San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

EDITOR’S NOTE: The San Marcos Mercury asked city council candidates to answer a few questions about their positions on issues. We are publishing them as they come in. The last in this series for Place 3 candidates is from former longtime council member and small business owner John Thomaides. He is running against Toby Hooper, Nicholas Cubides and Terry Nichols for the Place 3 seat. Early voting started on Monday; Election Day is Nov. 8


John Thomaides, 46

Occupation: Owner/General Manager, Alpha Pure Water
How long lived in San Marcos? 20 years
Where in town do you live? Victory Gardens

Will you vote to further restrict smoking in public places or put the measure on the ballot for a citywide vote?

I have been consistent in stating that I would like to see the smoking ordinance come through the petition process of the citizens. If there is that level of support, I believe that a community changing policy like this should be a decision that should be on the ballot for a vote by all citizens.

There has been a lot of talk this election season about how the city and school district are going to sink or swim together. What specifically can a city council member do to improve the school district and the school district’s image?

I support education initiatives by our school district, public and private organizations and Texas State and will promote the benefits and successes of our school district within the region and our community. I will work with the School Board to accept the new Open Government policy, recently adopted by the city and which I helped lead on, to engage more citizens and provide easier access to the decisions being made and the details of the school district finances and policies. I am very excited and hopeful about this renewed relationship of the Big 4: City, School District, University, and County.

The Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency is locking down a future water supply for San Marcos and surrounding areas but it isn’t going to be cheap. The first phase alone is expected to cost $109 between now and 2020. Do you support continued funding of HCPUA?

I was on the council and voted to establish and fund the HCPUA and remain committed to providing a water supply to future generations of residents of San Marcos. My main concern is the cost and guaranteed availability of any water rights that are purchased. I will only vote to continue funding if we are absolutely guaranteed that the water we are paying for will be there when we need it.

Do you support forgiving property tax over a set period as a way to encourage companies to relocate or expand in San Marcos? If so, what kind of companies do you support giving economic development incentives to?

I have a record of supporting property tax abatements to help recruit or expand companies that hire San Marcos citizens and provide quality jobs that pay good wages with benefits. Examples of my support for this include:

  1. Grifols who has committed to bring 190 new jobs with average salaries over $38,000 and make a $76 million investment within our community
  2. Phillips Wide-Lite who built a $24 million new operational facility and has committed to hire an additional 260 employees
  3. HEB Warehouse expansion which will result in 320 new jobs, all with benefits, while making a multi-million investment in our city and
  4. Central Texas Medical Center expanding with a 139 acute care medical facility that will hire an additional 95 highly skilled workers and bringing crucial expansion of medical care services within San Marcos and the surrounding area.

On city council, I will continue to make any decision regarding sacrificing our taxpayer funds to bring the best return on investment back to our community.

Police and firefighters won a controversial three-year contract in 2009 and will be back for another round of negotiations next year. What are you willing as a council member to offer them in terms of changes to present deal?

While on council, I voted to increase the San Marcos Police and Fire Departments operating budgets, 41 percent and 56 percent respectively. In addition, councils which I served on approved over $12 million in training and state of the art equipment and facilities. My record to make San Marcos safe included 37 additional members of these two departments. Having had first-hand experience as a councilmember with Meet and Confer negotiations I will rely on my experience and the experience of our City Manager and his staff to deliver recommendations based upon accurate research, common sense, and fiscal responsibility. My first priority is to keep our citizens safe from crime and the ravages of fire while protecting the integrity of our city’s budget, bond rating and tax rate.

If you weren’t running for city council this year, which of your three opponents would you vote for?

I will not use this question as an opportunity to attack my fellow candidates. Who I would support in the voting booth, in any election is personal and I would only share that if I chose to do so and felt that person would fight for the same issues I care so much about. I think the most important issue to focus on is the candidate’s proven record and experience. Ultimately, I trust the voters of this great community to make up their own minds about who they want to lead them into the future. For the past 20 years I have been a small independent business person who has had to make the hard decisions about my company’s finances and investments. These common sense decisions helped form my view of how government should operate. In these difficult economic times my experience in the private sector is critical. I have a proven record while serving this community, and as a member of City Council, I have:

  1. Participated in crafting seven balanced city budgets without a council initiated tax increase
  2. Delivered major transportation projects such as the Wonder World Drive Extension and overpass which was brought in under budget, the reconstruction of McCarty Lane providing a safe transport of our high school students and their families to the high school, and devising an innovative solution to C. M. Allen Parkway that added much need parking, increased safety for both cyclists and pedestrians and resulted in a $1 million saving for the taxpayer.
  3. Increased sports and recreational opportunities in our public parks to promote community health and tourism. I supported a partnership with Hays County to build regional soccer and tennis facilities that not only improved our community’s health but also our bottom line by attracting out of town families to our city.

Each vote is critically important. The outcome of this election speaks volumes about the priorities we feel important and that will continue to make our city great. Whoever you choose to vote for, one of the most important things you can do for your community is VOTE!

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