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District 3 candidates debate budget, taxes (Video)

By Melissa Crowe
April 16, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2013 at 11:17 p.m.

Candidates for Victoria City Council District 3 made it clear what issues they stand for and against during a debate Tuesday morning.

The three council hopefuls - Jeff Bauknight, Vic Caldwell and John Hyak - identified their biggest challenges and talked about improving transparency, pedestrian-friendly roads and managing the budget.

The debate was hosted by the Victoria Advocate.

Caldwell, 50, criticized the current council for catering to special interests and sound bites.

"That is preventing our City Council from having thorough and open discussion," he said.

That attitude prevented the city from applying for an opportunity to use solar panels and make money, Caldwell, who serves as chairman of the parks commission, said.

Hyak, 53, said he wants to support studies and ordinances that will make traffic patterns safer in neighborhoods.

As a marathon runner, Hyak has visited cities across the country and knows pedestrian safety is key.

He said he wants to study the effectiveness of using speed-bumps in areas notorious for speeders.

Bauknight, 43, agreed with both candidates.

He said he would also support a speed-bump study and elaborated on Caldwell's comments.

Bauknight, chairman of the planning commission, highlighted a recent vote against the commission's recommendation to grant a billboard variance.

"I think you should support the commissions you appoint through City Council," he said.

Hyak, who also serves on the planning commission, said if elected, he would want to look into ordinances that would require developers to put in green ways and hiking and biking trails, which would then make traffic flows safer.

He said he got the idea from the planning commission in Sugar Land.

"They require the developer to put these systems in place at the get-go," Hyak said.

Caldwell said he wants to see the existing ordinances enforced and upheld.

The three candidates agreed throughout the debate on working toward common goals and following the 2025 plan.

Caldwell said he would push for a policy that would require council members to explain their votes to improve accountability and transparency.

"All three of us want to serve our community," Caldwell said. "All three have raised our families here; all three have had successful careers here. We all want better infrastructure and lower taxes."



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