San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 21st, 2009
City leaders push legislative priorities

Associate Editor

Federal and state legislative sessions are in order, and San Marcos is pushing its agenda.

Mayor Susan Narvaiz and City Manager Rick Menchaca made their way to Washington last week to meet with the city’s federal representatives, including U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Saying the city is interested in taking advantage of an economic stimulus package new President Barack Obama is working out with Congress, Narvaiz wished to inform Washington lawmakers about the city’s requests.

“We wanted to make sure that while they are voting and in the process, they know what our priorities are in the city and regionally,” Narvaiz said.

Narvaiz said “shovel-ready” projects top the list, including an overpass on Aquarena Springs Dr. and the Loop 110 around the southeastern part of the city.

Narvaiz said local officials lobbied Washington to accept San Marcos population numbers in the Census counts, believing it would help to increase federal transportation funding and facilitate breaking ground on mass transit. The city is claiming a population slightly in excess of 50,000.

On reaching 50,000, cities are eligible for additional types of federal funding. However, said Narvaiz, the Census Bureau denied the request, as it is taking a new count in 2010. Narvaiz said increased capital due to a growing population won’t make it to the city until about 2013, due to federal processes.

Staff for Doggett and Hutchison made time to squeeze in San Marcos City officials before the holiday weekend. Menchaca said he and Narvaiz were on their way to their first meeting as soon as they landed in Washington last Thursday.

Winstead PC represents San Marcos in government relations with Austin and Washington. City communications director Melissa Millecam said San Marcos lobbies the state for legislation, while, in Washington, money is the number one priority.

“We don’t have a federal legislative agenda,” Millecam said. “We ask them for funding.”

Millecam said the federal government provided $10 million for the Wonder World extension project, and approximately $3.5 million for the local airport, aside from the monies provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Last Oct. 6, the city council held a workshop to discuss a proposed legislative program for the state legislative session that started this month. The council clarified its direction on legislative priorities, which include:

· Protecting water resources
· Enhancing air and land transportation
· Prohibiting the General Land Office from purchasing properties for private development
· Protecting the tax base
· Preserving eminent domain authority
· Promoting alternate energy resources
· Protecting municipally owned electric utilities
· Promoting economic development
· Opposing new state fees on city services

The city is working with State Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) for legislation that would benefit local developers who are interested in purchasing “real property; personal property that is not affixed to real property; or services, including services for the construction of a building, road, street, bridge, utility, or storm drainage facility.” Under the bill in progress, the city could accept the second lowest bid from a local party, as opposed to the lowest bid for a project from an outsider.

However, there is a stipulation. The second lowest bid from a local party must lie within five percent of the lowest bid price received by the city from a bidder who is not a resident of San Marcos. The bill says the local bidder must offer “the municipality the best combination of contract price and additional economic development opportunities for the municipality created by the contract award, including the employment of residents of the municipality and increased tax revenues to the municipality.”

The city council adopted the legislative action program last Oct. 21.

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0 thoughts on “City leaders push legislative priorities

  1. Im glad the mayor and city manager were fighting for San Marcos in Washington. We need representation that will represent us, otherwise why are we electing them. It’s good to see our city leaders taking the initiative and hopefully will get results.

  2. Those hogs at the trough you speak of are actually trying to get things done for San Marcos. How much can be said about you or your(if any)efforts? what have you done or are doing for the city? or have you not made it to pig level yet!
    Im not the biggest fan of our city government, but it’s nice to see they are trying to do something good for our community.

  3. What an intelligent comment Craig.

    Aren’t you the chairman of the Hays County Republican Party? And this is the best you can do to comment on the City of San Marcos’ legislative agenda?

    If name-calling is how you intend to win elections in the future, you may have under-estimated the electorate of Hays County.

  4. Name calling is a way to win class president in highschool, it has no bearing in the professional realm of city government. Lila, you bring up a good point, if the chairman of the Hays County Republican Party is indeed using childish tactics to win elections, then perhaps they are not much different than the supporters of John McCain, and will find themselves in the same predicament – the other party/ candidate will win the race! I just dont understand how, in 2009, someone would call our Mayor and City Manager “hogs” just because they are fighting in Washington for our community.

  5. I’m quite pleased to hear that we are making an effort to get some of this money for local projects. It’s your tax money people and it is going to be spent somewhere. Would you be happier if it all went somewhere else?

  6. I am not speaking on behalf of the Party. I am a small government Conservative and am frankly tired of politicians seeking pork from Washington. We need to face it, Washington doesn’t have any money they either borrow from the Chinese or print it out of thin air. They won’t even let us know how much of this fiat currency is in circulation. They are taxing future generations to pay for this. Don’t blame me when the house of cards come tumbling down. Don’t insult me by making McCain comparisons, he lost because he voted for the bailout. He is anything but conservative.

  7. No Craig. You’re not being smart here. The State of Texas sends a large portion of taxes to Washington D.C. every year. Why shouldn’t we get a portion of this money back to our state? Because you don’t believe in Big Government?

    Give me a break. We pay our taxes. We ought to get our fair share back.

    It’s not a hand-out. It’s what we deserve. Why would you want to cheat the taxpayers of Hays County? It just doesn’t make sense.

    You’re placing ideology over commonsense. Get over it.

  8. While I agree with Craig’s beliefs on government waste and spending, I also have to admit that if we don’t get the money here in San Marcos, the federal government will just send it somewhere else.

    It’s naive to believe that the feds will lower our taxes or their spending simply because reps from San Marcos, TX didn’t ask for any.

    Our Government has a problem with spending….but I think it’s a problem that has to be fixed from the top down, not the bottom up.

  9. That stipulation seems ominous. Wouldn’t giving a company who pays local taxes the contract be the only way to ensure “increased tax revenues to the municipality.” Let’s keep up with the cost benefit analysis.

    Well put Craig, about the state of U.S. finance.
    “Pigs at the trough” sounded more like a metaphor than name calling. The John McCain straw man equation was probably more offensive.

  10. My point is that the current system is unworkable and a mockery of what our founding fathers had in mind. Do you think Thomas Jefferson envisioned a scenario where local communities would race to DC to line up at the trough in order to make sure that a neighboring community didn’t eat into their fair share of the slop? I suggest that we set an example and reject the status quo. Perhaps I am an idealist. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same things over and over expecting a different outcome.

    Why don’t we send the Mayor to Bejing and cut out the middle man? I suspect the Saudis and Chinese will begin to rethink their participation in this scam. Have any of you been following events in Zimbabwe? Iceland? Increased government spending is not the answer. Shame on us all for tolerating this.

    “Government is a monumental drag on this economy. Government at all levels currently absorb about 35-40 percent of GDP, which is still not enough for its voracious appetite. While productivity is already overtaxed, the government routinely spends more than it takes in and makes up for the shortfall by constantly borrowing or debasing our dollars through inflation.”

    Ron Paul

  11. Wait….so we’ve given them our money…and now we’re saying we need it back? How about they just don’t take it in their first place? Oh wait…the’ve already spent it and now we’re running up a huge deficit.

    You want to help San Marcos, Washington? Fine, cut our income taxes in half. But taxing us left and right then making us jump through hoops to get a tiny fraction of it back isn’t ethical and certinaly isn’t Constitutional. The system as it stands is horribly flawed.

  12. Craig, the problem is that we Republicans, and I have voted Republican far more often in my life than Democrat, are in no position to criticize this spending orgy, not after the way Bush and the Republican congress spent in the years they were in power.

  13. Larry, let’s not surrender our beliefs and values because our Republican leadership has. Those participating in the orgies are to blame, not the ones who believed these liars. I agree we squandered our majority.

  14. I don’t see how San Marcos abstaining from the “orgy” would change anything.

    I’ll give you $100 for every politician in DC you can find who would even notice if we didn’t try to get some of the bailout money and $10,000 for every one of them who would rethink their position if San Marcos bowed out of the bailout.

    I’ll second the notion that the problem needs to be fixed from the top down.

  15. When they send you your bailout rebate check, be sure to send it right back and tell them you don’t want any of that money until they show you where they cut spending to cover it.

    After all, there are two ways to stop spending more than you take in. Spend less or take in more.

  16. My sentiment exactly. You really hit the nail on the head Ted. Im not for big spending, but ultimately the government IS going to spend ALL that money, and have a time limit to do so. Why would we be bitter that our mayor and city manager went up to Washington and fight for San Marcos’ part. I commend them. We paid those taxes, why not have them help our community out.

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  18. The problem with Craig’s attitude is that it’s not just that he’s against big government, he’s against ANY government. He thinks we will all be just fine if government goes away. I guess he would have our roads built by private entities (that would be toll roads) – and our sewers and water utilities run by the private corporations that are taking them over anyway.

    Of course, we can see now what happens when we have no government regulation…

    The problem isn’t government. The problem is what we do with that government. And over the last decade, we have let greed take over our government. Government spending is not necessarily a bad thing. If it’s done right, it can accomplish amazing things – like the construction of the interstate system of highways (accomplished by a Republican administration). How could locals alone have achieved that feat?

    Of course, when it’s used to give CEOs bonuses and used to refurnish their offices – hey, even I have a problem with that.

    By the way, the word for a society with no government is – anarchy. Does this make Ron Paul an anarchist?

  19. Wow, Lila, that came out of nowhere. I don’t think anything Craig’s said could even be remotely considered anarchist.

    And no, Ron Paul is not an anarchist. But I think you already knew that.

  20. It would help to stick to the topic at hand and leave the assumptions about what someone else might or might not believe out of it.

    Gross exaggerations about each others’ stances on issues will only serve to further divide us…and they don’t make you sound as witty as you might think.

  21. I agree with Dano here. I believe that we should stay away from fallacious ad hominem attacks. I fail to understand this “kill the messenger” mentality. Being the Hays County Republican Chairman, does not mean that I lack the capacity to form my own opinions (or that expressing them here is somehow politically motivated). For the record, I am a very outspoken critic of toll roads and public-private-partnerships (Google TURF). I have a big problem with the private sector usurping the powers of government, especially eminent domain. Further, I believe that government does have it’s proper roles, including sanitation and preservation of our God given liberties. Governments should have to live within their means just like the taxpayers. This new proposed stimulus package is just as irresponsible, as the bailouts.


  22. Now you’re speaking your mind Craig. I’m glad to hear what you really believe in. We are actually in agreement about everything, except the stimulus package. Although I think it’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten to the point where our government has to act on this bill.

    I stand corrected. Craig does believe in government, and therefore is not an anarchist. But I’m not so sure about Ron Paul.

    Sorry, about your last line. I haven’t taken any Latin for about 30 years and I’m just too lazy to translate this morning.

  23. To Dano:

    I agree with you about gross exaggerations dividing us. Check out the Hays County Republicans website. They have some nice clips pertaining to this subject that they posted regarding the presidential election. Of course, since the election is over, this hardly seems relevant anymore.

    Except, perhaps, in the sense that some people can dish it out, but they can’t take it.

  24. Let’s be clear here. Anarchy is defined as the complete absence of government,
    political disorder and violence; lawlessness, disorder in any sphere of activity. On the other hand, Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and an egalitarian redistribution of wealth(*).

    Lila, do you agree with this definition of anarchy or is your definition of anarchy much more subjective, to include anyone who opposes the “socialist’s utopia”?

    Some of us (Ron Paul especially) believe that our government is built upon a certain blueprint. This blueprint is known as the US Constitution. If you want to play fast and loose with the Constitution and call it “a living document” go ahead, but in I my opinion, this approach has led us where we are today.

    *see stimulus package

  25. I don’t know where you got your definition of anarchy. But my “Mr. Dictionary” defines anarchy as: 1. a state of society without government or law. 2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control 3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal.

    I think you are mixing up the separate possible usages of the word in your definition. I was using the first definition. The absence of government. I wasn’t editorializing beyond that.

    you will note in the second definition, wherein they mention political and social disorder, that it is due to the absence of “governmental control,” not necessarily the complete absence of government.

    And I never said anything about socialism.

    And I would never play fast and loose with the U.S. Constitution (I’m a card-carrying ACLU member, after all). Nor would I refer to it as a “blueprint.” When things are being built, changes are often made from the original blueprints. I would prefer to call the Constitution what it really is. Again, quoting from “Mr. Dictionary:” A system of fundamental principles according to which a nation is governed.

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