Nicole Romero-Piche lived in Montana and Eagle Pass and San Antonio, Texas before calling Kyle home for the past 9 years.
She is running her platform on fiscal responsibility, accountability and integrity within City Hall and respect for all residents.
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: What should be done to Kyle to keep current residents and attract new residents and visitors to stay and explore what Kyle has to offer?
A: I have been told by residents and business owners alike that there were promises made about development, especially downtown. Stimulating small businesses rather than subdivisions would give more opportunities for local jobs, allow for their growth and development, and provide a higher quality of life for all. People travel to Wimberley, Fredericksburg, and other small cities to shop or walk the main streets. We can work toward offering more opportunities for this locally, and not only keep more of our money at home, but [also] maintain more charm and affordability while allowing for us to draw revenue from outside communities.
Q: With a rapidly increasing housing market, how do you think housing affordability should be addressed in the upcoming years?
A: We have been allowing for more apartment and subdivision options, which is allowing us to diversify our community and reduce housing price inflation, but we need to be careful, to be thoughtful in our development so we can maintain our quality of life. Without going into too much detail, the Urban Land Institute released a study which suggests the need to find ways to incentivize the development of middle and lower-income family homes. This could be [achieved] through smaller home builds, in addition to apartments, and incentivizing or requiring options for less expensive homes to be diversely mixed as we plan development.
Q: With Kyle going through immense growing pains, which infrastructure issues do you believe need to be addressed first?
A: Issues that relate to resident safety need to be compiled as a list, prioritized and addressed accordingly, some more immediately than others. Additionally, water security and affordability is of utmost concern to ensure that we all will have enough [water], even as our city grows. Beyond that, we need to look [at] school zones to find ways to ensure our kids get to and from school safely, while reducing congestion for parents.
Q: What solutions do you have for the city to lessen the effects of flooding in the future?
A: With the Halloween floods, we realized that our system was lacking a major necessity: maintenance. The most recent storms proved that with proper maintenance, many of our systems are more robust than previously believed, but also that we have a little bit to go. I want to see which areas were most affected, the recently revised [Federal Emergency Management Agency] flood maps of those regions, and have our city engineers troubleshoot what needs to happen to address those issues. Development into known floodplains needs to either stop until developers [are] present and prove [the] ways they will address those issues before a single foundation is laid.
Q: There has been vocal output from residents about a lack of government transparency and accountability in Kyle. Do you see this as a problem that needs to be addressed?
I have been building my campaign on the ideas of our city needing some better FAIR-ness from its leadership: Fiscal responsibility, Accountability, Integrity, and Respect. The only way to hold people accountable is to ensure we are transparent on every possible issue, and that the community is given many opportunities and avenues to expressing their needs and thoughts. When they do come forward, their concerns need to be respectfully heard, addressed accordingly, and in a timely manner. I wish that this were already standard operating procedure, but it isn’t, and we can do better.
Q: What is the biggest issue you think Kyle has faced this year, and how would you address this issue?
I have already discussed many of the largest issues facing our city, but there were two left untouched, maybe because they require more collaboration than anything: crime, and schools. I want to work with our city’s police chief to identify causes [of] increased crime in the area and find ways we might prevent it. By contrast, our schools need the cities they serve to be collaborative partners. Failure to do so has resulted in traffic issues and safety concerns for the area (think Lehman High), and don’t serve our residents’ best interests, nor the safety of our students.