Business and economic development were topics addressed by candidates running for four Kyle city council seats at the 2017 Kyle Chamber of Commerce forum Tuesday.
In the forum involving the mayor’s seat, candidates Bill Sinor, Jaime Sanchez and current councilperson Travis Mitchell were asked what methods, policies or incentives they’d recommend to increase business and economic development for the next five years.
Sanchez and Mitchell both agreed that incentives for small businesses would be a good step to grow business in the area. Mitchell cited his own efforts with his “First Year on Us” program.
Both candidates also agreed that establishing jobs to keep residents from commuting out of Kyle would be beneficial.
Sinor said he would welcome working with the Kyle Chamber and the businesses already established.
Making sure all current businesses in the area are successful will in turn provide incentives for new businesses to come, Sinor said.
The mayoral candidates were then asked if they would make any changes in the current budget that would help stimulate growth.
Mitchell said that business development doesn’t come from individual line items, but from incentivizing businesses to come by building infrastructure.
Sanchez slightly disagreed, saying that you can provide line items that would help establish business growth. However, Sanchez also agreed with Mitchell that infrastructure was a major factor in attracting new businesses.
Sinor stated that a city budget has so many pieces that it would take more than one person to change that. However, he said he would help to open up more of a dialogue with business owners.
“I want to hear everything coming to the table,” Sinor said.
Sinor said a lack of transparency was the biggest issue Kyle faced with the current growth in the area, saying that too many back room deals were going on and residents needed to be informed.
Mitchell and Sanchez disagreed, stating that the most important thing to do is invest in infrastructure in order to meet the growth coming to Kyle.
Meanwhile, candidates who are running for the three other seats were asked what types of business they would try to attract.
Those candidates include Dex Ellison and Marco Pizana, who are running for Mitchell’s unexpired District 1 seat, as well as Tim McHutchion and Alex Villalobos who are running for District 4. Also in attendance was Tracy Sheel, who’s running unopposed for District 2.
While most candidates agreed that all types of businesses should be welcomed, Ellison added that Kyle should focus on establishing high-tech manufacturing plants and Pizana agreed, also stating the need for medical and education jobs in the area.
The candidates were also asked to rate the current city council, along with the city manager and other department heads, on a scale of one to ten.
“Ten, the City Council has made leaps and bounds in the development of the city of Kyle and has worked diligently to bring better businesses in Kyle,” said Villalobos.
Ellison, Scheel, and Pizana also shared this sentiment and ranked the current administration 9, 8 and 9 respectively.
Villalobos however, ranked the administration the lowest at 6, and saying the administration needed better engagement and accessibility with residents.