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

June 3rd, 2008
Changing city councils debut tonight

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

KYLE – David Wilson woke up on May 10 with much on his mind, but not optimism.

Running for the Kyle City Council’s western district seat against incumbent Dan Ekakiadis and little-known Eric Franklin, Wilson figured 700 people would vote, meaning he would need 351 votes to win the three-way election.

“I knew I didn’t have them,” Wilson said.

He didn’t. But he did have 241 votes, enough for the overwhelming majority of a light voter turnout. Ekakiadis received 114 votes, and Franklin received 24.

Wilson will take the oath of office as Kyle’s newest city councilmember tonight as local jurisdictions take on changes of government from the slight to the dramatic.

On the slight side might be counted Kyle, where Wilson will be the only new councilmember. Two others on that body, Mayor Mike Gonzalez and Councilmember Becky Selbera, ran unopposed. The Kyle Council will operate with only six members until August, when the city holds a special election to replace Mike Moore, who resigned last month.

As the city courts economic development along Interstate-35 and the Kyle Parkway, Wilson figures to be a voice for downtown concerns, particularly landmarks like the train depot and the old city hall. While the train depot edges towards disrepair across a parking lot from the new city hall, the old city hall now is so far gone that the city would need about one-half million dollars to fix it.

“Restoring the old city hall to a condition where it can be used by the public, where it can be a community center for the old part of town, is important,” Wilson said.

Wilson credited nothing more or less than his vigorous campaigning for his victory against Ekakiadis, whose contentious exchanges with City Manager Tom Mattis and Mayor Mike Gonzalez often lent to the Kyle council meetings a touch of drama. Wilson said that as he tried getting voters to know him, he ended up getting to know them.

“When you start the process early and have a continuing relationship with voters, that’s important,” Wilson said. “Hard work on the campaign trail shows that you want the job and that when you get to the job, you will work hard in it. I learned lots of nuts and bolts. There’s a wide variety of things where if you didn’t go out and get to know voters, you wouldn’t know about these concerns voters have.”

On the dramatic side might be counted Buda, which debuts a significantly reconstituted city council tonight. Following its first election since passing a home rule charter last November, the Buda council expands from six members to seven and now utilizes the mayor as a full voting member.

Hutch White, who lost his mayoral bid against Bobby Lane in May, now is off the council after six years. Kelly Allen, who ran unopposed, will join the council tonight, along with Ron Fletcher, who easily won his election against Gerry O’Brien.

One more seat remains to be determined before the council goes to full strength. Former Buda Mayor Billy Gray, who nearly received a majority in a three-way race last month, goes to a June 14 run-off election against newcomer Scott Dodd. Gray took 180 of 394 votes case in May, with Dodd receiving 110 and Todd Ruge taking 104.

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