Will Armstrong: Candidate wants to keep working toward success
When I was 6, my father told us he had bought a business in Victoria and we would move there soon. He went on to say that it was a moving business and had a big truck. He knew that trucks fascinated me, but I don't think he realized that at that moment, I decided to be in the moving business.
In 1962, I was in college, and my father's health was poor. My mother called and said that she had put my father in the hospital, and I said that I would be home that night. I had been anticipating that call for several months. Linda and I had dated for about four years and were married in 1963 after she graduated from college. I went to work in the family business and worked for decades to build up Armstrong Warehouse & Transfer through good times and bad.
Victoria has always been a special place where different people and cultures have come together. The French and Spanish came here followed by Empresario Martin DeLeon, who founded Victoria in 1824. This makes Victoria one of the oldest cities in Texas.
It's an exciting time to be in Victoria, with parts of our community being reinvented and reinvigorated before our very eyes. New construction, new businesses and industry, better streets and drainage, a revitalized downtown, new hotels and neighborhoods, expansion at both Victoria College and UHV, more visitors and tourism than ever before and the list goes on and on. Victoria stands at a crossroads, and we cannot afford to go backward.
I'm a tireless salesman and promoter for Victoria, and I'm proud to be part of many things that are growing our economy and creating jobs. This includes cutting city tax rates by nearly 7 percent since 2009. We've created a long-range plan to build up Victoria, and we're making the strategic investments to prepare for the future. Making it more attractive for our children to stay here will also draw others to Victoria, who will invest in our community. The revenues generated from this growth can then be used to maintain older areas of town without increasing taxes.
No matter what's being done, some people will always run around crying "The sky is falling!" whenever a city decides to spend money on major projects. However, it's much wiser in the long run to borrow money when interest rates are historically low and complete large projects wholesale while inflation is modest than fritter money away attempting to deal with things piecemeal.
Our city is in a strong financial position with increasing revenues from the growing economy and an excellent bond rating. While the city's fund balance is healthy, if we had waited to take on major projects like rebuilding Lone Tree Road, Laurent Street or Sam Houston Drive until we saved up every dime to do it with cash, our grandchildren would be waiting for those repairs. The price of completing projects like paving is not growing cheaper in any area (fuel/materials/manpower), so there's no sense putting off until tomorrow things that the city can do today.
Hard work at the city level in areas like economic development, strategic planning and fiscal management is beginning to pay off for our community. I'm also proud of how we work as a team with others at the county, state and federal level to get things done for Victoria. We've accomplished a lot by working together, and there are many promising opportunities still to explore.
In some ways, we're just at the beginning of the beginning. While we've made great strides in many areas of the city in recent years, much remains to be done. I have a proven track record and am energetic and enthusiastic about making Victoria a great place. Even some of my opponents in this election have publicly commended me for doing a "good job" as mayor and providing civic leadership.
This is my final race for mayor, and I'm working hard to win re-election. As we've seen in prior city elections, making a change strictly for change's sake rarely does much good. I'm committed as mayor to doing everything I can to make Victoria a place where our children and grandchildren will want to live and raise their families. As I think about my grandchildren, I know the best is yet to come.
Will Armstrong is the current mayor of Victoria. He is running for re-election in the May 11 City Council election. Contact Armstrong with questions or comments at 361-550-4245 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.