Georgetown’s New Mayor is ready to get to work. He shared his thoughts about priorities and moving beyond politics, to governing.
What things do you plan to work on first?
The transportation bond is on the front burner, and we will push out more information than voters ever thought they could know. Plus, there will be ample opportunity for feedback and questions. It all boils down to what we need, what we want, and what may be “luxuries.” I expect the most likely outcome is what we can accomplish without raising taxes. Compare it to your household; you need groceries, you want broadband, and you’d like to have a 70-inch plasma. We want to make mobility efficient and comfortable, but if there are things we’d like to have, and we’re willing to pay a higher tax; e.g., more sidewalks with vintage streetlights, the voters can choose.
Second, redistricting, based on 2020 census data, will begin in January. I expect a lot of change, but we will continue with seven districts according to state law, and based on shifting density in different parts of the city.
Council, staff, and community members will also begin a Charter review, which is basically the City Constitution. Sometimes updates are needed in response to changes in state laws, or to provide for better governance; it’s not unheard of to look at it and say, “We’re great, no changes needed.” This review will happen fairly quickly and any changes will be provided to the community for review and feedback.
I’m also looking forward to breaking ground on the new addition to our Safety Center; an indoor shooting range for officer training. I was very pleased that, despite our other policy differences, all three candidates in this race were very supportive of Law Enforcement, and very invested in maintaining their excellence for all our sakes.
Can we expect changes in the city’s COVID response?
We will continue to operate subject to guidance from the President, Governor, and County Judge, but I don’t anticipate any changes to the City’s orders until after the District 2 runoff election. I promised in my campaign that I would involve the entire council in all COVID-related decisions, and I intend to keep that promise.
What will transparency look like for you?
As soon as we are able, we will re-open Council meetings to the public. The process works best when people are physically present, and I want to take a hard look at what decisions and discussion take place in Executive Session vs. on the dais—we will always err on the side of public debate. I also plan to look at open records requests; when determining what gets disclosed we also need to err on the side of disclosing anything we can. The law prescribes some ‘always’ and ‘never’ decisions; it’s the discretionary items that require a fresh look.
Is it too early to ask you about recovery for businesses in Georgetown?
The downtown square is ‘blowing and going’ and is only going to get better. We will have three more restaurants in next six months and a new R Bank office building. Even while Georgetown is doing well, no one does business in a vacuum, so we need to consider everyone we are connected to locally, statewide, and in the nation. It could benefit Georgetown if companies start to leave larger cities and set up their offices in places like Georgetown.
After a long campaign, what do you look forward to most?
Definitely just getting to work. I finally get to do all the stuff we’ve been promising to do; which is basically everything from question 1. And I ask Georgetown to please hold me accountable for what I said and planned to do. I welcome that feedback, and I will listen. People seem to be happy and optimistic about where we are as a city, and where we’re headed; that was the message of my campaign, and I believe the vote reflected that.