City elections shaping up to be gripping

June 19, 2013

Races for the Granbury City Council could end up being as hot as the summer weather.

Former longtime Mayor David Southern acknowledged Monday that he has been conducting a citizen survey in preparation of possibly running again for mayor, or even for a council member seat.

“It (the survey) indicated that most people are not happy with the progress the city’s making these days,” said Southern, who spent 17 years on the City Council before being defeated by Rickie Pratt in May 2010.

Also on Monday, Mayor Pro Tem Nin Hulett told the Hood County News something he had previously shied away from stating: he intends to run for a full term as mayor. He has been subbing for Pratt since the mayor had a stroke in late December.

Tony Allen, too, on Monday confirmed his intention to run again. He hinted he might run for mayor instead of his Place 2 seat, but indicated that it’s not likely.

“I’ve got some people that want me to run for mayor, but I like Nin,” he said. “I think he’s done a good job. I hate to run against him.”

The mayor’s seat and Allen’s Place 2 seat are up in the normal rotation for the next election, scheduled for Nov. 5, but Hulett’s Place 4 council seat will be there as well. Whoever gets elected to that seat will serve for just one year before the position goes on the ballot again, in 2014.

“I have made that commitment (to run for mayor),” Hulett said. “I have told people that I’m running. I think it’s fair to the citizens to know it up front and to know it in time to have an opportunity to talk to me. And, also, I think it’s only fair to people thinking about running against me.”

The filing period opens July 27 and closes at 5 p.m. on Aug. 26.

City Secretary Dee Arcos said that she will not have candidate packets ready until probably a week before the filing period opens.

However, anyone who is considering running can find candidate information on the Secretary of State’s website (www.sos.state.tx.us) or the website of the Texas Ethics Commission (www.ethics.state.tx.us).

Southern said his survey indicates that the top issues among citizens are the lake level, transportation and “finishing city projects on time and on budget.”

The former mayor said that renovation of the Opera House – which saw multiple problems and multiple delays before finally getting on track, but with a much higher price tag than previously expected – could have been done much faster, and even under budget, had the City Council accepted the gift of the St. Helen’s building for expansion.

As for transportation, Southern noted that nothing has been done on the expansion of Highway 377 between Highway 144 and Old Acton Highway, which was approved for pass-through funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) back in 2009.

But County Judge Darrell Cockerham said that TxDOT asked the county to relinquish that pass-through funding so that the Cresson intersection could have priority.

Allen agreed with Southern that the lake level is a significant issue for voters. He said that Southern has been attending meetings of the Lake Granbury Waterfront Homeowners Association and Friends (LGWOA) – a group that Allen is a member and past president of.

Debates about the lake level and the Brazos River Authority have often included the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant. The plant intends to add two reactors, which would increase the company’s need for water from Lake Granbury. Hulett’s wife works for Luminant, which operates the plant.

With these factors, it is likely that the lake level will be a campaign issue.

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