San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 4th, 2008
White runs for Buda mayor

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

BUDA – Though the May election for a new mayor in Buda still is four months away, City Councilmember Hutch White is starting early.

White said after Thursday night’s meeting of the Buda City Council that he will run for mayor. White said he will make an official announcement on Jan. 10.

“I want to continue the progress we’ve made in the last six years,” White said, referring to the length of his three two-year terms on the city council.

White’s council seat goes up for election in May, so he’ll either be the next mayor or he’ll be off the next city council altogether. White said he has consulted with the other councilmembers and gleaned from those conversations that “I’m not in conflict with the other council(members)” for seeking the mayor’s position.

The mayor’s office in Buda has been open since the end of July, when former Mayor John Trube resigned after five years in office. Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Lane has run the city council meetings since the start of August.

The May election will be a busy, historic moment in Buda, with four seats up for grabs on a city council that will grow from six members to seven under a charter marking the city’s new home rule status.

With White’s run for mayor, his seat (Place 2) on the council will go up for election without an incumbent. Lane’s seat (Place 1) also is up for election. Lane has not stated his intentions about running at this early date. In addition, the new council seat will go up for election.

The May election will be the first in Buda to require that councilmembers run for specific seats. In the past, the city council election operated on an open ballot in which the top vote recipients were elected to whatever number of seats was open. However, all the council seats, like the mayor’s position, will be elected on an at-large basis.

Lane’s seat, as well as the seat White is vacating, will go up for two-year terms in 2008 before turning into three-year terms with the 2010 election. The mayor and the new council seat will go up for three-year terms immediately.

White joined the council in 2002, the same year Trube was elected mayor. They helped change a council that had been called out by Councilmember Cathy Chilcote for flouting open meeting regulations and taking procedural shortcuts to solve a problem with effluent running into a nearby pond on private property.

“When I came on, the council was dysfunctional,” White said. “We’ve brought civility to the council in the last six years.”

In announcing his run in January, White said he wanted to send a signal that it’s going to take an experienced public servant to operate as mayor in a city that has grown and changed so much as Buda in the last six years.

“Buda demands that people running for office put in the time,” he said.

Since the 2004 opening of Cabela’s, the outfitting store on Interstate-35, retail and service businesses have boomed on the highway and far North Main Street. The city’s sales taxes have increased by multiples in just the last three years.

White said the development will continue, adding that he wants to make sure “our residents are protected from development.”

No other candidate has announced an intention to run for mayor or any other office in Buda this May. White said that if he should fall short in the mayor’s race, he’ll go away satisfied that he gave six years to the city.

“Life was treating me really well at the time,” White said of his first run for the council. “You have to give back.”

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