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Questionnaire by GSACC to Reed Williams District 8

 

 

The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce 2009 City Council and Mayoral Candidates

 

Questionnaire

 

Reed Williams

District 8

 

 

1. Economic Development, Job Creation, and Retention: How would you

encourage job creation and retention? Please describe the model/tools and/or

incentives you would support to boost economic development in San Antonio.

What are your thoughts on addition organized labor entering the San Antonio

region?

The City’s role in economic development is to provide a superior environment

for the growth of existing organizations or to attract outside firms to San

Antonio. The critical elements which must be provided by the City are as

follows:

(1) an ample and safe supply of water,

(2) an advantage in cost of energy,

(3) deterministic and transparent land and structure development

procedures,

(4) safe and desirable neighborhoods with excellent response time by

emergency services, and

(5) an efficient transportation system.

By concentrating on these five elements the City will get on the short list of

firms considering a move to San Antonio and make it easier for our existing

firms to grow. We must be very careful offering incentives to attract outside

organizations which might put our current firms at a competitive

disadvantage.

Unions are a result of poor management. If San Antonio has well managed

organizations, unions will not enter the local market. I oppose the “card

check” legislation because it allows aggressive employees who want a union

to place extreme pressure on the employees who don’t want to join a union.

2. Emergency Services: Do you believe that the City of San Antonio provides

adequate Police and Fire protection and other emergency services for its

citizens? Please explain. If additional personnel are required, what funds will

be used to pay for service enhancements?

The City does not have adequate emergency services as defined by response

times in many areas of the city. Some improvements might be made by

changing policies and procedures in the delivery of the emergency services.

In addition to more efficient use of our current resources, additional police,

fire and EMS personnel are required. Equipment to deliver the services and

facilities to house and maintain the equipment and personnel are also

needed. Emergency services must be the first priority of San Antonio or any

other city. If emergency services are given the proper priority in the budget

process, then lower priority projects or programs must be eliminated. To

select specific projects or programs before working through a budget cycle

would be irresponsible. We must allow all departments the respect of

presenting their case, but in the end the citizens will not tolerate additional

taxes.

3. Education: What role should local government have on education and

workforce issues? How can the City be involved in student mentoring and

dropout prevention programs? If addition monetary resources are being

recommended, from where will they come?

The independent school districts should be responsible for education and the

community college system should be responsible for workforce development.

4. Water: What do you think about the status of water with regard to the

current drought? What is your plan to improve the quantity and quality of

water for our City and region? How will your proposal(s) be funded?

The most pressing environmental quality of life issue facing San Antonio is

water. We are currently in one of the most severe droughts that San Antonio

has experienced in the last 100 years and it is not getting enough attention.

Water is the limiting factor for sustainable growth in San Antonio, the South

Texas region and Texas.

First, San Antonio must take a regional approach to this pressing problem.

Through SAWS, the city must work with regional organizations and State of

Texas agencies to develop long term and sustainable water plans which work

for the entire region and not just for the benefit individual groups or the

larger communities.

Second, we must diversify our supply of water. For too long, San Antonio has

depended almost exclusively on the Edwards Aquifer. Treatment of water

from other local water zones is a partial solution. The project to treat water

from the Lower Wilcox appears viable if done with an incremental approach.

Third, water reuse and conservation offers a common sense and sustainable

immediate increase in available potable water. SAWS has done an excellent

job educating the public on conservation as we all work to reduce our “water

footprint”.

5. Transportation: What transportation projects would you recommend and

support in order to alleviate our traffic congestion issues? How would your

proposed projects be funded? Please share your thoughts on the

recommendations of the San Antonio Bexar County Transportation Task

Force.

Transportation must be viewed from a short and long term perspective. The

short term perspective is important to alleviate obvious problems such as the

“super street” to reduce congestion on US 281 north of Loop 1604. However,

the real benefits arise from developing an integrated and regional

transportation plan as initiated with the San Antonio/Bexar County

Transportation Task Force. Transportation must be the skeleton around

which we grow and redevelop San Antonio, Bexar County and the

surrounding communities. Such a plan provides leadership and transparency

for how we will progress.

In the past, we have had the luxury and curse of ample land on which to

develop our homes and businesses. Development drove the transportation

system. Today we must develop a transportation plan to drive development.

The recommendation in the January 2009 report of the San Antonio/Bexar

County Transportation Task Force is more of a conclusion that we cannot be

competitive without an integrated and efficient transportation system. The

most valuable parts of the report are the findings and the identification of

gaps which will be studied in the next six months.

6. Energy: Do you believe our municipally owned electric utility has done a good

job diversifying our energy mix, including coal, natural gas, nuclear power,

wind and solar? Please share your thoughts on the importance of each of

these sources.

Yes!

Coal is currently very economical and provides a very stable and domestic

supply of energy, but the cost could increase with future legislation and more

restrictive regulations.

Natural Gas is more expensive than coal, but will continue to provide an

excellent domestic fuel to provide peek power requirements.

Nuclear Power is our best option to eventually replace the base load supply of

electricity now provided by coal which will be probably be required to reduce

greenhouse gas emissions. My only concern with nuclear power is building

new projects on time and within budget.

Wind and Solar will continue to grow as technological advances are made and

will provide a meaningful supply at the margin which can have a very positive

effect on prices and a reduction in foreign oil demand.

7. City Budget and Finance: What are your top five budget priorities for FY

2009-2010? What is your position on increasing revenue streams for the City

to address basic city services, such as streets, drainage and other

infrastructure improvements?

The top budget priorities in the General Fund are police and fire/EMS. My

primary concern is how we will break our dependence on the increasing

supply of tax dollars over the last ten years. The growth of the General Fund

has been fueled by a compound annual growth rate of 8% for property taxes

and 4% for sales taxes over the last ten years. In addition, the decline in

hydrocarbon prices will reduce the 14% which the City takes out of the CPS

revenues. This large and sustained increase in tax dollars has ended. Now

we must balance the budget without resorting to taking additional taxes from

our citizens. The only solution is to reduce the demand for our tax dollars.