With early voting starting April 24, candidates running for two contested City of Katy positions met at a candidate forum April 19 at the Katy ISD administration building to hash out their ideas.

Former City of Katy Council Members Hill Adams and Chuck Brawner were the mayoral candidates present. Adams has been an independent insurance agent and business owner for 35 years, and Brawner was a small business owner for eight years and Spring Branch ISD Chief of Police for 21 years before that, according to their respective campaigns.

Adams said at the forum that he believes the major threats to the city’s tax revenues are crime, online shopping and traffic that could discourage people from buying at Katy Mills and other local businesses.

“There is a risk of an economic downturn. We have been weathering [the oil and gas downturn] much better this time around than back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s,” he said. “But malls are going under all over the country. Hopefully, we don’t ever have to deal with something like that.”

Brawner said the city must attract companies to Katy to increase sales revenue and also keep money in reserves for emergencies and natural disasters.

“Forty-five percent of our whole budget is covered by sales tax,” he said. “That’s why we’re encouraging companies to come into the city for economic development.”

Attorney Jessie Campbell, bank executive Kayse Kendall Johnson and incumbent Jimmy Mendez, Jr., offered their insights and goals for Katy if they were elected Council Member Ward B.

Campbell said her first priority would be to implement more transparency within the city’s government.

“I really feel like things that are important and things that should be available to the citizens, you shouldn’t have to go looking for them,” she said. Campbell said she would improve the city’s website to help the issue.

Kendall Johnson said she plans to make representing the voice of the community her top order of business.

“The thing that I would be concerned about is meeting as many of you as possible, and I’m currently doing that going door to door,” she said. “I would love to hear from you even if you’re not voting for me.”

Mendez said in his next term he would like to push through projects currently in process.

“Most of the construction going on right now is due to [my] trying to fix errors instead of passing them down the road,” Mendez said. “So, now my main priority would be to get those done as quickly as possible. They’ve been going on a little too long for my comfort.”

The forum was presented by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce. Community Impact General Manager Casey Mitchell was one of the panelists relaying questions from the audience. Early voting runs April 24 to May 2, and Election Day is May 6.