Kyle manager wants to diversify

By Moses Leos III

Despite having the job for only a week, newly hired Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers sees the opportunity the city has for future development. He likened it to molding clay.

But chasing potential developers is only one aspect of what he believes is needed for the city to grow. 

According to Sellers, the city has been able to take advantage of the rapid growth it’s experienced on the IH-35 corridor. He said the city has also built upon commercial, residential and industrial development in recent years. Sellers said Kyle has the “unique privilege” of having many opportunities at its fingertips. 

But to continue the growth trend, he believes analyzing Kyle’s current development is one way to facilitate further expansion. Sellers said it would help find the “appropriate business mix” for the future. Doing so could help the city diversify the economy and increase the tax base. 

He said the city would attract certain industries as opportunities arise, noting the lack of industrial based businesses. 

However, the use of incentives such as tax abatements to attract businesses would be only done on what he called a case-by-case basis to help fill the needs of the community.  

But Sellers believes infrastructure will drive much of the city’s future success. Sellers said infrastructure and quality of life initiatives, which he said are “equally important for this community,” go hand in hand.

Sellers contends the city has several road issues to address. One is fixing a traffic flow issue in the downtown corridor. 

An additional issue is prioritizing road projects, and how to improve existing infrastructure needs. 

A pavement condition assessment could be one way for the city to begin prioritizing projects. 

With a pavement assessment, the city would determine the durability of roadways. It would also find which roads are deteriorating and need repair. 

He said the result of that assessment could allow for a road improvement plan, which could be tied into the Capital Improvement Plan. 

While road issues are common, Sellers said there is no “silver bullet” for fixing them. But Sellers said the city is lagging on infrastructure funding. 

“It’s apparent to the community that we are behind on our infrastructure funding and we’ll need to play catch-up until we have acceptable infrastructure,” he said. 

But Sellers said some issues, such as the addition of police officers to the Kyle Police Department, require more research. He said he “didn’t know the answer” to that issue at this time. 

Ultimately, finding a balanced budget, along with adhering to the Comprehensive Plan, is important. 

Implementing a community survey prior to the fiscal year 2016 budget session could help guide the city’s decisions. Asking what the citizens want to see, and what is important to them, will be the focus of that survey.

“With the responses there, council can kind of prioritize their responses,” Sellers said. “We can then bring the staff piece in to see where it plays with the responses.” 

It will be community involvement that will drive one of his main goals of finding a community brand. The prospect of a community brand is something Sellers believes is “earned, not given.”

He said it’s finding a “unique draw” that will help make Kyle a destination. He said it goes beyond the city “hanging our hat” on a festival or event. 

“We can say we’re anything in the world,” he said. “Until we are, it’s just a catchphrase.” 

However, as the clay continues to take shape, Sellers says ensuring all citizens are proud of Kyle is one of his main goals. 

“From a community perspective, I understand not everyone is going to be okay with one thing,” Sellers said. “We’ll do what’s best for the whole. We will try to have as many programs to satisfy everyone and make everyone proud of Kyle.”  

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