Concerns over the interests and initiatives of a recently formed coalition sparked intense debate Nov. 5 among Kyle city leaders.
At the center of discussion was the Central Texas Regional Mayors Coalition, which includes Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell and San Marcos Mayor John Thomaides.
A non-governing body, the Coalition of Mayors serves to organize city mayors from San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock and Georgetown in an effort to share ideas and plans to better serve their individual cities.
However, Kyle City Council members were worried over a press release from the group, which referred to the Mayors Coalition as a Coalition of Cities. Council members agreed they were concerned with what seemed to be a change of title for the group which represents mayors, but not city councils nor cities as a whole.
“Anything that says coalition of cities or something that affects us as a council and our city, I believe we should be informed about,” said council member Shane Arabie. “I don’t have an issue with the substance of the mayoral meetings, but the fact that the press release was advertised as the coalition of cities and we were notified that way … one thing I don’t want is to find out about (our city from somewhere else.)”
Mayor Travis Mitchell said the organization does not intend to change its name, nor does it intend to represent cities as a whole without the inclusion of other city representatives.
Council Member Daphne Tenorio referred to the meetings as secret meetings and said she is frustrated that information about the meetings is not being relayed to her by Mitchell or city staff.
Concerns over the intent of the group continued as some council members requested they receive information about the meetings before or after by way of an agenda or meeting minutes.
“What I would like to do, if this were to continue as an organization that meets on a regular basis, (is ensure that) all of us would have the opportunity to look at the agenda items and be able to give some input and ensure that we’re giving you our perspectives and ensure that we’re at least somewhat unified in our responses and your engagement with other mayors,” said council member Alex Villalobos.”
Mitchell said his goal is to help facilitate information between the coalition and the council.
Regardless, the Central Texas Regional Mayors Coalition has begun organizing and intends to meet further to prepare for the state legislative session which begins in January 2019. The participating mayors said they want to help each other solve various taxing and infrastructure issues up and down the I-35 corridor.