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Windwehen to retire from city in February

By DAVID TEWES
June 22, 2010 at 1:22 a.m.

City Manager Charles WindwehenWindwehen

PRELIMINARY BUDGET PROPOSAL

Calls for no employee raises, personnel reductions and a reduction of $16,500 for the transit budget. The general fund would be cut $2.29 million from the current year.

City Manager Charles Windwehen said the tax rate options include leaving the figure at the current level of 64.5 cents for each $100 of taxable property value. The other option is to cut the rate to 64 cents.

There would be about a $5 difference in the tax bill for a $100,000 house, assuming the appraisal didn't change.

Long-time Victoria city employee Charles Windwehen announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of February.

"I've always had an exit strategy and I wanted to go out while I was at the top of my game," said Windwehen, Victoria's city manager since 2006. "It's easy to stay too long, but it's a mistake."

Windwehen said there are other things he wants to do in life, including spending time with his wife, family and friends.

The announcement came after the city council met in executive session to evaluate the job performance of Windwehen.

Windwehen's first job with the city was in 1975 as the assistant director of finance, with the task of converting the accounting system from a manual entry to a computer based operation. Within three years he assumed the role of the city secretary and was promoted to director of finance, a position he held for 17 years. In 1994, Windwehen was promoted to assistant city manager under City Manager Denny Arnold.

He served 12 years in that position and was hired by the city council as city manager in October 2006.

"He's certainly been at the helm at a period of a tumultuous period of city government," Council Member David Hagan said. "I certainly can understand."

Windwehen has had a long history of service to the city and the community and he's earned the right to hang up his spurs, he said.

Mayor Will Armstrong said he has nothing but respect for the job Windwehen has done. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for an administrator that plans out his future like Charles has."

Windwehen, 59, said overall his 36 years with the city have been a positive experience.

"But to do this job right, it demands a tremendous amount of energy and it doesn't leave a lot of time for other things in life," he said.

Windwehen said he worked his way through junior high school, high school and college.

"I'm tired of such a hectic lifestyle," he said. "It's time to do other things while there's time to still enjoy it."

During the past decade the city has spent more than $200 million toward rebuilding the city's infrastructure while the city tax rate has dropped from 70 cents to 64.5 cents for each $100 of taxable property value. Major thoroughfare improvements include Ben Jordan Street, Airline Road, John Stockbauer Drive, Lone Tree Road and Laurent Street that have completed or are under way, with the Sam Houston, Red River and loop overpass projects set to begin soon.

Quality-of-life improvements added during Windwehen's tenure include the skate park, the youth sports complex, the Lone Tree Creek hike and bike trail, and the Guadalupe River paddling trail. The downtown improvement project is in progress.

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