout my career I have been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of property in varying capacities and worked as one of the top customer service representatives for a major corporation. As a city constituent services director, I [helped] the constituents overcome the barriers city government often put in their way, which uniquely prepares me for this job.

How do you plan on addressing the growth in your city?
Burdensome and unreasonable ordinances stifle growth and devalue Cedar Park’s property and businesses. Our city must be protected with new policies that should be measured by previous successes. Current revenue streams must be bolstered by our ever-increasing retail sales. When we increase our revenue streams we will provide relief to our neighbors by offsetting their property tax burden. Also, good stewardship equals good governance. We must recruit and hire the highest-quality city staff—poor performance mandates removal.

What role should the city play in regulating development?
As a firm believer in private property rights, the city should encourage as much private ownership and personal responsibility of land, water, air, wildlife and resources as possible. Although regulations are a necessity for good government, individual property rights should almost always prevail. Acquisitions and regulations should always be carefully evaluated. I will vote to use eminent domain only when necessary and never to pick winners and losers.

What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
1. Safety. City services must be constantly maintained to ensure well-being. We must recruit quality police candidates and prioritize flood control/drainage.

2. Affordability. I will fight for term limits and to increase homestead exemption to 20% over 10 years to rein in expenses. Open government must be vigilantly enforced.

3. Transportation. We must not only improve but increase mobility with 100 [percent] transparency. No back room road-building or business development deals!

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  1. Stephen is a stalwart leader who has given years of service to Cedar Park. He is measured in his decision making and brings the needed experience to Council. Stephen’s acumen is unmatched and he is committed to maintaining the fiscal health of Cedar Park, while balancing the public’s desire for new amenities. Stephen is kind and welcoming. It is an honor to serve with him on Council.

    • Stephen Thomas has served our community very well! I have found him to be forthright and honest. I don’t always agree with everything, but he is fair and works well within the city council. He’s always answered any questions I’ve had, and has listened to my concerns.

      I cannot say the same for Mr. Kelly. When I approached him about his divisive rhetoric regarding “keeping Austin out of Cedar Park”, he dismissed me and all but ran away. He runs a hate filled misinformation fb page that serves only to divide a community.

      If you want to know who he really is, read the following article.

      https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2016-10-07/the-wrath-of-don/

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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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