Councilwoman wants to focus on Victoria's livability

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

April 21, 2012 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.

In a race divided over a $20 million treatment plant proposal, the incumbent is standing her ground.

Councilwoman Denise Rangel, 49, is seeking re-election in District 1 against Emett Alvarez, a Victoria businessman.

The two candidates disagree about the plant.

Rangel, who is seeking her second term, said her support for the proposal will help the residents who have lived directly across the street from the Willow Street plant for 50 years. She said there are 112 residents within a quarter-mile of the current plant and nine within the same distance of the proposed site.

"It's unfortunate that we have to have a new sewer plant," Rangel said. "But it is fortunate that we're able to close down an outdated-eyesore."

She said she puts her trust in a half-century of technological advances, and that the proposed site is the most efficient and financially practical.

As for the general race, Rangel said she has more work to do and other goals to accomplish.

Rangel is a social worker who supports making the city alive and vibrant with culture and history. That includes improving streets, developing community activities and increasing the city's "livability."

"This is all part of making Victoria a better place and at the same time, work on infrastructure and managing growth," she said. "This is my home. I love this community, the history and the people."

Rangel said one of her major accomplishments during her term was advocating for a recycling program, which was started in February.

She wants to continue focusing on meeting residents' educational and occupational needs. She supports Victoria College's $22 million bond to build an 80,000-square-foot Emerging Technology Center.

As new businesses look at Victoria, she said the City Council can use its tools - tax abatements, 380-agreements or other incentives - to make the city more competitive and attractive.

One recent incentive for a new hotel, which involved phasing in its occupancy tax, drew some criticism. Some said the demand for hotel rooms was incentive enough.

"It's a $6 million investment," Rangel said. "I was supporting the investment, not necessarily the hotel."

The incentive passed the council's vote.

"It's a balancing act," Rangel said. "Business benefits us all, but it's about people."



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