Q&A: Incumbent Richard Carby, candidate Jon O’Der vie for Magnolia City Council Position 3

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Incumbent Richard Carby and candidate Jon O’Der are running for Magnolia City Council Position 3 in the May 4 election. Early voting begins April 22, and election day is May 4.

*Incumbent

Richard Carby*

Hometown: Houston

Experience: appointed to council in January 2013, 26 years in the U.S. Army commanding a platoon

832-934-0485

rcarbycitycouncil@gmail.com

Top priorities: maintain current pace; make sure [council members] use our heads for something other than a hat rack when planning our growth; communicate with Mayor [Todd] Kana and the other council members; protect our citizens of Magnolia by maintaining a great police force

Why are you running for this position?

Why not? I’ve been in Magnolia since 1986 and lived in town since 1996. I have seen our town grow from not much to a thriving Texas town with a lot of potential. The current City Council work[s] and communicate[s] together to look out for the welfare of Magnolia and the citizens.

If re-elected, how do you plan to address the demand for infrastructure and utilities in the city, such as water services and roads?

We are addressing the demands right now. We are in the largest growth spurt the city has ever seen, and it is all because of the current City Council members.

As the city grows, how will you work to foster a sense of community in Magnolia?

By communicating openly and being transparent with our decisions.

How do you plan to address growth in and around the city?  

By doing what we have been doing and utilizing the five p’s: prior planning prevents poor performance.

What do you believe is the most important duty of a city council?

Looking out for the welfare of the great citizens of Magnolia.

How do you think city government in Magnolia can be improved?

I’m not too sure if we can or need to. When I was elected the first time, we had a deficit, and then we balanced our budget within two years. When I was asked to come back several terms ago, we have maintained a balanced budget; grown our city without increasing our taxes; and improved our streets, infrastructure and commercial businesses. That is fantastic, in my opinion.

Jon O’Der

Hometown: Houston

Experience: served on resolutions committee for five senatorial district conventions, Republican party precinct chair since 2014, former board member of Montgomery County Young Republicans, board member of Montgomery County Tea Party since 2014

713-502-4953

keepmocored@gmail.com

Top priorities: water rates, transportation, public safety

Why are you running for this position?

My No. 1 issue is the water rates, but on top of that, [Magnolia is] exploding. I’m looking at our tax structure, and we’re going to get huge amounts of commercial development, and with that sales tax base, I’m pretty confident we could switch over to a sales tax only and eliminate property taxes. It’s been done in Stafford and other cities as well. I could just imagine—in the relatively near future—a city without property taxes.

If elected, how do you plan to address the demand for infrastructure and utilities in the city, such as water services and roads?

I want to propose some way to change the situation [regarding the institutional water rates]. I’ve talked to some of the pastors, and they just want to be [charged] the same as commercial [businesses]. They haven’t raised the water rates in 14 years, and that’s what’s crazy. Inflation happens. If they were raising it 1% here, 1% there, we wouldn’t have to triple the rates for churches.

As the city grows, how will you work to foster a sense of community in Magnolia?

I want to go toe to toe and bring every tool I have against [the Texas Department of Transportation]. There’s no need to widen [FM] 1488 through town. They should widen [FM] 1488 to [Hwy.] 249 and put the bypass in. I’ve been to the TxDOT hearings about the bypass, and it will relieve the traffic that we need to, but we can keep the small-town atmosphere. You go through the middle of town, and it looks like the small town. If TxDOT gets away with mowing down our entire city, it’s just going to look like another speck on the map, and we can keep that hometown feel by keeping [FM] 1488 two lanes and putting this bypass route in.

How do you plan to address growth in and around the city?

It’s going to be tough to get there once we get the growth coming in, especially the new commercial [developments]. Another thing we’re going to have to worry about is the red-light camera will be going away. We’re going to have to figure out a way—that’s a pretty substantial amount of our budget—the Legislature right now, it looks like those red-light cameras are going to go away even before the election. We’re going to have to get creative and find new ways to replace that money going away.

What do you believe is the most important duty of a city council?

My boss is the residents in the city. What they wish is my job to do. I’m a strong believer in limited government—low taxation, low regulation—and what their priorities are is what I need to be doing. I will give everyone my cell phone number and my email address. The city does a really good job of emailing the agendas and posting the minutes, and maybe I can do a direct newsletter, but I want to reach out and make sure I am as accessible as I can be for the residents.

How do you think city government in Magnolia can be improved?

When I started to run, I was advised to look at the voting records, and the voting records are almost unanimous on every single vote. There needs to be some tough discussions. When a subject is brought up, there needs to be a debate and work through it. There should be some dissent, especially when it comes to this water issue and other issues that are going to be tough. Somebody needs to put their foot down and say, “What’s popular may not be right, and what is right may not be popular,” but you’ve got to bite the bullet and make difficult decisions. Working together is one thing—you can have civil debate, you don’t have to have a circus—but you need to have some serious discussion about changing the direction on different policy when it comes to things that are difficult.

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Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the Tomball/Magnolia reporter in September 2018. Prior to CI, Kara served as the editor-in-chief of The Wichitan—Midwestern State University's student-run campus newspaper—and interned with both the Wichita Adult Literacy Council and VeepWorks.
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