Q&A: Wimberley ISD and Woodcreek City Council candidates discuss community concerns

By Megan Wehring 

Zoom webinars have become the new platform for candidate forums as election preparations are encompassed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The candidates for Wimberley ISD Board of Trustees are Gretchen Holtsinger and Lexi Jones. These candidates only provided their opening statements. Lexi Jones was not able to attend the webinar and the moderator read the provided statement. 

The candidates for Woodcreek City Council’s one-year term are Chrys Grummert and Bob Hambrick. Candidates for the two-year positions are: incumbents Vicki Alvord, Nancye Britner and Aurora LeBrun; and Judy Brizendine and Jeff Rasco are also listed on the ballot.

Judy Brizendine was not able to attend the webinar and the moderator read the provided opening statement.

Below are their opening and closing statements, along with responses to questions prepared by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Hays County with community input. 

 

Gretchen Holtsinger

Opening statement

I am running for Wimberley ISD Board of Trustees position 6. I have been a dedicated educator and advocate for students and teachers my entire professional life. I want to continue that work by bringing the voice of an educator to our WISD’s Board of Trustees. During my 26-year career of public education, I served as a high school teacher, a coach, an instructional specialist, principal and administrator. I brought a solutions-oriented mindset and approach to meet the challenges in each of my roles and I will do the same on the Board of Trustees.

As a servant leader, I will work for you to provide excellence in education, support for our teachers, stewardship for our tax dollars and an inclusive environment where all children can thrive. 

 

Lexi Jones

Opening statement 

(Read by Teresa Carbajal Ravet, moderator): When my husband Mark and I were ready to leave our exemplary school in Austin 14 years ago, we explored communities all around the area. We chose Wimberley specifically for WISD and speaking with other parents, I found that we are not alone. Wimberley is a special community and one I have served since moving here including 12 years on the St. Stephen’s Santa Program team, team mom and board member for Wimberley Youth Sports Association; and an active parent support of Wimberley FFA, WISD Athletics and Wimberley Dance Elite.

Mark and I run a Wimberley business and have three wonderful children who have grown up in WISD: Alexa, Vance and Maya Rose. I know and understand this community and its family’s wealth. Professionally, my background is business. My nearly 20-year HR career has developed skills critical to serving the families of Wimberley, specifically active listening and deliberate decision making, because there are always long term implications of decisions made today. Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to continuing to serve Wimberley and appreciate your consideration on November 3. 

 

Judy Brizendine

Opening statement

(Read by Teresa Carbajal Ravet, moderator): I’d like to thank the League of Women Voters for inviting the candidates for Woodcreek City Council to participate in this forum. It is with much regret that I am unable to present this evening due to medical complications. It is my desire to serve the citizens of Woodcreek and I am sorry I won’t have this opportunity to express my visions for the city. 

 

Chrys Grummert

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: We definitely have a lot of more young families moving into town. I am meeting them all the time and they are really great people. I think we should be considering this demographic as part of our city as well as the future of our city. 

I am going to reiterate; parks are important. We have a parks board — it hasn’t met since spring. They have a recommendation for the landscape design already in place for Augusta Park,  it’s all done, it just needs council’s approval. But also the parks board should reconvene, fill the empty seats that have expired and get working on the master plan that they have. 

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: I think development should be managed. We don’t want to look as though we’re the 290 in Dripping Springs. People didn’t move here specifically to live in Dripping Springs or the I-35 corridor. Small businesses, mom and pop stores, are something that we should support and we should encourage. 

We should be thinking about lowering our tax rates to help the citizens because times are going to be tough for a couple of years and I think that could be a focus as well. 

 

Bob Hambrick

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: One of the things that we are doing now is a new demographic study to find out exactly how many kids we have in the city of Woodcreek. It’s nice to have those concrete numbers, as opposed to what we have now, which is basically figuring out what we have just by what we see. We hope to be doing that in the next three to six months. 

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: We have to have some planned development that will give us some revenue so that we can do a better job on the roads that we already have. It may mean small businesses that are planned and intentional, not just something that is put together in a way that would be detrimental to the town, but rather that would be of benefit to the town. 

 

Vicki Alvord

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: We are still a golf community. We have a golf course that is one of our major businesses in the community that we have to take care of as well. There are a number of parks, playgrounds in the area. Jacobs Well has a beautiful playground, so there are other places for children to be. I hope the city can do more for younger people.

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: We need some development because we need more revenue coming into the city so that we can do some of the things that we need to do. We could have better roads. We could have safer roads, perhaps your trails or sidewalks if we had more revenue. My biggest concern about development would be that it’s not well planned or well thought out. 

 

Nancye Britner

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: At this time, they can also use the Blue Hole trail. The Baptist church has a trail. There are areas where they can take their children to play for right now. COVID has kind of put a hold on everything.

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: I believe in commercial development without a doubt. I believe that any type of growth a city gets, regardless whether it’s Woodcreek, Wimberley or Dripping, should be managed properly. We don’t need Walmart, we don’t need the big box stores; we just need a little bit of help. We need to push back a little bit so that we can maintain the beauty of this area. 

 

Aurora LeBrun

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: One of our greatest challenges is to acknowledge these changes and ensure that the city services cover the needs of these families. Parks, green spaces, safe streets and above all, involve them in government. We need the younger generation to join us. 

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: My concern right now, as I drove home from Wimberley earlier today, I noticed there is a sign on 2325 on our ETJ saying for sale, commercial. This is a beautifully wooded area and I am concerned about the effect that would have on our canopy of trees and the beauty of Woodcreek. At this time, we do not have a heritage tree ordinance to protect the cutting down of those oaks. Managed development? Yes. Losing that canopy of trees? No.

 

Jeff Rasco

Q: The demographics of Woodcreek are changing, apparently skewing younger every year. What are your ideas of meeting the needs of the families with children?

A: As people move out, as older people move out, younger people are moving. All of our newest neighbors are families. They’re not retired golfers. It’s different and it’s been changing for 20 years. What we need to do, especially with the new school, is find those pedestrian ways so people can get around. We need to really build up our parks. We have them, we’ve got approved plans in place that haven’t been funded, but are in place and ready to go. We’ve got a lot to do to bring this community together.

 

Q: Do you have concerns regarding development in and around Woodcreek? What are your recommended solutions?

A: Economic development is incredibly important. I think that in the past, we’ve sort of taken on economic development when a developer comes to us with an idea and tries to pitch it rather than us having a plan, a long-term plan, and we go to the developer to implement what we are trying to do.

We have a couple of great businesses here. The golf course is wonderful. It’s got plenty of room to grow and we can increase sales tax just from the golf course. We’ve got a liquor store. We’ve got another spot there. There are two commercial lots across Ranch Road 12 from about where the City Hall is. 

 

The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3. Early voting will begin Tuesday, Oct. 13 and will run through Friday, Oct. 30. For more information about the upcoming candidate forums, visit the LWV virtual calendar.

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