Q&As: Learn about this year's four Sunset Valley City Council candidates ahead of the Nov. 5 election

Sunset Valley will have a City Council election Nov. 5.

Sunset Valley will have a City Council election Nov. 5.

With early voting underway from Oct. 21-Nov. 1 for the Nov. 5, 2019 election, residents in Sunset Valley can head to the polls and vote for one or two of the following four city council candidates.



Alfonso Carmona


alfonsocarmonasv@gmail.com


Occupation: retired career public servant, educator and lifelong environmentalist; former instructor in the water and environmental training program for Texas A&M








Karen Medicus


karenmedicus@gmail.com


Occupation: owner of Gypsy River Trading Co.; retired American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals employee








Wanda Reetz


wreetz7@gmail.com


Occupation: current managing partner of PNOC Group LLC, which owns a group of Jiffy Lubes in the Chicagoland area








Rudi Rosengarten*


rrosengarten@sunsetvalley.org


Occupation: a licensed Realtor who does property management work and assists with builders with Smart Source Realty and broker Chris Warren


*Incumbent





What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the position?


Carmona: Having worked 28 years in supervision and management positions in municipalities, I’ve learned how cities work, including planning, infrastructure, budgeting and decision-making. I’ve also provided consultation to help businesses adopt environmentally friendly and cost-effective processes. My participation in the budget-finance and public works committees provides experience specific to Sunset Valley.


Medicus: More than 30 years in a leadership role with national organizations. Twenty years of volunteer service to Sunset Valley: arts commission, planning and environmental committee, and the zoning commission.

Reetz: My education includes a B.S. and M.A. from The University of Texas, and completion of 30 hours advanced accounting courses. My experience includes employment as an HR manager, accountant and business owner. I have also served on the [city’s] budget and finance committee (current vice chair) and the arts commission.

Rosengarten: I have been active on the Austin Board of Realtors Water Issues Committee since 2008, City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee since 2011 [and] Community & Economic Development Committee 7/16/12 to 11/11/15. I am a volunteer dedicated to the values of our city, operating with integrity, accountability, and tolerance to provide excellent public services.





What are the biggest challenges facing Sunset Valley?


Carmona: Many things residents value, including environmental stewardship and resident services, depend on maintaining our revenue stream during economic changes. Deciding how money is spent needs transparency and more citizen input. Consensus-building that accounts for unique neighborhood needs while finding common ground is key to our quality of life.


Medicus: Protecting water quality, flood mitigation, preserving our green spaces and maintaining the unique character of our city. We rely heavily on sales tax revenue and must balance between a healthy tax base and future redevelopment that protects the environment and maintains the character of Sunset Valley.

Reetz: Our biggest long-term challenge is revitalizing our revenue streams. We need to encourage our shopping centers to strive for an environment that gives the customer the shopping experience that online shopping cannot produce. Additionally, we need to control the rising expenses of the city budget.

Rosengarten: We just got done building the new police and public works building, so now, we need to focus on replenishing our reserves and then focus on maintaining the City Hall building and plan for the community and economic development strategies.





If elected, what goals would you have for your term in office?


Carmona: Increase our reserve funds, maintain fiscal responsibility, efficiency, while protecting our revenue stream. Maintain and improve our stewardship of the natural environment, green spaces and trails. Ensure that our City Council and staff work with and for residents. Act with fairness, transparency and objectivity to respond to neighborhood concerns.


Medicus: We need to evaluate variances issued and determine the need for updates to our land-development code and provide adequate monitoring of mitigation factors over time. Utilization of city-owned property to benefit the community. Creating a process for open dialogue where all voices can be heard to build unity.

Reetz: My goals are to increase financial transparency, encourage the revitalization of the shopping centers, maintain controls on city expenses and protect our green spaces. Additionally, I would like to explore the possibilities of the Homestead tract with its proximity to our shopping areas.

Rosengarten: Focus on the replenishment of the reserves, maintain City Hall—needs some TLC—and work on supporting the retail businesses. Have town hall meetings and a new survey regarding the Upland’s Tract. We need to work on the land-development codes to be more retail-friendly.





How long have you lived in Sunset Valley, and what makes Sunset Valley special to you?


Carmona: Since 2007, I have had the privilege of being a part of our community. We enjoy the tranquility of being surrounded by green spaces and the beauty of the wildlife. We have a welcoming and positive atmosphere. Our community culture values resident engagement in city government, and volunteerism shapes this city.


Medicus: I have lived in Sunset Valley for more than 20 years and value our community commitment to maintaining the rural feel of our city. We enjoy green spaces, hiking trails and the ability to communicate openly with our elected officials. Our city staff are always responsive and caring.

Reetz: I have lived in SV for 4.5 years. I love that I can walk out my door and be on a serene, wooded nature trail in less than a minute. Our green spaces are the overwhelming factor that makes SV a unique and vibrant community, and we must protect these resources.

Rosengarten: I have lived in Sunset Valley since late 2009, and the beauty of walking down the street to a trail, to the shopping center or to City Hall is what most cities strive for. I walked to two events that were at City Hall last week and saved my gas!




MOST RECENT

The Central Texas Food Bank hosted a food distribution event in South Austin May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Texas Food Bank serves 1,071 families at South Austin distribution event

The food bank created the emergency drive-up events to reach more individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Travis County continues to urge residents to follow social distancing guidelines when out in public. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County officials: 20 new coronavirus hospitalizations per day would strain local hospital capacity

Dr. Mark Escott said new admissions per day is a key measure to determine if the county should be more or less restrictive in its guidance to residents and businesses.

A May 27 preliminary budget discussion showed Central Health expects to see a slow-down in property tax revenue growth in fiscal year 2020-21. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early budget forecasts from Central Health show anticipated 'slow-down' in tax revenue collection

Preliminary budget forecasts from Central Health show the health care district anticipates a slow down in tax revenue collection growth.

A photo of red wine being poured
Hamilton Pool Vineyard & Farms now open in Southwest Austin

The vineyard will also eventually include a farm-to-table restaurant and wedding venue.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

The new Summer Moon Coffee is located at 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. A170, Austin. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Summer Moon Coffee now open in Circle C Ranch

The newest Summer Moon Coffee location officially opened May 25.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.

Zilker Theatre Productions announced May 28 that its summer musical, "Mamma Mia," has been postponed to 2021. (Courtesy Zilker Theatre Production)
Zilker Theatre Productions postpones summer musical to 2021

This will be the first time the free outdoor show in Zilker Park has not run since it began in 1959.

A photo of a man making a curbside purchase at Bikealot
South Austin bike shops connect with new cyclists during “no ordinary bike month”

Local bike shops have seen a swell of Austinites dusting off old bikes to get moving during the coronavirus pandemic.

A map of the Jester King Brewery property
Jester King Brewery to reopen with new, park-style amenities May 29

Following Gov. Greg Abbott's go-ahead for bars and breweries to reopen last week, Jester King is opening its property to guests.

A screen shot of Dr. Mark Escott speaking
Austin Public Health planning response in case of coronavirus hospitalization spike

As local health authorities monitor an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, they are bracing for a possible uptick in hospitalizations.

There have been 1,084 total coronavirus recoveries in Travis County as of May 27. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County reports 73 new coronavirus cases May 27

There have been 1,084 total coronavirus recoveries in Travis County as well.