Commissioner Gary Burns seeks third term
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The incumbent in the Victoria County Precinct 3 Commissioner race is hoping for a third term in office.
Gary Burns was first elected in the 2004 race. Since then, he said his priorities as commissioner have not changed.
"I worked my way through college, I made a lot of mistakes in business, but you learn from that," Burns said. "We use the same principles in government."
Burns is running for the Republican Party nomination against newcomer Gary Charbula, of Victoria, in the May 29 primary.
Burns said his focus continues to be on economic development first, supporting law enforcement and the fire department, and protecting the county's water. He spearheaded efforts to establish a groundwater district.
The Precinct 3 budget includes a hefty reserve thanks to his predecessor, Jerry Nobles, and Burns said he has maintained Nobles' penchant for pinching pennies.
"We save money by buying second-hand and demonstrator equipment," Burns said. "It's almost a game. You don't have a heck of a lot of money to work with and you've got to stretch it."
Burns said his proudest accomplishments included getting grants to demolish 23 buildings at the airport, then using those materials to build roads.
Because the county "doesn't have the same budget as the city," if expensive projects pay for themselves, they are more likely to get done, Burns said.
Since he came into office, gas has doubled, road materials are up 300 percent and the county is competing with the oil field to keep workers, he said.
As far as economic development is concerned, Burns said the boom in business is generating not only increased sales tax revenue, but increased infrastructure projects, including road repairs to the oil field and Port of Victoria, as well as housing needs.
"My goal is to make this a better place to live, a better place for our kids," Burns said.
He said he supports the county's partnerships with the city for library, emergency and animal control services, and creating public/private partnerships.
He wants to see partnerships for a rodeo arena and an events and conference center.