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Victoria City Council, District 1 candidate questionnaires

By Victoria Advocate
May 2, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.

Denise Rangel

Editor's Note: Early voting is April 30-May 8 for the May 12 general election. To help our readers learn more about candidates in the contested races, we will publish responses to the League of Women Voters questionnaire. Candidates Denise Rangel and Emett Alvarez respond today.

• Name: Denise Rangel

• Age: 49

• Residence: Victoria

• Occupation: Social worker

Background and qualifications:

I have lived in Victoria for over twenty five years. I have served on Victoria City Council for the previous three years. During that time the Council has faced critical issues such as funding necessary projects during difficult economic times and creating worthwhile programs like curbside recycling.

Why you are seeking this office?

I am proud of the work that I have accomplished in my first term. Not all of my decisions have been popular, but I have done the research and have evaluated the decisions very carefully. There is more work to be done. I would like to continue to grow and create a wonderful city that residents will be proud of and visitors will appreciate. One of my focuses will be to increase the number of police officers in the community. I also want to continue to enhance livability in our city by creating more community events and growing our parks.

What is your vision for our community and what steps would you take to get us there?

I would like to see our city to continue to grow in a careful manner that is respectful to our resources and addresses our need to update our infrastructure. We need to be able to protect our small town integrity and still be open to relocating new businesses as well creating an atmosphere where our local businesses continue to prosper. I will do everything in my role as a City Council member in a prudent manner to help Victoria remain a desirable city to live, work and visit.

What challenges does our community face and how would you address them?

We need to continually upgrade our aging residential streets while keeping an eye on budgetary resources. It is important that we attract new business development with our tax incentive opportunities as well keeping our tax rate reasonable. It is imperative that we meet the safety, sanitary and recreational needs of the community. As a result of the expanding economy, we need to be able to provide temporary housing as well as permanent housing in addition to preparing for our future housing needs.

What opportunities do you see for the City to increase revenues and reduce expenses?

Victoria is currently very fortunate we have had sizable increase in sales tax due to its proximity to growing industry. We need to attract new businesses which will continue to expand our tax base. These funds will allow us to address some of the Capital improvements that we have had to delay. The annual budget is carefully scrutinized and the Council works with the city departments to make sure each dollar is spent wisely. Each one of us is entitled to receive the maximum amount of quality services, while maintaining a healthy budget that is mindful of the future.

• Name: Emett Alvarez

• Age: 50

• Residence: Victoria

• Occupation: Businessman

Background and qualifications:

I have 30 years combined business, government and community service experience. Graduated from Stroman and UT at Austin (1984-BBA). Worked for Victoria Economic Development Corp., Boy Scouts, Pedernales Electric Co-op, Congressman Greg Laughlin, Bay City Community Development Corp., Jackson County Chamber, and a business partner in a restaurant and newspaper.

Why you are seeking this office?

This is my third attempt at city council, and I continue to be very passionate about representing the citizens from South Victoria. I want to work for them and be their voice. I have 30 years combined business, government and community service experience. I earned my business degree, in management, from UT at Austin. I have worked in economic development, federal and city government, directed a sales tax corporation, chamber of commerce, and I have worked in the private sector as an employer. I feel I have a very good understanding of how the public and private sector work.

What is your vision for our community and what steps would you take to get us there?

Listening to Victorians and responding to their concerns will provide us with the greatest potential to move forward. Critical issues of quality of life and transparent government requires city leaders focus on Victoria families, while practicing fiscal restraint and sound management of our resources. City council needs to prioritize and manage the expected growth of our city with the needs of all its citizens. More importantly, all Victorians must feel they have an opportunity and positive future in this great and historical city; and that citizens' involvement is our greatest asset to maximize our potential for growth and prosperity.

What challenges does our community face and how would you address them?

That all citizens of Victoria enjoy the benefits, resources and services of our historical city. The city council needs to work together with staff to lower the tax-burden, cut waste and control spending.

The city should become partners with our school district, college and university to better educate and train our workforce. That we all work with law enforcement, even more than before, in lowering the crime rate in our city. The city host town hall meetings and/or conduct an annual citizens' survey seeking input about what city issues or concerns are affecting them.

What opportunities do you see for the City to increase revenues and reduce expenses?

I would like to see a serious effort made, by city council and staff, to cut 3-5 percent from the general budget. Each city department should assess and identify waste, duplication and prioritize their needs.

The city's sales tax corporation and utility fund should pay for more of the city's infrastructure debt, and hotel tax funds directed towards the community center's operating costs. There should be a city budget line-item review every year. City budget amendments, fund transfers and expenditures should be reviewed by a city council finance committee and not automatically put on the consent agenda for approval.

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