Q&A: Hear from Magnolia mayor candidates Todd Kana, Jonny Williams



HOUSTON



Mayor, city of Magnolia





*Indicates incumbent






Todd Kana*



Occupation: owner of dog grooming business


Experience: five years as a council member, 10 years as mayor, business owner and operator.






Why are you running for election as mayor?



TK: I have lived here my entire life, it is only natural to want to give back. I have enjoyed serving the citizens of Magnolia and I wish to continue. We have so many projects that I have been heavily involved in that have yet to complete or even start. I feel I need to stay to see them through.



What do you want to accomplish in your term, should you be elected mayor?



TK: Continue to upgrade and expand our infrastructure. Continue to bring in sales-tax producing businesses, so that we can continue to lower our property tax rate just as we have [in] many of my 10 years a mayor.



What are your budget priorities for the city?



TK: Budgeting for infrastructure upgrades will be a big part of the budget for years to come. We must also continue to maintain our streets, ditches and parks. Another priority of mine will be our police department. I will always make sure our police department is adequately staffed and that our officers have the equipment they need to not only be safe, but keep the citizens of Magnolia safe.



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



TK: The most important duty is making sure the will of the people is carried out and the city is prepared for the future. I believe I have done this as mayor with balanced budgets, property tax cuts, infrastructure expansion and building cash reserves.



What are the major issues the city currently faces?



TK: Expanding our water and wastewater facilities in preparation for the growth that is coming. Financing these projects so not to place the burden of the expansion on the existing citizens is a critical part.









Jonny Williams



Occupation: retired


Experience: over 20 years of service to the city; city council member since January 2014; chairman of 4A; board member of 4B, planning and zoning commission, and Magnolia Historical Society






Why are you running for election as mayor?



JW: The main reason is with all the things that are going on and the growth that’s coming to Magnolia, it’s evident one of the things we need [is] a full-time mayor or someone that’s available all of the time. ... I’m talking about in person to meet with developers. I’ve been doing that anyway. ... We just need somebody who’s got the time to spend on a full-time basis or be at city hall when needed. ... I’ve still got some things that I’ve like to get done. Obviously, we’ve got sewer problems, water problems, we’ve got all of those. Transportation is being worked on...which like everything else as soon as it’s done it’s going to be too small. ... Longer term things I’d like to be able to continue—quality of life things, some beautification.



What do you want to accomplish in your term, should you be elected mayor?



JW: The things that are really pressing—water, sewer, transportation, those things are the main things that we’ve got to address basically immediately, immediately being the next 2-3 years. I have beautification things I want to get done. ... We’ve got to prepare for our maintenance department to expand. ... I’d like to get a new maintenance facility created if we can get some funds freed up for that. ... The police department’s going to have to grow, the maintenance department is going to have to grow, so all of those things are extremely important but all of them take money.



What are your budget priorities for the city?



JW: Obviously the whole budget needs to be expanded, but the problem with that is like I said it’s hard to expand it when you don’t have the sales tax [revenue] primarily. ... The only way we’re going to do that is with commercial projects and retail projects. It’s the chicken and the egg.



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



JW: I think it’s primarily to be available. I’m not going to say there’s emergencies every day, but there’s just times during the week and you never know what day or when there’s going to be an urgency or a meeting with a particular developer that’s got a problem or wants to do something. ... And just the day-to-day things. ... If we don’t have somebody who can devote their time to it, it’s not going to get done. ... Magnolia’s going to continue to grow ... but I think it’s a lot better to manage growth than let growth manage you. ... I want to lay a good framework, a good foundation for the city to grow on.



What are the major issues the city currently faces?



JW: The major issues facing Magnolia City Council are sewer [and] water [improvements]. Transportation is getting some relief so it’s not as high on the priority list as it used to be, but as soon as the growth [hits], the transportation almost as soon as they get it done, it’s already too small. ... We do not want Magnolia to lose its hometown atmosphere. That’s one of the reasons people are moving to Magnolia. ... I tell developers this all the time—we do not want FM 1488, FM 1774 to become a FM 1960. We don’t want all the signs; we want to keep our trees, we want to keep our country feel. That’s important to us. It’s not worth destroying the environment to build another [big] box store. ... It’s not worth losing our quality of life to build another box store. Do we need them? Yes we do; we need the sales tax. But we need to do it in a way that is good for everybody.



By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.