GUEST COMMENTARY by SUSAN NARVAIZ
After months of thought and prayer, I have decided not to seek another term as Mayor of San Marcos. I am incredibly grateful for the support of our community, the dedication of City staff, the hard work by the City Council and the great achievements of the past eight and a half years of my service to the City. This has been an awesome journey! A journey made possible by each and every one of you who have supported me during my years of service. I want to thank my family and friends who have continued to encourage me, but most especially my husband, Mike, with whom God has blessed me.
During my tenure, I have devoted my best ideas, my most creative thinking and my passion to bring greater prosperity to our community. I have been humbled and amazed at the spirit of the people who call San Marcos home for their families, their businesses and for education.
The list of accomplishments of the City Council in the past eight years is long and varied. It includes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as the transformation of Rio Vista Dam, the acquisition of the 251 acre Springlake Preserve, and the construction of the first two railroad overpasses in our city’s 159 year history on Wonder World Drive and Yarrington Road.
We have created unique and successful partnerships, such as the five year process to negotiate and construct the Embassy Suites Hotel and City of San Marcos Conference Center and the expansion of the outlet malls. Our hotel and conference center have become a premier attraction for conferences and special events large and small along the I35 corridor. We have expanded both malls and encouraged other retail developments to ensure our competitive edge in the retail market, protecting our important sales tax revenue. During this time we revitalized the cornerstone buildings in our Downtown to renew our commitment to the core of our city. We made significant improvements in our development processes to demonstrate San Marcos is open for business.
We have completed such exciting transportation and public safety projects as the Wonder World Drive extension, Post Road, Sessom Drive, our Airport Tower, and the new Fire Department headquarters. We have initiated other voter approved bond projects such as McCarty Lane/ Loop 110, Rio Vista Terrace, and Victory Gardens to improve the infrastructure, quality and mobility of our neighborhoods.
We have implemented many significant financial policies at City Hall that protect our local government from downturns in the economy and provide a strategy to manage spending reductions when necessary. We also adopted a formal, responsible economic development plan with guidelines for incentive consideration based on job creation with increased salary structures and performance accountabilitites.
In recent years, we have created thousands of new jobs, according to CAPCOG. CNNMoney.com has designated Hays County as the third top job-creating county in the United States—much of that attributed to job growth in San Marcos. San Marcos was named by BusinessWeek Magazine as one of the top 10 places to raise children. San Marcos was added back into the “Austin-Round Rock-SAN MARCOS” Metropolitan Statistical Area—demonstrating that our community is an important and influential anchor city in the region.
We have strived for openness and citizen involvement on so many levels: initiating the annual Citizen Summit to gain input for our goal setting and our budget process. We revised the City Council meeting agendas to offer multiple opportunities for citizen comment during meetings and public hearings. We implemented the annual State of the City address to report back on our progress and the challenges San Marcos faces. We initiated regular coffees at City Hall, neighborhood walks, and award-winning programs such as the ACT (Achieving Community Together) program to bridge the divide between student and non-student residents of our community.
We established processes to engage more citizens in Board and Commission service and initiated Appreciation events like our Veteran’s Day Parade acknowledge our heroes and thank our volunteers. We added a Texas State student liaison at the dais with the City Council—to ensure that the perspective of university students is heard and to expand their understanding of their personal responsibilities as community members.
We have emphasized partnerships at many levels—starting with citizens, neighborhoods, Texas State University, Hays County, the region, the State of Texas and the U.S. Congress.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the citizens of San Marcos as Mayor and thankful for the many people that I have had the great privilege of working with who were integral to the success that we have all shared in.
I look forward to the future with great faith in the commitment of our City staff and community leaders to build upon our achievements. I know that I stood on the broad shoulders of those who came before me, and I am proud to have been able to provide a foundation for those who will come after. I thank all of you who welcomed me to city hall years ago, an average citizen who happened to become your mayor, and I go forward with confidence that the best is yet to come! May God continue to Bless San MarcosEmail | Print