Bellaire Voter Guide 2019: City Council Position 6 candidates

Bellaire residents will choose between three candidates for City Council Position 6 in November: incumbent David Montague and challengers Keith Evans Bowers and Jim Hotze.

Community Impact Newspaper sends out questions to candidates ahead of local elections and publishes their responses. For fairness, each candidate is asked the same questions and given a word limit to answer each question. Answers, if needed, are edited for length, spelling and grammar.

Candidate Jim Hotze did not respond to requests to participate.


The candidates






David R. Montague (incumbent)
Occupation and experience:
I retired from Shell Oil in 2013 after 41+ years as a petroleum engineer. I had a variety of assignments in the US and overseas including exploration, drilling, production, construction, research, technical training, human resources, IT, project management, strategy, planning, safety, environmental and asset and project management. During some 30 of these years I had management responsibilities leading up to 150 staff and contractors and budgets up to $150 million. I am now a Bellaire City Council Member (2016-2020), Clerk of Session at ChristChurch Presbyterian and marketing manager for Bellaire/SW Houston Rotary’s ‘Flags over Bellaire’ fundraising program.

I do not have a website. I much prefer interacting face-to-face or via phone because we can talk back and forth to make sure your questions are answered fully and there is no confusion. So please send me your request to meet face-to-face or visit over the phone by email to dmontague@bellairetx.gov.





Keith Evans Bowers
Occupation and experience:
Retired Chemical Engineer, Internationally Licensed Project Manager, Manager of Technology for Bechtel Corp, and Federal Court acknowledged Expert Witness on Refinery and Chemical Plant Operations and Air and Water Permit violations.






What issues do you care most about addressing in Bellaire?

Montague: Public safety is my top priority. As a council member, I voted to increase the police and fire pay from the 50% percentile to the 75% percentile (so well above the average pay of other city’s police and fire departments) while also increasing their incentive pay opportunities. These actions led to improving retention and attracting new officers, so now both departments have no sworn officer vacancies. My next priority is to continue funding the recommendations of the Flood Hazard Mitigation Task Force (I was a council liaison) and continuing to upgrade our storm sewers from 2-year storm to 100-year storm.

Bowers: Rebuilding transparency and trust in Bellaire's conduct in all matters. Prudent, efficient and rational financial and operations management to maximize efficiency in all matters. Reduce private offices save for absolutely necessary secure functions.





What is your position on Bellaire's approach to zoning?
Montague: I fully support Bellaire’s zoning ordinances, the comprehensive (land use) plan, the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the two-step process necessary to make zoning changes. I offer as evidence my recent council votes supporting the Take 5 business at Bissonnet and Ferris and my no vote for rezoning the 4301 Bellaire tract. I am actively involved with what’s happening on the Chevron property, and I have had two meetings with concerned neighbors who live adjacent to the property.

Bowers: Bellaire should maintain 'City of Homes' culture and protect single-family residential quality of life in preference to commercial enterprises. Bellaire must accept it will never enjoy large scale commercial development due to many multiple ownerships and piecemeal 'commercial' development many years ago. 'Condemnation' for commercial development is a non-starter.





How would you approach balancing the city's budget amid state limits on property tax increases?
Montague: I actually presented such a plan to city council at our Aug. 26 budget workshop. Specifically, the city manager had earlier proposed a FY2020 General Fund Budget which required an 8% property tax increase. I, and some public speakers at council, said we shouldn’t be increasing property taxes at all. At this workshop, I presented the city manager a list of expense reductions, expenditure deferrals and some less conservative forecasting assumptions that, in total, would reduce the proposed 8% property tax increase to 3.5% (or equal to the State of Texas limit on property tax increases starting in FY2021).

Bowers: City organization, staffing and compensation levels and city budgets must be fully 'scrubbed' and reduced to eliminate expenditures for non-essential items, functions and staffing. Every expenditure above $500 must be economically justified and pre-approved by a mayor or council-designated representative.


SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

I-59 highway
Southbound lanes on Loop 610, I-69 to have nightly closures until Friday

Two southbound outside lanes from Westheimer Road down to the Fournace Place ramp on Loop 610 will be closed 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning tonight until Friday, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Pier 1 stores closing
Amid nationwide closures, local Pier 1 stores to shut down

Pier 1 Imports stores in Meyerland and Rice Village will be closing their doors, though a store in River Oaks will remain open.

Codeverse
New studio aims to bring the fun in coding for kids

A fully interactive coding studio is bringing its high-tech features to The Galleria in June.

A Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County study on eliminating ride fares left both METRO board members and officials seemingly unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO board of directors say free fare 'not feasible' for transit authority

A METRO study on eliminating ride fares left board members and officials unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County.

Houston City Council approves revisions to 2015 flood buyout processes

New guidelines adjust single-family and multifamily home buyout process for those affected by 2015 floods.

Breathing Center of Houston moves therapy rehab to new location

Breathing Center of Houston has moved one of its locations to 6108 S. Rice Ave., Houston, on Jan. 8 from its old location on Beechnut Street. The new center offers a more modern decor along with the same program offerings, including outpatient rehabilitation, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients with lung disease or chronic lung issues. Patients interact one-on-one with medical therapists to learn breathing techniques and strength and endurance exercises. 713-660-0663. www.bchouston.com

Meyerland HEB
H-E-B announces Meyerland store opening date

H-E-B will open its new Meyerland Plaza location Jan. 29 at 4700 Beechnut St., Houston.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert tickets go on sale Jan. 16

Lower-level seating options are already very limited.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

HGA driver Derek King picks up a patient from David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport in Spring before transporting her to the Texas Medical Center. (Courtesy Derek King)
Houston Ground Angels seeking volunteers to drive patients to Texas Medical Center

Houston Ground Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides transportation between local airports and the Texas Medical Center for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases and illnesses.

Chevron Houston Marathon
Chevron Marathon 2020 street closures, places to watch and cheer on

This year’s Chevron Houston Marathon will bring 27,000 estimated participants into the area on Jan. 19.

Image courtesy ABC 13
Bellaire PD: Suspect arrested in connection with shooting death at Bellaire High School

Via ABC13: A student shot at Bellaire High School has died, sources told ABC13 Tuesday. Officials say the suspect is still on the loose.

Back to top