Click below to listen to the interview with Chris Jones.
Incumbent Place 4 San Marcos’ Councilmember Chris Jones is running for a second term to ensure that San Marcos “continues to be a great place to live.” Jones said the city council can “set the tone” to make that happen. Jones said his experiences of the last three years as a councilmember have “prepared me to step up and address” future challenges.
Jones said the newly approved Downtown Master Plan and the Parks Master Plan, which is being developed now, will give the city a foundation and the “direction that we’re going to take over the next three years.” He said such master plans help him make decisions because they provide a “framework to think about policy.”Jones said San Marcos already offers Texas State graduates “an awesome quality of life.” This quality includes “the interest that people take in one another here.” More specifically, Jones said San Marcos is the “best for a graduate who is interested in starting his own small business.” He said Kula Media is a “clear example” of the city supporting a graduate’s new business.
Jones admitted that he would like the city to act more vigorously to ensure that graduates have a better opportunity here to stay and land a good job.
Jones expressed concern about San Marcos’ water rates and said the biggest reason for the high rates was “debt”; the debt the city acquired largely with the water treatment plant.
Jones said he did not receive adequate answers to his questions concerning the expansion of the water treatment plant. Jones is concerned about when the community will “actually see the benefit” of such an expansion. I have a hard time raising rates when we won’t see the benefits for 30 to 40 years.”
Jones said another aspect of the debt he was concerned with was the decision of city government to not be solely dependent on the aquifer. He said following through on that commitment added to the city’s debt.
Jones said the knowledge gained in how to build council consensus, combine his public administration academic training with his council experience, and work on the city budget will enable him, if re-elected, to help San Marcos face its future challengers.
He said the budget process, specifically, has taught him that if the city government cuts corners or allows private development to cut corners, then “we’re going to have to pay for those corners later.” Jones said in the last three years, the council has been “filling the gap” for corners that were cut 15 to 20 years ago. He cited drainage as a prime example of this issue. Jones said city government has had to spend more money now than if “the money had been invested at the front end.”
Jones said the three most important issues facing San Marcos in the next five years are: economic development, San Marcos’ image, and traffic and infrastructure. On economic development, Jones says, that for the past three years “we’ve been spinning our wheels. I don’t feel like we’ve gotten anywhere.” Jones said he feels that way because of the industry approach the city has taken.
City government has tried to bring in industries different from what already exists regionally. Jones said he is committed to attracting industries to San Marcos that “fit within what is in central Texas” now. He said the council needs “to hone in and find companies that fit within” the central Texas markets.
Jones argues that San Marcos has a “distinct identity, an identity that is rooted in our river [and] that finds its heartbeat in our Downtown.” He questioned, what do people see when they drive through San Marcos on I-35? He urged San Marcos not become “another cookie cutter city.” He said “we need to be a cleaner city” by cutting the grass and power washing the infrastructure around I-35 and the Downtown.
Thirdly, Jones is concerned with traffic. He said the synchronization of traffic lights needs to be monitored. Jones pointed out that it took him fifteen minutes to drive from Texas State to the county square. He said the city has “to do a better job” of ensuring synchronization matches traffic patterns.
Jones said city government needs to add more bicycle lanes and sidewalks. He pointed out that San Marcos is a town with a university of 29,000 students, “we need to be more of a walk-able city, a ride-able city.” Finally, Jones said if there was one thing that he could get from the federal government to help San Marcos, it would be money for commuter rail.
In closing, Jones said that “our government works at its finest when the citizens are participating.” He asked his fellow citizens to let the city council know what they are thinking and to continue to be engaged and committed to solving the problems facing San Marcos. Jones said that, “together we can do this. Over the next three years I would love for the opportunity to be your city council member”
by: Ed Mihalkanin
The interview with Lisa Coppoletta can be read here.Email | Print