When Todd Ruge was elected mayor of Buda in December, his seat on City Council was left vacant. The city will hold a special election Jan. 26 to fill the position. Vying for the spot are former City Council member Cathy Chilcote, who lost her seat in November's election to George Haehn; Wiley Hopkins, a former Housing and Development executive and current vice chairman of the city's Zoning Board of Adjustments; and Amy Proctor, a 30-year Buda resident.
What is the biggest challenge facing Buda today, and what will you do to address it?
Chilcote: I think the issue is the same issue that has been coming up for the last 10 years: People want to live here, but we have to continue to manage that growth. Over the last 12 years, we've worked on providing better drinking water because it didn't always used to be this good. We have excellent schools, and people gravitate towards that. We still have to work on controlling and managing that growth.
Hopkins: I have taken a position of controlled growth being the paramount issue for the city. Without sound considerations of proposed expansions of industry, land development and the impact on the city's infrastructure, there could be serious implications to the community. I will put emphasis on planning, obtaining and reviewing the realistic, sound timelines and projections from the city's departments, i.e. Transportation and Public Works.
Proctor: I think it's the runaway growth and the frivolous spending that the city is doing. And then on top of that, they're increasing my property taxes. I would like to stop all that. Stop the spending. Stop the runaway growth.
What is something unique that you bring to the position?
Chilcote: I have experience in getting things done. I don't believe that either candidate can say that. I've worked on many committees and been responsible for several businesses coming to town. I worked with U.S. Foods very closely, I originated the Trail of Lights, and I have brought a lot of donations to the school district, and I have continued to work on partnering with commercial industry to help fund a lot of programs in the city. We have a lot of parkland in Buda. Parkland does not just serve as a place for kids to go play on a play structure, it also serves as a quiet space in neighborhoods, and you need that. I think the biggest thing is you can't focus on where you're going unless you know where you've been.
Hopkins: My past accomplishments and experience reflect my ability to work well with others in public and private partnerships and my results-oriented personality. I possess a highly diversified, experienced background in commercial banking, community development and executive management. I've been recognized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Award for Increasing Homeownership in the State of Texas.
Proctor: I've been a citizen of Buda for 30 years. I've never run for a political office. I'm not a politician. I want to represent all the citizens of Buda and not just special-interest groups.
What will you do to maintain Buda's "small-town charm" while also ensuring it is able to grow in a healthy way?
Chilcote: I think it's important to note that you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been. So we've been able to address a lot of issues related to growth over the past 12 years. I think by continuing to move forward with infrastructure, continuing to channel that growth with economic development, good choices for economic development, we will continue to attract businesses as long as there is a good, solid workforce. We have agreements with ACC as far as classes and certifications that are going to be offered.
Hopkins: With the continued growth that the city will experience, it will demand creative thinking and planning in order to soften the urban sprawl and protect the charm and historic center of Buda. To ensure that this will be accomplished, I will bring extensive experience from serving as a department director for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and on the advisory board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas in assisting both large and small cities in large-scale renovation, construction of housing and public works in urban and rural areas in Texas and five adjacent states. It will be imperative that the city's comprehensive plan is not compromised for any special-interest ventures and that all strategic plans assure the neighborhoods in the community are buffered from the impact that commercial and industrial expansion brings.
Proctor: I would like to limit the areas of growth. We all moved here to get away from large cities and all the traffic, and that's what we have now. The citizens of Buda moved here to live in a small town. Again, limit the growth.
What is one word that a friend would use to describe you?
What was the last book you read?
Chilcote: No Easy Day by Mark Owen
Hopkins: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Proctor: Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore