What the candidates are saying

The Hays Free Press posed the following questions to candidates for Buda City Council Position 1 At-Large. Here are their responses.

LaVonia Horne-Williams
Buda City Council candidate for Position 1 At-Large

HFP: How would you further economic development in the Buda area?

Horne-Williams: Buda is growing fast and our population has doubled between 2010-2017. The obvious challenge for Buda is limited remaining space to build. I would look to further economic development efforts by asking the right questions, being fully informed of options and opportunities and collaborating with all stakeholders.

HFP: What type of business/industry would you like to see in town?

Horne-Williams: Buda offers a rich environment for a broad range of industries. I would like to see business industries in Buda that offer greater economic opportunities for residents to work where they live. Examples would be software companies that bring in corporate/regional headquarters, Information Technology (IT), Medical, or Light Industrial.

HFP: Do you think festivals should continue to be held in the downtown area?

Horne-Williams: Alleviating the spread of COVID-19 is paramount. Going forward, I believe we will need to consider working with event organizers to determine the safest path forward. As the central hub for the city, I think the downtown area is currently the ideal place to hold festivals however, as more areas in the city develop we should have alternate sites for city events.

Matt Smith
Buda City Council candidate for Position 1 At-Large

HFP: How would you further economic development efforts in the area?

Smith: The city of Buda has targeted activities and programs that seek to diversify our economy and improve the economic well-being and quality of life for citizens. Many of these activities and programs are siloed and operate independent of one another. I will improve the coordination between city of Buda Departments, Boards, Commissions, Committees and Chamber of Commerce. I will create ad hoc committees of citizens and local stakeholders to meet the more specialized needs of our community. While currently serving as Chair of the City Park & Buda Amphitheater Committee I built a new team of folks from our Parks & Recreation and Tourism Departments to welcome and attract future productions to our new amphitheater. I will continue leading in this manner to diversify our economy, create and retain jobs, and build the local tax base to allow more citizens to live, work and play right here in Buda.

HFP: What type of business/industry would you like to see in town?

Smith: Unique businesses and small town charm are what make Buda, Buda. I am focused on the proper development of commercial and residential property to ensure we preserve the atmosphere and prestige of Buda. There is no one industry or business that will do this for us. As a city leader, I am very proud and protective of what we have in our community. We have just a bit of blank canvas left to fill by way of undeveloped land in and around our city. Improving communication with commercial investors that appreciate our values and will develop space for businesses of all sizes is crucial. Offering workers with higher paying jobs and growing families the opportunity to live on larger lots while remaining right here in Buda is key. Welcoming visitors to experience what we enjoy will also provide the growth in revenue we desire and need for our city.

HFP: Do you think festivals should continue to be held in the downtown area?

Smith: Absolutely. I firmly believe outdoor activity, including festivals, improves our overall well-being and provides opportunity to bring together our entire community. These events also provide increased traffic for our hotels, restaurants and shops which financially lifts the city of Buda. We must continue attracting visitors to our city to support local businesses and drive sales tax revenue. The key is managing the balance between maintaining well-manicured clean spaces for our citizens to use on an everyday basis while also hosting larger events such as festivals. As a city leader I will manage the volume and regularity of these events to ensure that our citizens and public safety officials continue to welcome the increased activity. We must not overburden our staff or facilities, but still seek to host unique unforgettable experiences for our citizens to enjoy as well as our visitors so they cannot wait to come back to Buda.

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