Q&A: Montgomery City Council Position 4 candidates discuss the city's biggest challenges, economic development

Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, state and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, state and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Early voting for the November election, when voters will choose candidates for national, state and local positions, begins Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



Montgomery City Council, Position 4











Julie Davis




Occupation: Executive Director, Hope’s Bridge Resource Center


Experience: 10 years property management experience, 18 years of household management, 11 years of social services experience






What are the biggest challenges the city of Montgomery is facing, and how do you plan to address those challenges?



JD: There are two big challenges the city of Montgomery is facing. First is a lack of water and sewage infrastructure and second is an outlined plan to address the lack of socioeconomic growth regarding middle class housing within the city limits. I plan to encourage growth within this community by voting for solid infrastructure that better serves the existing taxpayers as well as encompasses new residential growth without increased tax burden on to existing residents of the city. Our city lacks a middle class. ... I would like to try to find a way to bridge the gaps with reasonable solutions that are not all “one-size-fits-all” approaches. I would like to see the city develop a plan of action to address the water issues within the city and to create a plan to pay for and finalize a full loop that is pressurized correctly to support the MEDC estimates of growth of the next 10-20 years. I don’t want to always be in a reactive state of mind when we have the ability to be proactive and serve the people better.



How did COVID-19 affect Montgomery from an economic standpoint, and how do you plan to help businesses and residents who were affected?



JD: Montgomery is still seeing lost revenue from a refusal to reopen Texas in a way to protect small businesses as well as residents. Paycheck Protection Program lending was just a beginning to hold onto our existing businesses. I would like to see our city government assist in the call for the state to utilize PPP forgiveness for these businesses to help them mitigate further harm and financial shortfalls. The city has just approved a new tax rate, which will show an increase to the taxpayer. This decision was not made in haste. I know this will affect many families. As we have all seen huge appraisal increases in property values for 2020, the last thing we want to hear is that there is now another tax increase for 2021 coming on the horizon. I hope that by serving that I can help shed more light on and encourage more participation with city open meetings.



What is your vision for Montgomery’s development in the next 20-30 years, and how does this compare to the city’s comprehensive plan for development?



JD: The city has just in the last year worked to develop a comprehensive plan for the city. Long term, I am not in favor of any one specific plan that has been proposed. I do like a small amount of all five of the submissions from TAMU, and I would like to see us begin to implement these in a way that brings the best value to our city. In a perfect world we would have housing that is suitable for all classes of people. Montgomery has a great amount of diversity and is widespread on demographics. We fall short again with middle class. ... We need to build housing to attract and make affordable to attract these adults to our community. The problem is that we do not have the infrastructure to support that currently. ... In the next 20 years, I would like to see the city infrastructure brought up to the ability to support growth rather than always being behind the curve. I would like to see more tax credit housing options for low income families. I would like to see some exceptions given to developers to make it affordable and attractive of them to build here in Montgomery.









Nick Haddad




Occupation: Quality assurance operations manager


Experience: have managed several multimillion-dollar companies






What are the biggest challenges the city of Montgomery is facing, and how do you plan to address those challenges?



NH: Currently some of the biggest challenges that Montgomery is facing is infrastructure—would work diligently with department of transportation to help secure a plan to widen roads and help with the massive growth we are experiencing; and growth—would work with council members and mayor to help ensure we have smart growth.



How did COVID-19 affect Montgomery from an economic standpoint, and how do you plan to help businesses and residents who were affected?



NH: COVID-19 impacted all individuals and businesses significantly financially. I would like to see us as a city start looking into grants and other resources available from the county or state to help keep individuals going until we can get back to normal.




What is your vision for Montgomery’s development in the next 20-30 years, and how does this compare to the city’s comprehensive plan for development?



NH: Montgomery's growth is coming, the best thing we can do is work as a team in city hall and ensure we have smart growth while retaining the aesthetics of what makes Montgomery great. My thoughts align with that of the comprehensive plan for development and now is the time to ensure we follow through with it.



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