Buda mayoral special election this Saturday

The city of Buda is holding a special election Saturday, Dec. 8, for the vacant position of mayor. Council members Ron Fletcher and Todd Ruge are the two candidates in the race for the position. The candidates have answered questions about their qualifications for office and the issues facing the city.

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at City Hall

Ron Fletcher

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

Three words: Availability (semi-retired, so have more time to devote to Buda’s needs); Experience (over a decade of service to Buda, including chairing Buda’s first Planning & Zoning Commission, serving on Buda’s Home Rule Charter Commission and representing the city council on the Buda 2030 advisory committee); and Connections (active for many years in state and regional organizations, where I have developed a network of elected officials and key staff personnel that I can – and already have, successfully – called upon to help fund Buda’s projects with federal, state and county dollars).

What is the No. 1 issue affecting our community, and what will you do to address it?

Maintaining Buda’s “small town feel” despite inevitable rapid growth was identified by old-timers and newcomers alike as the highest priority in our Buda 2030 Comprehensive Plan. Thanks in part to my urging, we now have a competent and dedicated city planning staff to make sure our development regulations protect our citizens’ vision for Buda’s future found in that award-winning plan. Doing that will also require major investments in our truck bypass to finally get big trucks permanently out of downtown Buda – and I promise to fight for every dime of “other people’s money” I can get to keep Buda’s tax rates low.

How can you help bring jobs to Buda?

One of the best economic development incentives a city can offer is “ready to build” lots for potential employers.  I have, and will continue to promote, investment in infrastructure (roads, water, wastewater, etc.) in our priority commercial and industrial growth areas.  I am also working hard in state-level efforts promoting legislation to force the private water company holding monopoly rights to sell water in our priority growth area to either provide adequate pressure for firefighting or get out of the way so the city can do what prospective employers expect and demand.

What is the last book you read?

“The Story,” a condensed and easily readable version of the Bible.  It was the basis for a small group study that I led in my church, Good Shepherd Ministries.  The last book I read for entertainment was “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin and I’m looking forward to the Christmas break when I might find time to finally finish “The Five Thousand Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen. Yes, I really do read political theory and philosophy for the fun of it!!

What adjective would a close friend use to describe you?

Conscientious (my wife might say “workaholic’)

Something readers might be surprised to learn about you…?

I flew 175 combat missions over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the F-4 Phantom II during 1970 and 1971. I flew the same Phantom (tail number 712) on the pedestal at Camp Mabry next to MoPac many times while I was an instructor pilot at the Air Force’s fighter pilot university in Arizona during the ’70s and ’80s.

Current job and prior public service:

I am an adjunct professor of government at Austin Community College, where I have been teaching Texas state and local government since 1991.  In addition to my service on commissions and the city council here in Buda, I was an alternate member of the policy board of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (which controls federal and state funds for transportation) and am currently a member of the executive committee of the Capital Area Council of Governments (which determines the final allocation of federal and state grant dollars for multiple programs in a ten-county region).

Education:

Bachelors in Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University; Masters in Systems Management, University of Southern California; and a Dissertation short of a Doctorate in Government, University of Texas at Austin.

 

Todd Ruge

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

My expertise in finance makes me the most qualified candidate for the job of mayor.  Buda is growing at a rapid pace and we need someone who understands that with growth comes more financial liability for the city. When we expand our tax base through annexation, we also expand our financial liability. When a property becomes part of our tax base through annexation the city in most cases has to supply water, waste water and police coverage.  This means the city has to pay for those services to reach that property. It also means we are stretching our already under-manned police force even more.  My financial background will allow me to quickly analyze the pros and cons of each proposed annexation and I will only support those that are most beneficial to Buda.

What is the No. 1 issue affecting our community and what will you do to address it?

Traffic. I will listen to the residents of Buda and implement our Transportation Master Plan. The city spent several months receiving input from our citizens through surveys and workshops. Many great ideas and solutions for our traffic problem were addressed in those meetings, and we now have a plan which will serve as a road map for years to come. The document is now in draft form and it will come before the city council in February for adoption. I believe it is important to implement this plan so as a community we can build our future together.

How can you help bring jobs to Buda? 

The best thing we can do is keep our taxes low.  By having low taxes, our community will be in an excellent position to attract new business.  I have consistently voted to keep our taxes low and will continue to do so when elected mayor. The Buda Economic Corporation recently hired a new director who starts on January 2nd and look forward to working with her to bring in jobs that not only pay a living wage but also fit well within our community.

What is the last book you read?

“Twelve Mighty Orphans” by Jim Dent

What adjective would a close friend use to describe you?

Reliable

Something readers might be surprised to learn about you…?

While I was in high school I served on the student council all four years and served as the student council president my senior year.

Current job and prior public service:

U.S. Department of Treasury in the accounting department

I currently serve on the Buda City Council. I have served on city of Buda Zoning Board of Adjustment and as vice president of the Friends of the Buda Public Library. While on the city council, I have also served on the audit committee, Trail of Lights Committee and was the council representative on the Library Master Plan Committee.

Education: 

BBA in finance at St. Edward’s University

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