This is the second in a series of articles covering the three candidates for mayor. They will be published in the order the candidates made themselves available for interviews. Included in each will be the actual audio from the interview.
Mayor Susan Clifford Narvaiz is running for a third term because “I love this city and I love serving people.” Narvaiz says San Marcos has seen “great progress and there’s more prosperity and more for us to do together.”Narvaiz, a homeowner, is the CEO and owner of Core Strategies, a company she started in 1997. The company consults with human resource related companies to provide training and “to facilitate employer related issues.”
At the request of Narvaiz, the Capital Area Council of Government estimated that from 2004 to the end of 2007, over 6,000 jobs were created in San Marcos. For Narvaiz, this job creation is a reflection of a city government attitude she has worked to instill. She has pushed to establish “a message of ‘open for business'” for potential companies. Firms “know that they’re going to be in a business friendly town and they invest.”
Under Narvaiz’s leadership, the city government contracted with two firms to lobby the state and federal governments. As a result, San Marcos has “received close to $14 million in federal money back in the hands of the citizens.”
Narvaiz said three most important accomplishments as mayor are Rio Vista Falls, the Conference Center-Hotel project and establishing the Spring Lake Preserve. She described the Rio Vista Falls transformation as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” The city took a citizen’s idea and gained the support of the Corps of Engineers and many regulatory bodies in order “to make a 61 day opportunity happen.”
The second accomplishment was the Conference Center-Hotel. Narvaiz said the project will be a “huge economic generator for our town.” The conference center led directly to what she sees as her third accomplishment: the purchase of 251 acres to establish the Spring Lake Preserve. “I don’t think every mayor is going to be able to claim … so many legacy projects.”
Narvaiz said she has tried to keep Texas State students here after graduation by enhancing job opportunities but acknowledged, “it’s an area we continue to work on.” Narvaiz pointed to the success of the city in keeping Kula Byte, a local software company started by two Texas State graduates, here in town instead of relocating. Narvaiz said her goal has been to change the way economic development is done in San Marcos. She said she has tried to orient economic development to “look at who we’re graduating and then go and find the companies to bring to San Marcos” that need the skills of our graduates. “I think you’ve seen a change in how we do business”, said Narvaiz.
She said water rates are an important issue. She pointed to city government decisions going back maybe 15 to 20 years that San Marcos needed to reduce its dependence on the aquifer. She said that in order to do that, the city needed to purchase water from other sources and to develop surface water. San Marcos made those commitments along with many other corridor cities. “We were true to our word and made the investment while other cities continued to drain and drink” the aquifer. Narvaiz said the good news is that we kept our word and “we are 75% off the aquifer.” The bad news is that our water rates are “higher than anyone else’s.”
Narvaiz said city government is trying to ensure water “well into the future” and is reviewing issues such as water purchases, reselling water and water recycling. Narvaiz believes the city “may not need to purchase as much [water] in the future because we‘re doing a better job” of conservation. She said the city is using reclaimed water for lawns and to further manufacturing, and reselling factory reclaimed factory water. “We will be producing income in the very near future that will offset the need to raise water rates.”
The three most important issues facing San Marcos in the next five years for Narvaiz are economic prosperity, water, and keeping lock government affordable. Narvaiz said economic prosperity means “creating better paying jobs” and “people getting more money in their paycheck.” Located in central Texas, Narvaiz believes “water is going to continue to be a top issue.” She said keeping government affordable is a broad issue because it concerns such basics as garbage collection but also our electric utility. Narvaiz says the question is how do you “provide the type of government that the people expect at a price they can afford.”
In closing, Narvaiz said the mayoral election was “about a choice. It’s about whether you believe someone has led you well and whether they’re the person who you want to continue to lead you for the next two years.” Narvaiz believes that the record over the last four years shows that the city government has addressed issues in everyone’s area such as park land, bike lanes, sidewalks, health care services, job creation, “changing our attitude about being open to businesses”, and relations with Texas State. Narvaiz concluded by saying,
“I’ve been honored to be the mayor. I will be honored to continue to be the mayor.”
by: Ed Mihalkanin
To read and listen to the interview with Mayoral Candidate David Newman, click here.
To read and listen to the interview with Mayoral Candidate Daniel McCarthy, click here.
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