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Six seek office in Dripping Springs

A trio of incumbents along with three newcomers tossed their hats into the ring for three Dripping Springs city council seats up for grabs this May.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds, along with council members Santos Alba and Charlie Busbey all filed for reelection prior to the Feb. 17 deadline. Joining them are William Travis Crow, Taline Manassian and Harrison Thomas Schultz.

Alba, a retiree who has been on the Dripping Springs City Council for 24 years, said his motivation for filling for reelection was wanting to see the completion of many of the projects started by the current council.

“There are a lot of things that still have to be done,” Alba said.

He said critical items he wants to see completed include the city’s wastewater expansion project and several big subdivisions that are “in the works.”

While he hasn’t reached out to all of his opponents, he said his approach toward the upcoming campaign is “word of mouth, like I’ve always done.”

Foulds, who has been on the council for 16 years, said his motivation to file for reelection is the growth of Dripping Springs and to “try to maintain some order to it.”

Working heavily on the city’s wastewater treatment plan expansion is critical to managing the city and controlling growth, as opposed to being “pushed around by municipal utility districts.”

Foulds, who is a small business owner, said continuing to develop a “core downtown,” along with adding more housing options are parts of his platform.

He anticipates a campaign outreach that’s similar to what he’s had for the past 16 years.

“I’ve got an open door to anyone who wants to talk to me,” Foulds said. “Occasionally, I’ve knocked on doors. I may do some of that.”

Busbey, a technical and program specialist who has been on the council for six years, is seeking his fourth election bid.

Busbey has been involved with the city since the mid-1990s and has worked as the city’s treasurer and served on the Planning and Zoning commission in the past.

Busbey’s reelection bid is centered around his longtime involvement with Dripping Springs.

“I feel like I can continue to give,” Busbey said.

He added he can continue to contribute to initiatives the council is working on for Dripping Springs, which is a “rapidly growing city.”

Busbey said he was not surprised by the field of candidates vying for the council positions. He said some of the developments surrounding Dripping Springs could be coming into the city limits within a few years.

“There are more folks in the city limits and eligible voters,” Busbey said. “It’s something I anticipated would happen. It just so happens it’s now.”

He said he has already begun to speak with people in the community. He plans to “expound on my dedication.”

But he said he is independent on certain items that come up in city council.

“We’re not a lockstep, everyone votes one-way council,” Busbey said. “Numerous times, I’ve voted out of sync with council because my opinion didn’t jive with theirs.”

Manassian, who has not run for political office before, is an attorney who has lived in Dripping Springs for nine years. She said she wants to run for office as she lives in the community and wants to be “a voice on how we grow and take care of the businesses, schools and roads.”

Manassian said she has the ability to assess situations and research and “dig a little and find what the best course of action could be.”

She said she is asking “a lot of questions” and learning a “great deal” about the position and what people want addressed in the community.”

“This is not something I’ve done before,” she said. “I intend to go door-to-door and have a lot of conversations.”

Schultz, also a political newcomer, works in the information technology sales field. While a sense of community service was one reason for Schultz to run, another component was his disapproval of the direction council is going.

“Rather than sit on the sidelines, I want to try and do something about it,” Schultz said.

His three issues center on smart, responsible growth, preservation of Onion Creek and support for local schools. Schultz said he is “fair and rational” and that he wants to make the city more transparent.

“I think that the local residents deserve more openness and transparency than we’re receiving,” Schultz said. “If I’m elected, I would make it more transparent.”

According to his election filing, Crow, who is self-employed, has lived in Hays County for 45 years.

The News-Dispatch reached out to Crow for comment, but he did not respond prior to press time.

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