QUESTIONS FOR EARLY CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES
1. What are your reasons for wanting to serve on the city council?
2. How would you plan for the future, addressing specifically the city’s current budget and its infrastructure, police and fire coverage needs?
3. What would you recommend to enhance the quality of life for Early residents (in areas such as parks and recreation and a community center) and how should these items be paid for?
4. What should the council do to attract more business and industry to the city?
5. How effectively is city government, including the council, communicating with its citizens? Does anything need to be done to improve the process?
1. I was appointed a few months ago to fill the vacancy left by Mike Woods. After serving these last months I have enjoyed seeing the direction the City of Early is going and I am proud to be a part of it. There is a great future for Early and the decisions made now will be important.
2. I do believe that we are moving in the right direction with our infrastructure. There are still many needs to address. We still have areas that flood and hopefully those will be taken care of soon. As any city grows there is an increase in needs. The council is trying to attend to the needs. A new fire truck was purchased for the fire department. A drug dog has been a great addition to the police force. There are a lot of things in process and I would hope that with hard work and determination we can do the very best for Early.
3. I would love to see a community center and more parks. I would love to see these improvements along with hiking trails, more baseball fields, soccer fields and even possibly a public swimming pool. We have many young people in our area and we do need to meet their needs.
I know that the city is pursuing and applying for grants now I would want to try to get grants to fund these items. The Early Economic Developmental Committee and the Chamber of Commerce are doing wonderful things in helping in these areas.
4. I think many businesses are really looking at Early. Of course infrastructure is the means to attract these businesses. I do believe we need to address what we can do to bring the businesses on in. Early has grown quickly in the last few years and we are trying to play catch up. Early has a great future and I think we need to be aware of future growth as well as taking care of the present needs.
5. I know that communication is never as good as it could be. The newspaper and radio are great avenues of communication. I do wish more Early residents would attend the council meetings to learn what is going on and to also have their voice heard. As a council member I am always wanting to know the thoughts of the citizens. It takes everyone in the community to make it work.
1. Reasons for wanting to continue to serve are simple. Primarily to improve the living conditions of all our citizens. City government is an extremely complex business. A sizable business. It takes awhile to understand how, why and when things are done and accomplishing those things while doing so in an open manner is not easy. the needs of our community are numerous and funds are limited, thus sound, informed and farsighted decisions must be made constantly to get the most for the least. An open, honest dialogue with our community is imperative to solving our drainage, recreational and overall quality-of-life issues.
2. Since I have been on council, a citywide master plan has been developed both for the city overall and parks and recreation. The current and future budgets need to be analyzed to make sure we are being prudent in obligating funds to improve services in areas such as public works, public safety and recreation. Recent procurement of a new fire truck and upgrading of pumper/tanker equipment enhance our ability to protect our citizens’ property. I continue to be an outspoken advocate of our police department and together with other council members and concerned citizens, do all we can to see they are properly supplied with what they need to safely do their jobs. Recent fund-raising efforts by my wife, Darlene Gray, resulted in a substantial donation to the support of the Early Police Department K-9 unit.
3. Recent addition of a field for older boys (largely due to the generous contributions of R&S Industries) freed up a field for other youth, and lights were added to a field facilitating more nighttime play which have helped to add to the number of youth who can participate in sports at our city park. Relocation of our city public works facility outside our parks grounds remains a high priority of mine. Grants and donations from the state, our citizens and businesses along with funding from city budgets remain our primary funding sources for our parks. An ongoing study of potential community center facilities and sources of funding are a continued focuses of this council and our chamber of commerce. As this research progresses, I envision community meetings taking place for broad based input.
4. Council and EEDC continue to communicate regularly to enhance opportunities for business, both existing and proposed. Assisting existing business, in my opinion, is just as important as attracting new ones. We continue to explore new vehicles which may be utilized to attract and keep business and help them prosper. Enhancing the appearance of our community is an integral part of this effort.
5. There is always room for improvement in communication with our citizens. I would like to see the Early Edition of the Brownwood Bulletin utilized, space permitting, for community communication. I think the Bulletin provides an excellent platform to this end. Most importantly, I encourage all citizens to attend council meetings, stay informed and voice their opinions and suggestions. The broader the base of participation in our city’s governing process, the more talent would be at hand and more positive things could be accomplished more rapidly. We do not know it all and I personally welcome input from our community. I have had over the last years, while standing behind my barber chair in Early, a great opportunity to hear from a somewhat captive audience just what they think, both good and bad. Knowing what is outside the box, so to speak, is priceless.
1. My reason for wanting to serve is one of caring for the community where I have chosen to raise my family. I think Early has the potential for tremendous growth that will benefit all of our citizens and I believe my background in real estate and my experience at my current position with the Texas Department of Transportation can serve me well.
2. I believe the city council has made some good decisions with our current budget, but here is more work to be done. With the potential for more businesses coming to Early, we must be more creative with the money we have to ensure we supply all the needed services.
3. I have lived in this area for several years and consider it my home. Currently there are plans for a city park. I think that the City of Early could be a model city and I want to be a part of that. I will work diligently to find ways to fund these projects through grants, fund raisers or donations to help make this a reality.
4. I think growth is inevitable. I believe that having a city government that has dependable services and a strong infrastructure will put us at the top of the list for companies looking for a new location. We should continue to actively seek businesses that will prosper along with our community.
5. Communication is a key element in the successes of any community. We can all improve on the way information is exchanged. There are several areas that we can consider. It might be helpful to have a newsletter or a flyer available to those who prefer that type of media or we could enhance the use of the website. We might even have town meetings if our citizens show an interest.