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 is with retired banker Wayne Becak, who is challenging incumbent Chris Jones for the Place 4 seat on the San Marcos City Council. Early voting started last week; Election Day is Nov. 8

Wayne Becak

Wayne Becak, 62

Occupation: Retired community bank executive
How long have you lived in San Marcos? 19.5 years
What part of town do you live in? Willow Creek

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

I personally do not smoke and would like to see more businesses not allow smoking because of the related health hazards to customers and staff working for those businesses. However, I also have a real concern about government at all levels continuing to regulate, dictate, and restrict private property rights especially when we can choose where we want to go and the business owner can choose whether to allow smoking in their establishment.

With that said, I would vote to put a non-binding referendum on the ballot because I believe we should give our citizens the opportunity to vote if there is strong enough public demand for it, however we must be specific in drafting the language on the ballot so there will be no confusion and the intent is well defined.

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?

The City Council and SMCISD board recently conducted a joint workshop to discuss ways the city and school district can work in partnership. This workshop was a follow up of a previous April 2011 meeting where a list of common goals were developed to include but not limited to sharing resources and services, enhancing after school activities, promoting community spirit, increasing professional development, and training opportunities.

We need to continue to work at accomplishing these goals to include involving all stakeholders & organizations in the community to achieve success.

We need to support partnerships that include SMCISD, Gary Job Corps, ACC and Texas State University to provide different types of opportunities and choices for students that also include vocational and technical fields. With the implementation of new Academy Model at our High School, we are preparing our students for life after high school based on their career interests. Opportunities to volunteer, as I have to serve in various capacities to support our high school academies are available for those who are interested. I will continue to be a strong supporter of our school district and will do whatever I can on Council to support our school district!

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 million dollars between now and 2020. Do you support continued funding of HCPUA?

Having adequate water sources is critical for our city’s future economic growth, creation of higher paying jobs, broadening our tax base and strengthening our city services and enhancing the overall quality of life for all of our citizens. I think it is important to make sure we have sufficient water resources for future growth, however, we must be certain that we are getting a positive return on the money we invest towards future water rights. From my discussion with members currently on city council, business leaders, and other citizens in our community, I believe we must continue in this partnership at this time, however, we have some of the highest water rates in the state, so we must be careful as we move forward to assure we are going to get the economic growth necessary to broaden our tax base so we as citizens can afford to pay for our water in the future.

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?

While I don’t support just giving our tax dollars away, when used properly, incentives can bring a positive return to the city by providing infrastructure development, recruiting new companies and helping existing companies expand and create more jobs. I will support incentives that bring a positive return on our investment, broaden and diversify our tax base and provide an overall positive benefit to our community in the area of economic development and good local job creation.

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?

Our police and firefighters are an important part of our community and until we know what their needs are in conjunction with our city’s financial condition when the time comes to meet and confer, I cannot intelligently say what terms I’m willing to offer them for a new contract at this.

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