by VERONICA GORDON
Buda City Council candidates fielded questions from moderator Dick Schneider at a forum Monday night hosted by the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I was pleased with the turn out,” said Chamber Executive Director Cindy Swink. “I heard that the attendance was more than past forums.”
Candidate Taryn Davis, whose name is still on the ballot, has dropped out of the race for personal reasons and didn’t attend the forum.
The candidates who remain in the race include Jose Montoya (unopposed), George Haehn (Place 4), Jim Corry (Place 5), Cathy Chilcote (Place 4) and Eileen Altmiller (Place 5).
The questions covered issues ranging from managing Buda’s growth to the upcoming election to extend the liquor laws to allow for mixed beverage permits.
The special election will decide whether to allow liquor stores. Buda approved beer and wine sales at grocery stores and gas stations several years ago.
Under current rules, restaurants must apply for a full liquor license from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, rather than the much cheaper beer-and-wine permit.
All candidates agreed that the liquor law is needed, but with some careful consideration.
“In my opinion, it’s a two-sided coin,” Montoya said. “On one side, I welcome it to raise revenue for the tax base, then there’s the side that could bring in social issues. That’s the way I see it.”
Haehn said he hopes the election will bring in wine-tasting businesses instead of liquor stores.
“Vineyards could come downtown and have tasting events,” he said. “That wouldn’t be a bad addition to downtown, but I don’t want to bring in the liquor stores with iron bars on the windows. So it would depend on the location and type of business.”
Corry said the city is missing out on revenue that could be raised through allowing mixed beverage permits.
Chilcote said that there wouldn’t be an H-E-B in Buda if the original ordinance to allow the sale of beer and wine in stores hadn’t passed.
“I am for the campaign for alcohol in Buda,” Chilcote said.
Altmiller said she will be voting for the proposition.
“I would like to see some pretty careful guidelines about where liquor stores and bars could be,” she added.
The Buda City Council candidates are on the Nov. 6 ballot along with the special election for alcohol sales. The city ballot also includes various propositions amending the city charter.
Early voting begins Oct. 22. A sample ballot and voting times and locations can be found on the Hays County Elections page at www.co.hays.tx.us.
Also, read the Hays Free Press Voters Guide in this week’s issue.