by JUDE PRATHER
After long hours of prayer, debate, and thought, I have decided to run again for San Marcos City Council in the 2009 election. After conceding defeat in the 2007 city council election, and it was decided after a recount that I had lost by three votes, I knew then that my desire to serve San Marcos still burned. However, fate like that election had a different path. A few months later, I was recalled by the Army to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through adversity and this journey I have become a stronger and determined public servant; attributes that could serve San Marcos well during these uncertain economic times. Given San Marcos’ heavy reliance on sales tax, which contributes 48.15% to the city’s General Revenue Fund, a significant amount of that is generated through retail sales from the Outlet Malls.
San Marcos faces hard challenges ahead and we will be faced with tough decisions in the unfortunate event that consumer spending continues to decline. Consequently, we must look for other avenues for income for San Marcos. A traditional and reliable source of income for a town is a strong property tax base, which is why we must protect the integrity of our neighborhoods and allow the addition of new property to this tax base. Although Texas State University property is exempt from paying taxes, the school brings in many other positive aspects to our city. When I return from my tour I will continue my education at Texas State, along with my wife, Kathy Martinez Prather, where I will finish my Public Administration degree, and my wife will begin her Ph.D.
However, I will be one of many other veterans using their benefits under the Post 9-11 GI Bill. The “New GI Bill,” which includes a full scholarship towards tuition, a nearly $1,200 monthly stipend, and $1,000 a year for books, will bring a new era of opportunity for our nation’s veterans and will have a positive economic benefit to San Marcos. Therefore we need to be making every attempt to recruit these veterans to move to San Marcos. This can be as simple as putting a San Marcos brochure in the out processing buildings in Ft. Hood and the bases in San Antonio, as well as creating a Veterans Court for our nation’s heroes who fall into trouble. Something I campaigned on in 2007 and pitched to Council members before I left was a Veterans Commission, which has currently made it to the council’s agenda, can serve as another avenue for ideas and veterans programs. San Marcos has fallen behind in regard to veterans care and after nearly 8 years of war it is time we start serving those who have served.
Fellow citizens, I want to be your public servant and be a good steward of our tax dollars. It is time we start rebuilding our neighborhoods and helping our fellow neighbors in need. I want to focus on green infrastructure improvements that allow efficiency and promote the use of bike and transit. I want to be a bridge in the “town and gown” issues we have. I will give our police and fire department the tools to make us safe. As a town we must prepare for the future needs of water resources and we must protect our river and aquifer in what seems to be a never ending drought. Most importantly, we need to protect what makes our city so beautiful and gives it her soul, the San Marcos River and our green spaces.
Thank you, and God Bless Texas.Email | Print