New Rollingwood mayor seeks greater efficiency

After two failed attempts running for a Rollingwood alderman seat and one failed attempt in the Rollingwood mayoral election, newly elected Rollingwood Mayor Barry Bone has been nothing if not resilient.

Bone serves as vice president of Real Estate for Texas Industries Inc. and has been with the company for 29 years, living in Rollingwood for the last 11.

What prompted you to run for mayor?

The meetings were exceedingly long. You have to be organized and create packets for council in a way that they can review the items when they come in and they are prepared, and go through and make decisions.

There were priorities that were important to the previous mayor that are less important to me. Priorities took time, and I saw the city being managed in a way that I thought I could do better, so I ran.

What are your goals in your first term as mayor?

The highest priority is to close the deal for the purchase of the LCRA system If everything is in order, we have authority from voters to float the bonds, and if all goes correctly, we should close it in late July or early August.

On the heels of that comes actually operating [the plant]. It's a council decision, but I think they are going to outsource the operation and maintenance of the system.

We have about $500,000 worth of fire flow water improvements that are being designed on different streets in the city to increase fire flow for fighting fires. We are taking bottlenecks out and adding capacity where we need it to bring more fire flow to the city. That's a high priority.

What did winning a close election mean to you after losing previous elections?

I lost one race by six votes, so I understand close elections, but I persevered to try to work for the city. It felt good to come in on the winning side of a close vote. I think, now that I have won, even though it was close, my main focus is to run the city for everyone. I am just focused on doing the best job that I can.

Over time, people got to know me, ultimately enough people said, 'He wants this job, and he's worked to get it. I like his ideas, and I think he would be a good change for the city.'

What else would you like to accomplish?

Another important thing going on in the city is our solid waste contract is coming up for renewal. That service touches all the public twice a week, so we are going to get input from the community about what they like about the service, what they don't like. I'm interested in single-stream recycling; it gives you the opportunity to reduce what goes in the landfill and have the trucks go once a week instead of twice, but some people may not want that. That's an important decision, and ultimately the public pays for it. We will give them what they want. We just have to be smart about how we do it.

I also want to create some key performance indicators for the council; we call them KPIs. They will be police information, water usage information, utility delinquent account information, because we are running a business, we are running a city. We want [the council] to see, at a glance, what is going on. It will allow the council to focus on problems, to see the problems and take action on [them].