Currently on the Kyle City Council, mayoral candidate Travis Mitchell said he wants to continue strengthening communication and engagement between city government and the people who live here, maintain Kyle's sustainable growth strategies and continue investing in city infrastructure.
Answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: How do you think Kyle should adapt to keep current residents and attract new residents and visitors to stay and explore what Kyle has to offer?
A: Kyle is a special place in Central Texas. Our business community grows stronger every day and our partnership with the Chamber continues to flourish. We have steadily improved our infrastructure while leading Hays County in property tax relief during the two budget cycles in which I have participated. As a result of laying this groundwork, we are moving forward as a city—with a clear vision for the future—by improving our road system day-by-day, lowering the city tax rate, building a strong business community, and attracting visitors through new community events and new hotels. As mayor, I will continue moving us forward with purpose and vision.
Q: With a rapidly increasing housing market, how do you think housing affordability should be addressed in the upcoming years?
A: For Kyle to prosper we need a wide variety of housing stock, from affordable housing to executive housing. Rather than subsidies, which I generally avoid, I have addressed affordability challenges by supporting policies that encourage developers to build sustainably. Developers must now work within the confines of our infrastructure capacity rather than force the city to spend exorbitant monies to accommodate their project. For too long Kyle allowed developers to build endless, sprawling track homes. No more. We have redefined what it means to build a quality neighborhood. It must now be done with far more consideration for sustainability, affordability and quality of life.
Q: With Kyle going through immense growing pains, which infrastructure issues do you believe need to be addressed first?
A: I am focused on three main infrastructure problems: Old roads and wastewater lines in our downtown district, old county roads (now city roads) built decades ago that need a complete rebuild, and a lack of wastewater infrastructure along I-35. The city is strategically and systematically addressing all three issues. My top priority is to build wastewater interceptors along the interstate. What Kyle desperately needs is to attract a major employment center. To get there, we must commit ourselves to building the necessary sewer lines.
Q: What solutions do you have for the city to lessen the effects of flooding in the future?
A: Flood mitigation is something I have worked on relentlessly since being elected to City Council. For the first time in our history, Kyle has created a dedicated stormwater utility fund that is helping us not just maintain our neglected storm water easements, but actually improve the infrastructure through capital projects. Our commitment was felt when [Hurricane] Harvey rolled through Kyle, and those efforts helped prevent some of the damage we saw in 2015. I truly believe we are turning back the clock. As mayor, I will not waiver in continuing to rebuild the storm water maintenance system we have neglected for decades.
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? Please explain your answer?
A: The citizens of Kyle deserve nothing less than full transparency from their government. As a council member, I have committed myself to being open and honest with our residents. I have devoted countless hours to interacting with citizens on the issues—especially the hard issues—and that’s what I will continue doing as mayor. Leadership, transparency and a willingness to listen should be the hallmarks of any mayor. I strive to display those qualities every single day.
Q: What is the biggest issue you think Kyle has faced this year, and how would you address this issue?
A: A city growing like Kyle faces critical decisions on a weekly basis. Perhaps the biggest decision was whether to co-locate our police dispatch center with Hays County. There was no other decision I spent more time working on because the ramifications of that vote were somewhat irrevocable. I believe we made the right decision and am confident we will both save money in the long run and dramatically increase emergency response times for the residents of Kyle. The new regional dispatch has the potential to save lives, and I am proud to have helped negotiate the contract.