Buda mayoral candidate George Haehn plans to keep taxes low and reduce traffic congestion if elected

Community Impact Newspaper sent Q&As to each candidate running in the Nov. 7 Buda City Council elections.

Calling Buda home, Buda mayoral candidate George Haehn is ready to use his experience of being a councilmember to lead Buda as mayor.

Answers have been edited for clarity.

Q: How do you think Buda should adapt for growth while still retaining its character?
A: We must be proactive in expanding and improving our infrastructure to prepare for growth.  We need to improve our road system and connectivity in order to reduce traffic.  We must refrain from approving requests for zoning changes and strictly adhere to the Unified Development Code (“UDC”) and Zoning Ordinance.  We need to make sure developers abide by the UDC when it comes to design, location and the materials they utilize.  I will work with the Planning and Zoning, Historic Preservation and Main Street Program committees to ensure Buda retains its character and the small town feel people enjoy.

Q: With a rapidly increasing housing market, how do you think housing affordability should be addressed in the upcoming years?
A: I believe the pride of ownership improves the connections people develop within our community.  I do not support the development of subsidized housing; however, I will seek ways to add diversity to the housing in Buda which could provide more affordable options.  I will work with Planning and Zoning, City Council and the City Manager to encourage the development of housing options including manufactured homes, condos, townhomes, duplexes, and smaller homes.  If done properly, these options could offer a viable solution to the affordability issues here in Buda.

Q: How would you like to see the 2015 federal disaster recovery funds used?
A: We must use them to improve drainage and mitigate flooding throughout the city.  Some grants have constraints on what the money can be used for.  The General Land Office (“GLO”) grant of $307,000 is tied to housing and must be used to assist low to moderate income people to mitigate flooding on their property.  The city has also received a grant for over $1 million dollars that I believe should be used to complete those flood mitigation and drainage projects that are not covered by the bonds.

Q: What solutions do you have for the city to lessen the effects of flooding in the future?
A: First, we need to quickly complete the projects funded by the Proposition 4 Bonds and seek additional funding for the projects contained in the Drainage Master Plan.  Secondly, we must strictly enforce the stormwater and flood protection regulations in our Unified Development Code.  In order to develop a system of detention ponds and spreader dams in the watershed to slow the flow of water into Onion Creek from its tributaries, I would like to explore the possibility of developing public/private partnerships with upstream property owners along Onion Creek.

Q: Should the city go to single member districts so all parts of the city are represented equally?  Explain why you chose your answer.

A: I do not support single member districts at this time.  All citizens of Buda should have the right to seek election to any seat on the Council and to vote for any member on the ballot. I believe that by establishing single member districts, the divisiveness we see in our country’s government, could eventually find its way into our city’s government, which is something I do not want to see happen in Buda.

Q: What is the biggest issue you think Buda faced this year, and how would you address this issue?
A: Traffic congestion and the continued threat of flooding are the biggest issues that Buda has faced in the last year.  I will continue to push for the rapid completion of all road construction projects funded by the Proposition 3 Bonds.  I will also work to identify additional funding sources for the roads and parkways that have been included in the Transportation Master Plan.  Regarding flooding, I will work to ensure those projects identified in the Drainage Master Plan that were not funded by the 2014 Bonds are completed as soon as possible.

Q: What is your stance on adding fluoride back into Buda’s water supply?
A: I do not support adding a by-product of fertilizer manufacturing to our water.  I do not believe that it is necessary.  If one product is added now, in the future, what would stop the city from adding other things the government might believe is beneficial for the people.

Q: With increasing water and wastewater rates for the next fiscal year, and it being reported that the City of Buda saw record water use during the month of July 2017, what do you think needs to be done to address Buda’s water usage problems?
A: I believe we could reduce water consumption by increasing the availability and usage of effluent water for irrigation throughout the city.  We could also require developers to install the purple pipe which transports effluent water for irrigation purposes within any new development.  We should provide more information to the citizens about water usage, conservation and xeriscaping options.  In addition, we need to encourage more people to utilize the city’s rain barrel program that provides a means for collecting rainwater for irrigation use.