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. Today, Place 5 council member Ryan Thomason and his write-in challenger, Melissa Derrick, take our questions. Early voting starts Oct. 22. Election Day is Nov. 6.


Ryan Thomason, 34

Wood and Thomason Construction

How long have you lived in San Marcos?
29 years

Where in San Marcos do you live?
Franklin Square

The city’s Capital Improvements Program has identified tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments that city officials say need to be made in coming years. Many of these projects are underway but every year many more are deferred for lack of money. Do you have anything concrete to offer in terms of special skills or ideas that will help the city identify more funding so streets and public works projects can be completed sooner?

I’ve been working very hard along with other council members to get more money in the maintenance budget for roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure in order to avoid these enormously expensive and time consuming projects whenever possible. If we can better fund street maintenance we will not have to accrue as much debt to rebuild failed roads. In the past two budgets we’ve increased the road/sidewalk maintenance budget from $300,000 to $835,000, however we still have a ways to go in order to have adequate funding for as many miles of pavement that we have to maintain.

You are sharing the ballot with a nonbinding referendum on whether the city should step in to buy property along the San Marcos River known locally as Cape’s Camp. At the same time, a developer is proposing an apartment complex that would include giving 20 acres of riverfront property to the city for a park. Do you think the city should buy Cape’s Camp and adjoining property upfront or take the developer’s donation offer?

For legal reasons as a current councilmember I can’t answer this question.

This year, the San Marcos City Council voted to outlaw the display or consumption of alcohol in any city-owned park, including those along the San Marcos River. The alcohol ban goes into effect Jan. 1. New park rules approved by the city council also increase littering fines and ban tobacco, Styrofoam and spearfishing. Did the council gets the new rules package right? Please explain your answer.

I thought the parks ordinance was far over due in many aspects such as banning Styrofoam however I think an all out ban on alcohol is over reaching. I thought there should have been at least one park where someone could have a beer and grill a burger with out breaking the law. After all, this is Texas.

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

Over the past 3 years whether I believed in the initiative or not I’ve consistently supported the citizens right to vote on an issue that impacts the city as a whole and plan to continue to.

Under current law, the city can issue only about a dozen conditional use permits to operate a bar in the Central Business District. All the allotted permits were claimed years ago. The current system does allow entrepreneurs to serve alcohol at restaurants but the legal definition of “restaurant” has been in a constant state of flux under city law for the last decade. Do you support changes to the city’s CUP system for bars? If so, what changes do you suggest? If not, please explain why you think the current ordinance is good policy?

I was a part of the creation of that ordinance and actually wanted to restrict the number of bar licenses more than we did. A certain number of unrestricted bar permits are good but too many would allow our square to become a small ‘6th Street’ and no one wants that. The council put measures in to require new alcohol serving businesses to prove their existence in other ways first. The desire to diversify the downtown business types has been seen and heard in all areas, including many bar owners.

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?

We have looked at many different types of tax credits over the years and will continue to see different requests based on the economy and type of business. Some companies look for property tax exemptions while some look for sales tax and yet others look for personal property tax exemptions. In a competitive market place we must look at all options and decide what is best for the city and allows us to best compete for jobs. San Marcos is diverse enough to where we seek manufacturing, distribution, technology, medical etc. There’s not a one size fits all model for economic development and there shouldn’t be a one size fits all model for incentives.

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13 thoughts on “Q&A: Ryan Thomason on the issues

  1. Good answers.

    Seems strange that there are no questions about the master plan, or neighborhoods/rezoning.

  2. I agree with Intelligent Citizen!
    How dare he schedule a vacation, probably way in advance as most are, when the CONA debate schedule comes out a week or so before it actually happens.
    C’Mon now! Who cares!

  3. It’s all about positioning your candidate and trying to position the opposition as well.

    Derrick’s campaign seems to be primarily about opposing development….so they’re trying to paint Thomason as a corporate puppet who doesn’t care about the neighborhoods of San Marcos. What better way to do that than to make a big deal about his inability to attend a CONA event?

    It’s a pretty transparent ploy, but LMC does like to play the politics game.

  4. Shocking isn’t it that voters actually like to see debate advocacy before they vote vs. reading the comments section on the Mercury. Hmmm let me see Thomason gets a stipend, he sure travels allot on the taxpayer money, his business is booming from his elected position. So sorry the election season had to take a back seat to your vacation season.

  5. Travels alot on tax payers money? How do you know this to be true?
    Also how do you know that his business is booming from his elected position?

  6. its called open records requests SM_2002

    regarding his travel:
    there is a link on the Shane Scott thread of the totals if you’d like to take a gander

    $29,000 plus since he took office up thru April of 2012 of tax payer monies for travel and compensation
    it is not unreasonable to expect Mr. Thomason to show up to the CONA debate and defend his record

    this is election season after all – or maybe they thought the shenanigans of talking people out of running against his seat work work….thank goodness for independent candidates like Melissa Derrick!!!

    regarding his business…you’ve got to be kidding, his signs are all over town with new construction projects…nice try….. Heck he even gives city awards at the state of the city address to his clients, even if their business hurts a pre-existing business. Then that award is used to justify the business before the P&z.

    When has Thomason not voted as a “corporate puppet?” Clearly you like to “play the politix game.”

  7. It is odd that several Council members claim they legally cannot speak on the Cape’s Camp parkland issues. This is not true. They can speak personally all they want to about this, anywhere they want to, but they just can’t use city resources to advocate. Perhaps they just don’t understand what the city attorney has told them. Or maybe they don’t want to say anything that would inform voters about their opinions, before the election.

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