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Know your candidates for Buda City Council, Place 1: Lee Urbanovsky

The Hays Free Press asked Buda City Council candidates the following questions. Answers are printed below.

1. What prompted you to seek office? 

I have decided to seek Council because I have grown increasingly frustrated with the direction of our City.  Buda is growing very fast and we need to be prepared.  We are facing the largest infrastructure expenditures in the history of Buda and I believe I can utilize my extensive work experience to support the City of Buda.

2. What are the three most pressing issues Buda currently faces?  

1. Smart Growth- I have lived in the City of Buda for almost 16 years, our City has grown over 10 fold in this time.  Our City has not planned well for this growth.  We need to make better choices with long term goals in mind.   This means building our infrastructure for based on where we are going instead of where we werehave been.  Smart Growth also means working with our public service leaders (Police and Fire).  We must ensure they are also supported to prepare for this growth within our city limits and in our ETJ.  

2. Working with School District and County Officials- As with any growing community, Buda needs to work closely with our school district and county officials to enhance our coordination.    The City must be well in tune with these outside entities and plan strategically together.  The success or failure of our whole community relies solely on the coordinated efforts toward a common goal.  

3. Housing concerns- Housing satisfaction in Buda is very high.  Our housing needs to remain market driven, and I believe that any attempt to manipulate prices through incentives or subsidies would be a mistake.  As new areas develop, if demand calls for a specific type of housing i.e.like garden homes, starter homes, or gated communities, developers will meet this demand.  It is not the role of the City to influence these decisions.  The City needs to ensure that building codes are followed and quality is maintained, but should not have an influence pricing. The City of Buda needs to evaluate every new option and consider the currently strained resources.   We should be leery of anything high density.    Our roads, schools, utilities, and public services need to be protected.

3. How should Buda approach managing the rapid growth?

Buda needs to encourage “smart growth” this means encouraging commercial and industrial developments to help the overall tax burden facing our citizens.  We need to manage commercial growth in appropriate areas and not build multi-family developments on our best retail spaces.  This also means passing on development costs for expanding our infrastructure to the new consumers.  Buda is situated in a very strong growth corridor and if we market our community rightcorrectly, developers will come and they will cover their own costs. 

4. Does Buda need workforce housing?

No.

5.  What will you do to keep in contact with your constituents? 

I have lived in three different communities, all in Buda for a long time. My family has been involved in our schools, sports and community events for the almost 16 years.  My network is broad and I.  I am very approachable.  Everyone who already knows me knowswould say that I am involved in my community and am easy to find

6. What do you bring to the table that your opponents don’t?

I bring a very unique work experience to the table that would greatly benefit the council. 

The City of Buda passed a bond in 2014 for $55M, this is the largest expenditure of tax dollars in the history of Buda.  Most of these projects have not started or are in the very early stages of construction. This bond package is added to the normal operating budgets our City is managing right now. I have personally worked as a project manager building teams and managing construction projects for the past 17 years.  I have been responsible for the financial viability for large scale commercial and infrastructure projects.  My work experience has equipped me to best manage the growth of our City. 

I have multiple children in our schools, I commute into Austin for my job and I personally have owned three homes in the city of Buda.  I experience paying property taxes, fighting traffic and getting kids to school and extracurricular activities every day.   These challenges help me relate with the general population in our City in a way that my opponents cannot. 

Additionally, my campaign funding and support is based right here in Buda.  100% of the funding I have raised has come from Buda residents from people who know me and understand our issues.  One of my opponents has taken 87% of his campaign contributions from outside of Buda.

7. What is an issue you believe should be given more attention? 

I believe the current Unified Development Code (UDC) rewrite going on right now needs more attention.  Most of the residents in Buda have no idea what the UDC is nor do they understand these are the zoning rules laying out the future of our city.  This revision process has been ongoing for several months, but the draft versions have not been made available for public review.

8. What was the last movie or show you watched in theaters or streamed?

I have multiple children but my youngest children seem to control my choices in movies.  I have never personally watched a movie on Netflix but the last two movies I watched at EVO was were Pete’s Dragon by Disney last month and Storks by Warner Brothers this past weekend.

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