Candidates for Granbury City Council Q&A

October 19, 2013

Early voting for the Nov. 5 General Election begins Monday.

Three places for the Granbury City Council will be on the ballot – mayor, Place 2 and Place 4. Eleven candidates are vying for those spots.

All early voting will take place at Annex 1, 1410 W. Pearl St. The hours are as follows: Oct. 21-25, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26, 7 to 7; Oct. 28-30, 8 to 5; and Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1, 7 to 7.

We invited the candidates to provide written statements regarding their qualifications for office, why they are running for City Council and what they consider to be the main issues in their race.

Tony Allen is running for re-election in Place 2. The Place 4 race is for the one year that remains of Nin Hulett’s term. Hulett, the mayor pro tem, is running for mayor.

Here are the candidates’ statements, in ballot order.

mayor’s race

DAVID SOUTHERN

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

I have:

1. Earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Psychology;

2. Owned a local and regional business for more than 33 years. Our business has grown from a handful of clients and employees to more than 200 clients and 200 employees;

3. Served Granbury for 24 years on City Council, with 15 years of that experience as Mayor;

4. Lived and worked in Granbury for more than 33 years; and

5. Worked extensively with state and national officials to address Granbury’s needs.

I am running for office because of my earnest desire to see Granbury continue to be a great small city where people want to live and work and recreate. Serving the citizens of our community is my goal, and I’m offering my proven leadership skills. Let’s join together and get back to the future of Granbury.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

I would address the issues facing Granbury today by:

1. Taking a more aggressive approach with Brazos River Authority (BRA) to maintain Lake Granbury at a level usable for recreational activities that keep the economy thriving. Fighting against BRA’s attempt to sell additional water rights in the lake, and stopping the city from selling unused water rights downstream to Dow Chemical.

2. Calling for an election to consider selling Granbury’s electric system. Granbury’s electric rates are too high—they’re 29 percent higher than the nearest competitor. As Mayor, I would ask our citizens to make this decision.

3. Leading the Council away from micro-management. This lack of leadership has led to enormous overruns in spending, especially on the Opera House rehabilitation and payments to former employees.

4. Approaching Granbury’s economic development and transportation needs more aggressively. The Economic Development Corporation hasn’t had a director for seven months, and efforts to widen U.S. Highway 377 have been abandoned. We need a mayor who can work with state officials to address our transportation needs and get funding.

5. Providing a resource officer in every school to provide safety to our children and teachers. Protecting our children will build respect for law enforcement.

SCOOTER THOMAS

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

1. I am a Christian.

2. I have worked as Executive Vice President of several organizations, the last being the Granbury Association of Realtors. Prior to that worked as manager or EVP of 4 different Chambers of Commerce. I have also been active in various volunteer organizations and President of several.

I am running for City Council to try and simplify the way the city gets things done and also to simplify how citizens can get their own projects done faster without so many hoops to jump through.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

1. To do whatever is necessary to maintain our lake. The present Council has got off to a good start with funding for their own lawyer and pledging monies to cooperate with LGWFOA and the County in funding for an additional law firm to try and prevent BRA from getting permission to sell more water.

2. Making our City work more efficiently in their projects and making it easier for businesses and private citizens to improve their properties.

NIN HULETT

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

I am running for Mayor because I want to serve our community, a town that I am blessed to call home and that has served me for so long. I have served on the Council for two years and have now been serving as Mayor Pro Tem for almost a year of that time; it’s been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I am giving up a remaining year of Council Place 4 service, so that I may earn a vote from our citizens to fully devote myself to take on the role of Mayor.

Qualifications? My military service experience taught me some useful life lessons and allowed me to attain a business degree. I spent 33 years as a Manager for a large corporation where I learned to work with planning and engineering issues, practiced negotiation skills, planned and worked with a solid budget, and worked to motivate team members. I am an involved member of several organizations and committees in our community and am truly and honorably motivated to help build a better Granbury today and for our future generations.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

Lake levels, economic development opportunities and tourism initiatives are the main issues as I see them. I continue to support our legal team Haynes & Boone’s involvement in the B.R.A. permit process, I also remain hopeful that negotiation with the B.R.A. can bring us some positive results and at the end of the day I still pray that our God favors our community with rain.

I strongly support our local Economic Development Corporation and its’ structured partnership with the City, County and business community. Our community wins with a team approach and planned infrastructure, in the race to bring new businesses and to encourage current business expansions here.

Tourism is critical to maintaining our community and our sales tax revenue. In light of our declining lake levels effect on tourism, I’d like to see us promote more events and help make community driven events like our Texas Independence Day Celebration, Wine Walk, Old Fashioned 4th and Candle Light Tour even more successful. Let’s brag to the rest of the world about our parks, our restaurants, our art galleries, our bed and breakfasts, our soon to open Opera House and other favorites that make Granbury great.

PLACE 2

JOHN BRATTA

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

I believe I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of experiences that qualify me for this position. I have extensive experience in: personnel management, business management, real estate, finance, safety, law, law enforcement, and budgeting.

I have a Masters Degree in School Administration from Pepperdine University and a Bachelors Degree in Police Administration. I am a retired 39 year educator with 37 of them as principal or in supervisory positions. My Credentials are in School Administration and Supervision, Political Science, Social Science, Health, Public Safety and Accident Prevention.

I have owned a marine hardware distribution company, and for 25 years a residential mortgage company. I’ve been a landlord, College Professor, Church Elder, Bible Study Teacher, and producer of the family value web page: GodBlessAmericaAgain.org.

Our City Council has made many decisions that reflect haste and little consideration for ramifications and cost. I am very thorough and conscientious in all that I do and my skills and experience are well suited for this job. Other than my residence I own no other properties or businesses in Granbury, nor do I plan to. I believe that I can add to the Council a professional level ability to better protect our city and give you the Responsible representation you deserve.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

The lake level is the most important issue to our city’s economic future. After fifteen months of low and unsafe levels, we have finally taken legal steps to stop the BRA from uncontrolled water sales. Low lake levels can effect water quality and result in lost revenues. Lakefront property tax revenues will continue to drop, as will tax revenues from marine related sales, such as boats, jet skis, fuel, restaurants, hotels, stores, and businesses that profit from lake related use.

How we spend money is a vital issue. A 1.2 million dollar purchase that turns into 3.4 million. Boat docks that cost over six figures that sit incomplete and purchases that aren’t awarded to the lowest bidder are just a few of my concerns.

We need to plan ahead and show greater anticipation to potential problems. This will help keep our tax rates low and may allow for reduction in utility costs. We must be conservative with our spending making sure that our financial commitments are cost effective. I have the experience and ability to help make these Responsible cost effective decisions. Please consider me JOHN BRATTA for City Council and help insure a healthy future for our city of Granbury!

TONY ALLEN

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

It has been an honor representing Granbury on City Council for the last three years. My qualifications are based on 30+ years of results oriented business ownership in manufacturing, construction and retail. I’m also a founding shareholder in a bank since 2004 where I have learned additional skills on finances. My experience as a past president of the Lake Granbury Waterfront Owners Association has been indispensable while addressing the lake level and the BRA. With my background and experience, I have taken this common sense approach along with life’s experience to City Hall.

I’m running for re-election because I love our city and I believe our citizens deserve representatives who care about the city first and themselves second.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

The main issue is our lake level. If it does not return to normal levels, property rates will continue to drop and the reduced tax revenue for our schools and city will cause draconian cuts and a tax rate increase. We will then become uncompetitive and a mass departure will continue to drop property values. This is why I’m constantly pushing our state officials to address the management errors of the BRA. Seeking a political solution will not solve our problems long term however doing this along with the law suit against the BRA will solve this problem long term.

The second issue is government spending at City Hall. While I have helped straighten out previous boards’ misappropriation of funds (remember the million dollar parking lot) more work is needed. We have stopped the back room deals and votes on items not explained in open meetings. However, more work is needed.

PHOENIX VAN DAELE

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

My qualifications for City Council are a strong desire to keep Granbury moving in the right direction, and a good bit of common sense. Although I have been active in the past in organizations like the Granbury Area Bed and Breakfast Association, I do believe in citizen politicians.

When this country was founded it was under the idea that average people would choose to serve to represent those around them. Today the City Council is populated by business men and people who can afford to self finance their campaigns. I believe we need to change this and have effective leadership that is not tied to the business interests that so easily influence many decisions. I believe in helping all of Granbury, small and large from the Bed and Breakfasts to the hotels, large businesses to small ones.

I do not believe that to make good common sense choices for this city requires owning a business, or having multiple degrees. I think that what we do need is someone willing to listen and look at all options before making a decision.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

There are many issues in this race, from raising the Lake level, the long term future of the square, tourism, and city building regulations. I believe that some issues are important that are not mentioned daily by people, like how Granbury is going to sustain it’s growth toward the future.

I have heard candidates say that without our very, very strict building codes we will become a city of metal sheds. But I believe that the people of Granbury are better then this and should be allowed to expand existing business without having to redo the whole building. Granbury should continue to attract new businesses and continue the movement of our city. Each new business helps our fiscal situation and becomes a platform toward the future with jobs that help all of us. I think we should protect our future by doing what is needed to fix the lake as this affects us all. By doing these things and having a bit of common sense we can improve tourism, expand Granbury’s economy, and make Granbury a great place to live for all of it’s people.

J.T. WINN

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

My professional experiences bring a very well-rounded, business-oriented background to this race. I have proven leadership through 22 years with a multi-million company in the service industry as a Managing Partner. I have received top-notch leadership training from top-notch leaders throughout my professional tenure. I have supervised, coached and mentored hundreds of team members throughout the years, all with the desire to equip them to succeed in their futures. I have served the public with face to face interaction with hundreds of people each day with the ability to overcome difficult situations to gain satisfactory outcomes. I know good business decisions and will apply those if I am elected to serve as a City Council member.

I have the desire to serve God, my family and my community. I have spent the past 13 years serving our youth and now feel that I am equipped and should serve my community as a councilman with God leading my morals and integrity to help lead our great city into the future. I have earned the trust of many of Granbury’s citizens and know I can be trusted to act on the behalf of the entire city.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

Our city is facing economical growth pains. By this, I mean our city has become a destination area, whether due to tourism or new residents. In order to manage the growth, we must have the infrastructure moving ahead of the growth. Our public service departments must be properly staffed and equipped to protect and maintain our city. We must insure our city can provide every amenity possible to serve our citizens to keep our tax revenues rising to help fund the inevitable growth. The city leadership must have the ability to discern responsible planning and spending to insure our citizens are properly represented.

Obviously the low lake level is top of mind for most citizens as it affects everyone regardless if we are lakefront property owners or not. Lake Granbury is the economic fuel that drives our city. We cannot afford for lakefront property owners to move out of Granbury due to lake levels, creating declining property values and loose tax revenues in lake recreational usage. We must protect our valuable water resources with every means necessary to insure we’re properly represented concerning The BRA. We must seek solutions with the BRA to hold higher water levels in Lake Granbury.

PLACE 4

KEN GREY

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

For more than 2 decades, I served in leadership and management positions within the U.S. Government and in the private sector. After 13 years of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, I became head of the Coast Guard’s Medals and Awards program as a personnel management specialist, I oversaw all Coast Guard award activity, including the Department of Transportation’s Lifesaving medals. I authored the award citations earned by military and civilian heroes. I visited Coast Guard units, providing leadership training, and reward and recognition philosophy to military leaders. Working with my Army and Navy counterparts, I drafted eligibility criteria for the Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm medals, which are proudly worn by our military heroes today.

After leaving government, I oversaw the daily operations of a large health insurance operations team that supported over 500 employees. Now retired, with nine grandchildren, I proudly work part time as a Customer Service Manager at Walmart, where I work with some amazing people! With a strong leadership and management background, I plan to bring fresh perspectives on how our local government can work together with the citizens of Granbury for the most effective and prosperous future for our city.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

The future and prosperity of our children are the most important issue today. Of course we must protect our lake, preserve property values, aggressively promote tourism, improve our oversight of municipal projects, and require accountability from contractors. We must also manage our revenue wisely and make financial decisions in an open and democratic forum. All candidates agree on those issues.

However, as leaders, we need to energize our community in promoting the well-being of our children. They are the future of this city. They need a safe environment in which to learn. Our schools must be protected from potential violence and unexpected threats. I support project-based learning to provide opportunities to experience the satisfaction of contributing to the community and helping others in need. I advocate after-school community service for school credit and teenage volunteerism. Our community needs to work together to steer our kids away from illegal drugs and other influences which jeopardize their futures.

The city council, working together with local law enforcement and the community at large, can successfully promote efforts in these areas. I will lead the way in this effort. Let’s get people talking about Granbury! A place to visit…a place to live!

TOM BAKER

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

I have worked for the past 4 years to become knowledgeable about the workings of Granbury in order to be in a position worthy of being elected to the City Council. I feel my involvement with the Merchant’s Association, the Bed & Breakfast Association, the Opera Guild and the Brigade, has given me great exposure to the needs of our community. I have organized/supported many festivals and charity fund raisers.

I served on the Charter Review Committee in 2010 and am currently in my third year on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. I have participated with many other city boards which provide me a working knowledge of our government. I have attended almost every Council meeting since 2009 [sometimes in a wheelchair]. I have attended the past 4 city budget 2-day workshops. They have shown me how are taxes are collected and spent and how we are planning for the future.

I want to show the people of Granbury that someone on the Council DOES hear them, DOES understand their concerns and WILL work to resolve the issues that Granbury is faced with. We need a PROACTIVE City Council, not REACTIVE.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

Lake Level – with LGWOA leading the way, the City Council and the County Commissioners are finally working together to get BRA to abide by their own rules.

Incomplete Boat Docks – 3 1/2 years and all we have is a ‘forrest’ of pipes near the Hilton Garden Inn. Lawyers have made thousands. All we have are ugly pipes. It’s time City Council put a stop to this and insure the docks are completed in a timely manner.

Excessive Employee Dismissal Pay – almost a half million dollars have been paid to dismissed city employees. Why has council allowed employees to perform poorly and then dismiss them with big fat checks?

Planning for future water and sewer treatment plants.

Zoning Issues – restrictive portions of the zoning code make remodeling old buildings difficult. The codes need to be rewritten in order to allow the buildings to be both functional and adhere to our historic preservation guidelines.

Increase the Sales Tax Revenue – by developing future industry and tourism opportunities, thereby reducing property taxes.

Encourage future historic preservation efforts.

TONY MOBLY

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

I have been a business owner for over 20 years. Working with budgets and making payroll along the way, I have been successful at it. I have also served on several boards and have worked on many projects bringing opposing sides together to work toward common goals. These same dynamics exist on the City Council. I believe I can help.

I am running to serve a community that has been very good to me and my family. My wife and live and work in Granbury. We have a house and business here. Our thoughts about the city of Granbury… WE ARE ALL IN!

In fact, Kathy and I have agreed to donate the annual council salary to local charities. I WOULD CHALLENGE MY OPPONENTS TO DO THE SAME THING. I am not in this for the pay, I am in it to PAY BACK.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

First and foremost, the lake level is a problem. I have lived on the lake since moving to Granbury. Regional droughts compounded by gross mismanagement have left us with what we have now. Granbury, BRA, and area businesses must come together with a plan that allows us to have a full lake no matter the conditions.

Tourism: With years of renovations on the square, we now have a courthouse and soon an Opera House that we can be proud of. These can be used to bring guests and residents back downtown. We must have the right people in place to take advantage of this opportunity and promote Granbury as a regional attraction for years to come.

Water/Sewer: It is imperative that we look at options to reuse and recycle every drop we can. Our city system is close to needing a major overhaul.

Airport expansion: Set to begin soon, this will make Granbury the envy of our surrounding counties and is critical for corporate growth and tourism in the city and county.

Lack of Transparency: We cannot deal with issues behind closed doors. Let’s work in the open so that the citizens of Granbury hold us accountable for our decisions.

ROSE B. MYERS

What are your qualifications to hold elected office, and why are you running for City Council?

All of my qualifications are grounded within my belief in having sound integrity, strong leadership, and an unparalleled work ethic.

Furthermore, I hold a Bachelors of Science degree and currently work in healthcare, focusing on patients with autoimmune disease.

It has always been an innate passion of mine to serve people, and I have a desire to transfer that zeal into serving the citizens of Granbury. I currently manage a 4 million dollar territory, and have served on various boards in leadership positions.

To prepare and understand our city government, I attended almost two years of council meetings and the 2013/14 budget meeting, where I decided that my corporate experience would be highly beneficial to the council. I attend a local church, support local organizations, committed to buying local products, have excellent rapport within my community, and frequently participate in fundraisers, functions, and events.

I am running for City Council because I believe I can help grow Granbury to its fullest potential by being a positive visionary. It is time to have strong leadership and direction in Granbury, and with my qualifications I will commit to protect the city and citizens of Granbury.

What do you consider the main issues in your race?

Three issues that need to be addressed are lake levels, fiscal responsibility and economic development. Information released by Travis James’ economic impact study concerned everyone who owns property, business, and potential investors. Lake Granbury is a cherished body of water where many people, like myself, came to fulfill their dream of retiring on the lake.

While we pray that the lake will return to its once thriving conditions, we need a firm plan in place if the water conditions do not improve. It will take a dedicated team of council members to stay on top of our changing environment, and utilize our current resources to their fullest potential.

Moreover, we have to make smarter fiscal decisions by limiting our spending to what this city can afford. We cannot continue to place unexpected tax burdens on the citizens. Finally, we must continue to search out ways to bring business and higher paying jobs to Granbury.

Staying positive, purposeful planning, and being a long-term visionary are qualifications that I bring to the table to address these main issues. By acknowledging the stress on property and business owners, we will successfully tackle the concerns of Granbury as one, cohesive unit.

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