Candidate seeking Denison’s Place 6 City Council seat took time this month to answer questions for the Herald Democrat ahead of the election on May 5.
Brian Hander, Rayce Guess and Charles Shearer were all asked the same questions and were not given a word limit for their answers. Candidates Donald Ashley and Jason Parks were also sent the same questions, but did not respond before the deadline for submissions.
One of the questions asked the candidates about what issues they see Denison facing during what has been called a time of growth for the city. Quotations appear exactly as they were submitted to the Herald Democrat via email.
Hander said city officials need to carefully watch growth, highlighting major corridors, within the city for future expansion.
“We have an aging infrastructure that needs updating and replacing, we will need to keep this in mind as the city continues to expand along Hwy 75 and other areas. We need to try to utilize our existing infrastructure as much as possible for future retail and commercial developments while at the same time updating this infrastructure so we can accommodate added strain of new growth.
“Planned developments such as Gateway Village greatly add to our economic base while using property in a way that is best suited for the market rather than endless numbers of strip malls and parking lots that can cause a drain on city resources with very little return benefit and revenue to the city.
“By attending meetings on future city growth and master plans, I have been able to voice my opinion on where we should target growth and what growth we should be looking for. These meetings also provide great insight into what our housing and retail market currently looks like. This information greatly aids in future decision making as our city moves forward. I hope to continue these endeavors as a council member.”
In his response, Guess said the city currently sees a variety of issues including traffic and the development and upkeep of infrastructure, but also crime prevention, and maintaining the city’s historical integrity and landscape.
“If You Fail to Plan … You Plan to Fail ! I think it will take a Group Effort of City Administration, Engineers, Council, Developers, with Input from Citizens to stay ahead of these issues associated with more growth ! Prior to any New Development Traffic Specs and Demographics should be Extensively Studied and putting into place.
“In terms of Infrastructure I see a Step by Step Plan to address the parts of the city with the most “Antiquated Water , Road and Sewer lines FIRST as with the Chestnut Street Project. Along with being Diligent in Insisting new Roads, Water, be ABOVE , Code Requirements.
“Crime Prevention we must First take care of our Current Police Force provide them with the proper pay they deserve ! We are becoming a “Training City” training Officers and Firefighters Only to lose them to cities South of us ( Including Sherman) because of pay discrepancies ! You end up with younger inexperienced workforce as the city and its problems grow .We must keep our Veteran Officers by Growing our Force and our Pay ..
“Denison is a Living , Breathing, Historical Treasure not only in terms of the State, but the Nation as well ! The 1st Free a Public School in the State, The Katy Railroad, the Building of Denison Dam and Lake Texoma, all the way to the Cattle Drives and Texas Law and Outlaws ! We must Protect and Hold these Precious parts of Denison along with our Distinct Forestry and Greenery that make Denison a Small Town City with Progressive Views and Ideals !”
“As with any older city, the need to update and replace existing infrastructure becomes necessary. We have streets in need of repair, storm water prevention issues, water and sewer lines that need to be replaced, and the need to address our housing supply in our growing community.
“The big question is how we pay for these needs. I am sure there are many ways to handle these opportunities, but there are a couple of methods that are a must. First, we must continue to educate and train our workforce Partnerships between the city, school, community college and local businesses are necessary to train and prepare our younger workforce. The attraction of new high-tech businesses that will pay higher wages will require a highly-skilled workforce.
“Second, we must expand our efforts to being quality companies and businesses to Denison. A combination of these two elements will help increase the spending within our city while improving our tax base, making improvements possible without an excessive tax burden.”