Today the City of Katy delegates, or “outsources”, economic development responsibility. Harris, Waller, and Fort Bend County Economic Development Councils, the Katy “Area” Chamber of Commerce, the Katy “Area” Economic Development Council, the Greater Houston Partnership, and other organizations create an overwhelming amount of complexity to navigate. None of these organizations focus solely on growth within Katy’s city limits and there is no one at City Hall with the sole responsibility of doing this work. This is one of the many responsibilities of the City Administrator. I will focus on tangible actions that solve this problem:
- I envision the creation of an Economic Development Coordinator role at City Hall. This individual’s responsibility will be to work with our area organizations and directly recruit businesses to open within our borders. City Council must approve budgeting for this job.
- I envision the creation of a Katy Economic Development Board. This City board is designed to bring business savvy, passionate citizens of Katy together to focus on proposing ordinances to City Council that will make Katy more attractive to new businesses and make existing businesses more successful.
- I will support ordinances that make the city easier to work with, improving Katy’s reputation in the business community. Today we are known for a difficult permitting process and poor customer service from inspectors. City Council is not responsible for managing this department, but it does allocate funds that enable it to be successful.
- I will promote conversation regarding growth in the city about small businesses and family friendly venues that residents want. Our I-10 frontage and warehouse district to the West will always attract a certain type of business, and these large warehouses have dominated public discourse. We must focus on the types of businesses that will improve residents’ daily lives – restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping, and more.
- We must end the “pro-growth” vs. “anti-growth” vs. “smart growth” debate. I will be a champion for growth because our city is growing, and this presents us with a great opportunity to welcome new residents and businesses. Growth expands our tax base, which enables us to improve city services while lowering the individual tax burden on all residents. Growth also attracts investment that can help the city’s flood mitigation efforts by meeting updated drainage and retention/detention standards and reducing the burden on existing areas.
I bring a strong background of financial acumen and business experience. City Council’s recent actions of lowering the tax rate to historic levels is commendable. I believe strongly in fiscal responsibility and providing great service to residents at the lowest possible cost. These issues need to be addressed:
- Financial transparency is an opportunity, with year-end reporting taking upwards of 6 months to complete every year.
- The lack of updated comprehensive city plan since 2001 has led to the city spending taxpayer dollars on unplanned purchases.
- Katy’s reserve fund is overfunded at nearly $20M. By comparison, Hurricane Harvey cost only $8M to clean up with much of that being refunded by FEMA.
Let’s put tax dollars to work for residents where needed, and keep more money in taxpayers’ pockets at every opportunity as we grow the tax base.
Katy is blessed with some of the most talented and successful first responders in the state. We must continue to invest in these departments and make Katy the safest community it can be. There are big issues that need to be addressed for public safety, including:
- Ensure Katy’s compensation for first responders is competitive with neighboring cities.
- Mold remediation of Fire Station 1 must be completed as soon as possible.
- Street racing has become a major problem in our area, both on I-10 and in residential areas. We must address this head-on.
- Commercial vehicle enforcement has improved significantly with dedicated resources, but we must continue to increase these resources alongside the city’s commercial growth.
- Feral hogs are an issue all over Texas, and the Western parts of our city are especially at risk including new developments like Cane Island and Young Ranch.
- Sidewalks make our city safer and should continue to be added where they are needed.
I witnessed first hand the devastating effects of the Tax Day Flood and Hurricane Harvey. We must do everything possible to lessen the effects of these massive rain events on citizens now and in the future. Flooding in Katy is a complex problem with a straightforward solution. On council, I will:
- Invest in the best engineering and flood planning available, and implement plans that will move the maximum amount of water out of the city that is allowed by our upstream and downstream partners.
- Encourage development that brings a net benefit to water displacement (i.e. greater retention/detention capacity than the ground soaking capacity that will be covered in concrete).
Katy is home to several outstanding parks and green spaces. We should continue to invest in these areas. However, this investment must take place as part of a larger city-wide comprehensive plan.
This is another area where inviting and welcoming development and growth can create huge benefits for all residents. Large developments, through MUD funding, must have flood mitigation and accompanying green spaces in their plans. Substandard developments that cannot meet these requirements should not be approved.
I support improvements to Animal Control that enhance the compassionate care of animals and customer service for residents. These improvements include:
- Enable volunteers to work in the shelter to improve animal care and increase adoptions.
- Grow our partnerships with local organizations that can assist with animal care and adoptions.
- Modernize the pet registration process, making it easier for city staff while improving service for residents.
- Utilize the newly appointed Animal Control Advisory Board to assist the city with all improvements and policy considerations.
Through volunteers, partnerships, and increased awareness of pet registration requirements, all improvements to Katy Animal Control should be realized with no additional cost to taxpayers.
Whether you are a multi-generational resident or you just moved to town, I believe that all residents of Katy belong and add value. I will seek to balance representation from all parts of Katy at any table where city business is being conducted.
This begins with naming new members to city boards and commissions, ensuring representation from newer residents and across a broad collection of neighborhoods. We must actively work to include residents from across the city to participate in local government.