Voting Information:

The General and Special Elections to be held Saturday, May 7, 2022, in the city of Leander, Texas, are administered by Williamson and Travis counties. For complete election details, go to leandertx.gov/elections.

In the General Election, voters may select candidates for Leander City Council Places 1, 3, and 5. All members of Leander City Council serve at large, which means each position represents the entire city, as opposed to smaller geographic wards or districts. Voters participating in the General Election may vote for any candidate on the ballot. In the Special Election, voters may select “Yes” or “No” on each of ballot Propositions A-O. Links to all proposition items appear after the General Election Candidates summary below.

 

Early Voting in Williamson County

  • April 25-30 (Mon-Sat)
  • May 2-3 (Mon-Tue)

Early Voting in Williamson County will take place in the Leander Public Library Annex located at 1011 S. Bagdad Road

 

Early Voting in Travis County

  • April 25-30 (Mon-Sat)
  • May 1-3 (Sun-Tue)

Early Voting for registered voters in Travis County will take place in the Christ Episcopal Church located at 3520 W. Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613.

 

Election Day in Williamson and Travis counties

  • May 7 (Saturday)

Election Day polling locations are to be determined. For complete election details, go to leandertx.gov/elections.

 

GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES

All members of the Leander City Council serve at large, which means each position represents the entire city, as opposed to smaller geographic wards or districts. Registered Leander voters participating in the election may vote for any candidate on the ballot.

This election cycle the General Election will be voting on Leander City Council for Place 1, Place 3 and Place 5 as well as several Special Election Propositions. You can find out more information on The City of Leander’s website.

Place 1

 

Kathryn Pantalion-Parker

Public Contact:
kp4leander@gmail.com
Social Media Link:
https://www.facebook.com/Kathryn4LeanderPlace1/

What are your top priorities if elected?

  • Keep money in Leander to benefit Leander
  • Balance Commercial and Residential to alleviate burden on homeowners and infrastructure
  • Maintain fiscally responsible budget while ensuring safety and city services
  • Continue trend of lower taxes and protect a sense of community
  • Support critical infrastructure improvements and conservation measures

 

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

Phasing plan encourages commercial growth and requires residential phasing. Support water and wastewater infrastructure and transportation for future growth.

In the past, there was a push for high density housing, the revenue for permit fees was higher than the sales tax collected. We feel the effects of the high density and now with the mass exodus out of other states to Texas, especially the Leander area, we feel the infrastructure pain that rapid growth can cause.

Developers see opportunity and want to develop here. People see new growth, a safe city to raise a family and want to live here. Landowners see that opportunity as well so prices increase. Classic supply and demand. I do not want to limit the landowners rights to sell and/ or develop their property but that does not mean taxpayers have to pay for the infrastructure to develop it. It should be a mutually beneficial partnership.

Council recently adopted a phasing plan to encourage commercial growth requiring residential with over 30 units to be phased in, not built all at once. Prior adoption of making the highly restrictive Smart Code “optional” was a move in the right direction, especially for attracting commercial development and jobs. The commercial development is crucial to alleviating the homeowners tax burden.

We must continue to focus on the approved water and wastewater infrastructure improvements and transportation masterplan for future growth. We must also consider the option of alternate resources such as groundwater and long-term planning for the expense.

 

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

Answers to the previous question covers much of the answer to this question and below regarding the ease of regulations to encourage business growth. In addition, effective two-way communication with developers and business owners to understand their needs and challenges as well as the developers understand our challenges and encourage them to partner with us for mutual success. While we may not be able to write an incentive check to lure businesses here, they recognize the growth opportunity by choosing Leander. And some fantastic people to work with!

When commercial developers and small business owners understand our needs, they will be better partners for mutual success. Communication is the key to that understanding.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

I stick by my original campaign slogan to “Do the Right Thing, Honor Everyone”. In a non-partisan position, this should be easy. What makes it difficult and divisive on a city level is when either side tries to bring partisan politics into City Hall where it does not belong. Over the 12 years of living in Leander, I have attended various events, supported ribbon cuttings and small businesses all over town and will continue. Business networking takes me all around the area and my small home business shows my home is open to everyone. One of my favorite compliments that I am humbled to hear often is that someone feels so welcome in our home. Even complete strangers as they arrive are friends as they leave. That mindset extends into my role on City Council. “You’re welcome here!”

Much of what council does is inspired by residents letting us know their concerns. In some situations, it may be a simple misunderstanding of the role of local government or the limit of our powers and in others it is a situation that needed attention or a change and we were made aware by a caring resident. We truly are of the people, by the people.

Having meaningful conversations with residents is something I enjoy greatly. I welcome them and see them as an opportunity to learn more and share ideas that will make us a better city. Keep the ideas coming but let us all give each other a little grace!

 

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

Increase commercial development and alleviate homeowners tax burden.

Leander is a city full of opportunity and developers know it. That in and of itself is a competitive edge. Council has alleviated a few of the regulations and at the direction of council, staff is in the process of reviewing additional regulations, ordinances and the permit process to make things even easier. These improvements are expected to be more business friendly, bring more development which translates to jobs. This review must be completed and changes implemented to help our standing.

The recent vote by Council to put the CapMetro “partnership” on the ballot, depending on the outcome, can create economic incentives in the long term, ultimately adding to that competitive edge. We also passed a resolution to convey the intent of the 1% sales tax if approved by voters, and explaining that the total sales tax remains at 8.25%. Businesses and good jobs should be in Leander, not down the tracks. Voters get to decide the outcome, but regardless, we are on a path of being easier to work with. I want the opportunity to see this hard work through to the next level.

The competitive edge also comes with land availability since we do not have the economic incentives available like other cities, due to the 1% that goes to CapMetro. I realize and respect that the rail is seen by some as an incentive that makes us competitive but based on the transit needs analysis that was unsubstantiated.

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

We have excellent staff but I bring diverse, common-sense approach to doing business, solving problems and I love building relationships. I believe that everyone is in sales and everyone represents the community. The more community involvement, the better the understanding of the community needs, wants and of course the personality. These are unique times but we are still about people and experiences. I have served our community in many ways and areas over the years and I do believe that contributes to my ability and desire to serve on City Council.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

My vision for the future of Leander is very bright. I see a healthy balance of jobs, offices, commercial space, greenspace/ parks, shopping and entertainment with thriving neighborhoods that gather and support the community as a whole. Transportation networks that make living here a welcome change to other cities. I will continue to encourage community involvement, urge others to understand more about local government and the importance of their contribution.

When we focus on the future together, we can do this.

 

Trey Schisser

Public Contact:
trey@trey4leander.com
Social Media Link:

https://www.facebook.com/Trey4Leander

 

What are your top priorities if elected?

Resident outreach and community togetherness is what we need to make sure our business climate thrives. This is because that small town feel everyone loves is not based on size or economics, it is about how connected we feel to those around us and our shared identity. Fostering that shared identity is the key to growing the city in a way that prepares for the future while honoring the past efforts and experiences of the community. In addition, I want to focus on responsible growth and business development that will bring opportunities to residents and improve the sustainability of our tax base.

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

Our city needs long term stewardship to help balance the demands between maintaining our small town character, sustainable diversification of our tax base, and the needs of residents. Infrastructure improvements to our water system, road network, and continued expansion of emergency services goes a long way to support these goals. There are other tangible and intangible infrastructure needs that we need to invest in as well. I want to see the city help organize and support community groups that encourage socialization and idea exchange so we can better understand our neighbors. And I think we need a modernization effort to improve communication and ease of access to city resources for residents.

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

We need to see the city work closely with the business community to further develop our image as a tight knit small town with opportunities for everyone. We need to work with existing businesses to identify complementary services we can recruit in order to make Leander a more compelling destination city. And, with the goal of expanding employment opportunities for residents, we need to work with developers to build out infrastructure that will attract a wide range of employers to our city.

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

Many of the problems we have are related to communication. I want to organize town hall style events, in person or virtual, between the community and the city. Events where community members can ask questions and department heads or council members have the time and resources to respond so that misconceptions and misunderstandings can be worked through.

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

Relative to cities in our region, I feel that our tax rates are fair, our city codes are a little out of sync with the needs of modern planning and development, and that our job creation leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily I am concerned that our city is not creating good paying middle class jobs that we need to retain our young adults so we can continue to build strong communities through family ties. We can fix this by tweaking our city codes and working with developers to create attractive and dynamic business hubs with the facilities and services needed to bring diverse opportunities for employment. This also has the benefit of bringing in more commercial taxes to help eliminate shortfalls in our budget, lower the tax burden on homeowners, or give us the freedom to develop new programs.

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

With 30 years of experience in IT operations and security I feel that I could help the city with modernization efforts that can improve community interaction and resident satisfaction. I believe that there is an untapped pool of technical and process expertise in the city that can be reluctant to volunteer for traditional public service. But by organizing and sponsoring user groups, and engaging those groups with problems they can use their creativity and expertise to solve, we can improve community involvement and find alternatives to expand access to city resources for everyone.

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

I see Leander growing into a vibrant mix of casual hill country and active family/young adult living. A place where we celebrate entrepreneurial spirit and the innovative ideas our community helps cultivate. Where home ownership is not out of reach for our children as they mature and start their own families. Where we celebrate art, music, and self expression. And where we have the choice to try a new restaurant, stroll through walkable shops, go to a local music venue, or just hang out with our friends at a casual night spot. If elected as a council member I will look for ways to encourage responsible transitional developments that seamlessly bridge between casual single family neighborhoods and cultural, business, and mixed use neighborhoods. I would push for sensible public transportation options, such as in town shuttles to and from entertainment spots in the city to benefit public safety. And I would encourage the development of more cultural programs that help us highlight the creativity and spirit that makes us proud to be Leander.

Place 3

 

Juan Alanis, Jr.

Public Contact:
956-251-3996
Social Media Link:
www.juan4leander.com

 

What are your top priorities if elected?

My goal if elected is to make sure Leander is prepared for the future. My top priorities include ensuring our water system has the capacity to meet the demand of our rapidly growing city; I want to ensure our transportation system is ready to handle the increased traffic. I do not want to make the mistake of waiting until traffic is bumper to bumper before figuring out roads need to be expanded. We must prepare now.  Plus I want to market and promote our city better in order to attract more retail, restaurants, and entertainment options as well as attracting some corporate offices/branch offices, which will also provide jobs for the people of Leander. And I want to focus on getting the voter approved 2016 Bond Projects built: the senior center and a recreation center. And last, with population growth comes the need to ensure our city has sufficient parks and recreation facilities to use and enjoy. A recent analysis showed Leander below the recommended level of parks facilities for our current size.

 

Our City continues to grow without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support? 

Our rapid growth is definitely not going to stop anytime soon. I do support widening major thoroughfares, such as FM 2243, US 183, San Gabriel Pkwy and Ronald Reagan Blvd) now in order to prepare for the increase in traffic. With a projected population of 160,000 by 2040, we must prepare now. I would also like to have bike lanes on all major thoroughfares and side streets. Another issue is our water infrastructure. After the record cold week of February 2021 and the resulting water outages due to no power at plants, I want to first make sure our current plants have emergency backup in the event of power outages. Then I want to make sure our water system has the capacity to support 160,000 residents by 2040. (more than double the current population) and if not, we need to make the necessary upgrades now. This could include replacing very old pipes to prevent breakage to building a new water plant. As Leander grows, I want to make sure we maintain as much of our beauty as possible. I will work with developers to ensure new projects can maintain as many trees as possible. I want to prevent plowing down entire fields of trees for projects. Also, I will work with the city and developers to ensure projects will be built in a fashion that implements and showcases Leander’s desired image, character and quality.

 

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the city of Leander?

As a council member, I would start promoting and marketing our city better. I would get with local business owners, companies and the Chamber of Commerce to help develop a “Leander Proud” marketing plan. Business owners and community leaders would explain why they are “Leander Proud” and let other companies know what Leander has to offer when they choose to locate here (high quality of life; highly educated workforce; income above the national average, , low business tax rates, etc). I would also seek state economic funding support and public-private partnerships. Tax incentives can also be used to attract companies, though I would have to analyze each proposal closely as I am against giving huge tax breaks to companies unless it will truly benefit the whole city and/or most of the residents.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

It is sad and unfortunate that our society has become so divided and in such negative ways. We are a nation built on immigrants and people of very diverse backgrounds and ideas. No matter our background and differences, I truly believe all people simply want a better world for current and future generations. It has always been my belief that we are all people, we are all residents of Leander, and we just want a better city. Therefore, as an elected official, I must meet with residents and community representatives, whether informally at the store, through public forums or meet and greets,  I must get to know them, listen to their concerns and ideas and work to find common ground. As an elected official, I represent the people, not a political party. Ideas and visions are mine and those of the people, not necessarily of one political party or the other. I would like to create a “Leander Proud” organization where elected officials, the business community and residents work together on community improvement projects, explain why they are “Leander Proud” and market/promote our city to the nation and world. Teamwork and collaboration is key to a successful and prosperous community. 

 

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared to other cities in regards to taxes, regulations and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

I feel Leander is somewhat at a disadvantage compared to nearby cities due to the amount of sales tax dollars that go to Capital Metro. Most cities can get up to 2% of the 8.25% sales taxes that are collected on many purchases, Leander only receives 1% due to its agreement with Capital Metro. If this 1% tax revenue would come into the city budget, we could likely do infrastructure improvements faster. Leander also lacks 4A and 4B funding sources. Although Capital Metro is now in the hands of voters, I am personally for keeping this service, as I feel the exit fee of $42 million would devastate our budget and as our population grows, the need for public transportation will increase.

Recent action in the 87th Texas Legislative Session will help Leander improve its competitive standing. HB 4103 will allow the city to capture the state’s share of hotel occupancy tax and sales tax revenues and HB 4638 which creates a Municipal Management District for the Northline area, which is designed to promote economic development, commerce and employment within the boundaries of the Northline project. 

Seeking 4A and 4B Economic Development funding would be the next option to seek to make Leander more competitive, as is marketing/promoting Leander better, as I mentioned earlier. 

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you? 

I believe I can bring some more knowledge to city budgeting and finance. I am a math teacher and meteorologist..both of which deal with lots of numbers.. I am also a Leander taxpayer seeing my taxes continuing to rise. I do want many things to help make our city better and to be ready for the future. However, I must analyze the budget and every proposed project to make sure the project will be for the benefit of the whole community at a reasonable cost. Taxpayers can not afford a tax increase so managing our budget is very important to me.

Emergency Management is another area I feel I could bring some knowledge. Our city must be ready for disasters, so I want to ensure we are prepared for disasters and have a contingency plan in place.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality? 

My vision of Leander in 10 years is a city that is about twice the size it is now with a high quality of life. Leander will be a place families are proud to call home. Leander will have more parks and recreation facilities, more retail, restaurant and entertainment options as well as be home to several small to medium sized corporations. Leander will have plenty of jobs and a highly educated workforce thanks to excellent educational facilities. Leander will also still have its natural beauty as we are adjacent to the Texas Hill Country and will work with developers to preserve our nature beauty when designing projects. As an elected official, I must work with all stakeholders (residents, business owners, community leaders)  to make this happen. A city that works together as a team can achieve many things. 

 

Steve Hanes

Public Contact:
info@HanesForleander.com
Social Media Link:

www.facebook.com/HanesForLeander3

What are your top priorities if elected?

My top priorities for Leander include Economic Development, Strategic Growth, and Parks & Events.

Economic Development: Leander needs to attract more businesses here within the scope of the Comprehensive Plan. Among other benefits, this will add to the breadth and depth of the tax base. We also need incentives for the expansion and retention of existing businesses.

Strategic Growth: Our infrastructure is aging and being outgrown by our population. In addition to upgrading water, roads, etc. to meet our future demand, I will propose that we implement an ongoing maintenance plan for infrastructure in order to extend the usable life of these assets. This is simply common sense and good stewardship of our resources. The city also needs to develop plans for public transportation with costs commensurate with the services provided. Last, but certainly not least, we must develop a “brand” for Leander to make it clear who we are and what we offer.

Parks & Events: We must move forward with the long-delayed Sr. Center. We need to add park space and athletic fields to bring us closer to the national average per capita. These spaces can be used to host more concerts and festivals to provide activities for residents to do without leaving town. Leander must also develop Old Town Park as an area destination.

 

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

The population of Leander grew 123% from 2010 to 2020. No one could have predicted this years ago. As a result, we are now dealing with a number of issues brought about by this meteoric growth.

We are all aware of our water issues. I will work to increase our distribution capabilities by supporting improvements to our water system. We must make decisions based on what Leander will likely be years from now. If we don’t look forward and plan ahead, we will end up reliving these issues. Leander must investigate water conservation programs and grants.

We pay entirely too much to CapMetro based on the current services provided. Public transportation is a key to our city’s future growth and economy. We must renegotiate or develop an alternative to the current CapMetro offerings.

One thing that I see missing from our long-term growth plan is branding. Leander needs a brand to describe its identity. Until we develop one, we run the risk of always being “another town north of Austin.” A brand will let everyone know who we are and what we have to offer in terms of business, entertainment, and quality of life.

 

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

In my role as Chair of the Economic Development Committee, I have personally sought out and brought small businesses to the table with the City’s Economic Development Department to discuss those businesses moving or opening here.

My work with EDC has given me a detailed, personal look inside what goes into bringing businesses to our city. There is quite a bit involved. As a City Council member, I will propose programs to assist our city’s Economic Development Department to attract more businesses here. These programs will include economic and other incentives and enticements that can be used to draw businesses to Leander. I support working closely with the Chamber of Commerce to provide assistance targeted at helping incoming businesses more easily navigate the city’s permitting and development process. I will also propose a program to lower taxes on Leander businesses in exchange for job creation.

In addition to drawing businesses here, we need to keep them here. I will propose assistance to the Economic Development Department in their business expansion and retention efforts. This assistance will include, among other things, working with the city and the Chamber of Commerce to help businesses identify opportunities to grow and expand.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

Representing the citizens of Leander on City Council is a great responsibility and one I take very seriously. In this regard, I am committed to two things:

1 – Placing the good of our community at the core of every decision. No matter what the issue before Council, I will base my vote on what is in the best interests of the city as a whole. This should be the mindset of every elected official, in my opinion.

2 – I will listen to stakeholders on all sides of each issue. Everyone should be heard. If impacted parties on any issue wish to speak their mind, I will listen. I will take all the provided information into consideration prior to voting on any issue before City Council.

As Leander continues its amazing growth, we are constantly having people with new ideas, perspectives, and experience come into the city. We need to better utilize these resources. I will propose that the city do more to make our citizens aware of volunteer opportunities, boards, and commissions on which they might serve. Educating residents, both new and old, about these opportunities and what they involve, is key to adding to our volunteer talent base.

 

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

Leander is a wonderful place to live. While we have grown the number of businesses and jobs here in recent years, we have done so while being hampered by obstacles some other nearby cities don’t encounter. By the time I am elected, we will know if our citizens have voted to use half of our sales tax revenue for different purposes than how it is currently used. No matter the outcome of that vote, I will work to bring businesses to Leander, to expand them, and to retain them.

As a City Council member, I will propose programs to assist our city’s Economic Development Department to attract more businesses here.

Economic incentives can be used to draw businesses to Leander. I will strive to streamline the city’s permitting and development process.

While bringing new business here is essential, we mustn’t overlook existing businesses. Job creation is essential. I will suggest business tax incentives based on local job creation. The city’s sign ordinance has presented a challenge for many small businesses. I will work with local businesses to develop an alternative sign ordinance, then present and sponsor it for approval. Business retention and expansion are key to our continued success as a business-friendly city. I will propose additional program and financial assistance to the Economic Development Department in their business and expansion retention efforts.

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

I’ve served Leander as a volunteer in many:
Leander Economic Development Committee – Chairman;
Founding Member, Board of Directors, and Vice-President of The Leander Foundation, which exists to promote, protect and enhance sustainable growth of the city of Leander to maximize the quality of life of its citizens;

Leander Parks & Recreation Advisory Board;
Leander Youth Baseball & Softball Alliance Advisory Board;

Each of these opportunities has given me insight into the way our city operates, Leander’s competitive advantages, and our challenges.

I’m very pro-business and driven to grow our business community. Small businesses are the backbone on which our country and economy were built. We must continue to foster an atmosphere welcoming to small business. We also need to draw larger businesses to provide more jobs in Leander and diversify the types of businesses that call Leander home.

Leander is woefully behind the national average in number of parks per capita and park acreage per 1000 residents. We lack the fields to support our youth sports programs that are growing with our population. I’m adamant that we must add parks and athletic fields. We must also proceed with previously approved projects like the Sr. Center.

Leander is a wonderful home for me and my family. I want to give back. The Foundation provides a means to do so. The opportunity to develop and work on programs to provide for the betterment of Leander is important to me and allows a chance to make a difference for our city.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

In 10 years, I see Leander as a thriving city with plenty of park space and recreational activities in the city. Successful businesses are everywhere, offering food, entertainment, and services so our residents can shop locally.

I will help make that vision a reality by continuing to market Leander to prospective businesses. I will keep bringing them to the table to discuss with our Economic Development Department the benefits of moving or opening here. I will propose city-sponsored programs and incentives for creating local jobs.

I will push for the completion of long-delayed projects such as the Sr. Center. Leander is well under the national average in terms of the number of parks and park acreage per capita. I will pursue additional park space, athletic fields, and trails. These will allow us to increase our existing Youth Sports programs as they grow along with our population, as well as add to the quality of life for our residents.

I will continually monitor the progress of Old Town Park. In order for our city to become my vision, we need a destination area to draw visitors here from other cities. Old Town Park can fill this role perfectly. I envision a central park area surrounded by local businesses, Restaurants, local artists, craft and hobby shops, bars, and live music , all within walking distance, can make this a very appealing area to draw visitors and locals alike.

 

Roslyn Littles

Public Contact:
Roslyn4leander@gmail.com

What are your top priorities if elected?

1.  To be a voice for the voiceless.
    – For the upcoming apartment complex to have disable amenities.
Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?
2. – For sure.
    – With apartments.
How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?
3. – I will work to ensure that all apartment complex have the necessary accommodations for disable residents
      and visitors.
We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?
4. – Well, I view Leander competitive edge is right along with the other surrounding cities; which is good.
     –  I believe by assisting developers to understand that we must focus on the needs of everyone. Therefore,
        no one would be excluded.
How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?
5. –  Budget, regulations, city codes.
    –  First, I have 43 years experience in Budget/Finance, and 33 years in Management. Plus, I am a disable
       candidate that personally understand the challenges we face each day.
What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?
6. –  By assisting to create an environment for everyone to live, work, and play comfortably

David McDonald

Public Contact:
davidforleander@gmail.com

Social Media Link:
https://www.facebook.com/davidforleander

What are your top priorities if elected?

  • Public Safety
  • Business Development/ Strategic Growth
  • Water/Infrastructure

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

I believe the best way to manage our growth is to focus on business development and luring new business to our town.  New business brings new jobs, taxes, a place to work, shop, dine, or be entertained.  Too often when I get out after my workday the amount of traffic I see leaving Leander southbound toward Cedar Park and other surrounding cities is eye popping.  I believe this is leads to Leander losing potential sales tax revenue.  Texas has the number one economy in the nation, and the                     9th largest in the world so this begs the question, “why are companies not coming to Leander at the pace we see in our surrounding cities”?  If we do not attract corporations, retailers, and settle as a “bedroom community” our property taxes will only increase over time.  We have two very important infrastructure needs.  One is securing a secondary water source and secondly, we must plan for improving our roadway infrastructure.  More people brings more congestion which has an impact on our quality of life.

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

I will invite the experts, those who have a business in Leander, those developers who have projects in Leander currently, and with those who have chosen not to develop here. It is important that I understand why developers have left the area and pursued projects elsewhere.  I want to work with our mayor, current council members and city staff to understand our own process better.  I would encourage bringing in an outside consultant to evaluate our process’s, ordinances and building codes and look at surrounding cities strategies and look for opportunities to make changes.  I will also meet with our local businesses and find out from them what they see as our greatest need or adding to city staff and understand what has been done and what they have witnessed in their own endeavors.  I think it is also very important to involve our Chamber of Commerce I will set up a board consisting of local business owners and major retailers.   We must evaluate the successes and failures and remove obstacles that are a deterrent to having a business in Leander.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

I understand there is a divide in politics nationally and even within our state.  I have spoken to hundreds of voters so far and this topic has not been mentioned to me at all which is encouraging.  To stay with this trend, I would like to ensure I hear concerns from all our residents so listening is critical to keep the national issues out of Leander.  As a Marine and as a police officer I served America and the citizens of Austin, all citizens.  I will continue that type of leadership if elected and will listen our residents.  It is important for all to remember as an elected official you work for the people and not just those who voted/elected you, but all our residents.  I think it is important to meet with our church leaders, business owners, and other leaders in our community and hear if there are any issues that are creating division in Leander.  I think if you can have a conversation, we will find that we have more in common than what divides us.

 

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

I will work to continue the trend of lowering the property tax rate for our homeowners.  Currently Leander has the highest property tax rate compared to other cities our size in the region, but progress is being made.  I look at other cities in our area and how they seem to be prospering with retail and employers and there seems to be one thing in common.  None of those cities lose 1% of their sales tax revenue to fund CapMetro.  I believe changing how CapMetro is funded, let’s say by a contracted rate, would give Leander some flexibility to create an Economic Development fund to lure and offer incentives for companies to relocate to Leander.  Without a balance of business and homeowners, it will be a challenge to lower our property tax rate.

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

I served the City of Austin for 25 years as a police officer.  During those 25 years the city more than doubled in population and has more than one million residents.  Understanding the process that is necessary for a city to continue to provide services to its residents starts with planning.  You must look at the projections for 10-15 years out for all infrastructure projects.  We must look at our current needs and what needs we will have in the future.  One project that stands out was an additional substation that was built for our police department in the mid 1990’s.  Not soon after its opening was the substation at capacity for both office staff and parking.  Today many officers cannot park in the secure parking area due to the inadequate space.

Transportation is another area I have lots of knowledge in.  I spent the last 7.5 years of my career with the Austin Police Department in our traffic unit.  We were often tasked with evaluating high crash locations at intersections to evaluate design, markings, signage and traffic control devices to determine solutions in the reduction of crashes.  I now work for an agency that is all about traffic, from roadway design, construction projects, signals, Intelligent Transportation Systems and much more.  Finding solutions to deal with congestion both now and in the future ae important to a growing city and I believe my knowledge in this area will benefit the City of Leander.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

As an elected official I will work diligently on finding a second water source, removing unnecessary restrictions on developers to help build our future in Leander and build a stronger tax base.  With these accomplishments I do have a vision for our great city.  My vision for Leander 10 years from now is a city that no longer hears concerns of water, offers many options for entertainment, dining for the special occasion and a casual night out.   I see a Leander where business owners want to open a business because of the opportunities and also a place where their employees want to live.  Leander will be a destination location and will offer that small town charm.

Let’s not forget we are in Texas and Texans love to be outdoors.  With our increased tax base I envision more parks for recreation, picknicks, trails, sports activities, outdoor concerts and events.  I see a very bright future for Leander.

 

Place 5

 

 

Chris Czernek

Public Contact:
chris4leander@yahoo.com

Social Media Link:
www.facebook.com/chris4leander

What are your top priorities if elected?

If re-elected my top priorities will be to ensure that our water and road infrastructure is secure as we continue to grow, to make sure that we as a city are actively pursuing partnerships to bring campus employers and entertainment oriented businesses to Leander, to make sure our city is in great financial standing, and to continue to set an example of how to conduct ourselves as a council body as we continue to lead Leander forward.

 


Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

Managing our growth is extremely important for our city. Making sure that our infrastructure improvements are on track and in place should be every councilperson’s top priority.  In the last year or so our council has moved forward and even expedited water projects that are crucial to providing service to our citizens.  We have conducted the city’s first water and traffic studies.  We must continue to approve and fund all necessary infrastructure projects in a timely manner.  A current strategy and important focus as we continue growing is for council to make development decisions based on our Comprehensive Plan’s directive.  This gives Leander the best chance to not get over extended in any area that was not planned for.  We have approved ordinances that also phase projects over a certain size so that we can space out the new service that the city is to provide. Lastly, I believe we need to work with partner cities to secure a secondary water source. This would be a very expensive project and there is no way to do it on our own. We have had discussions and talked briefly about the idea, but we need to proactively work to secure a solid plan to not have all of our eggs in one basket as we grow to a potential population buildout of over 200,000.

 


How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

Encouraging business growth really has two parts here and it will continue to be important to put significant efforts into both areas. First, attracting new businesses to our growing town is crucial to diversify our tax base. We must continue to find creative ways to recruit, and even incentivize when appropriate, companies and other businesses that we agree are needed in Leander. As a councilmember I will make myself available for whatever our Economic Development Department needs in regards to our efforts here. The other part of encouraging our business community that cannot be overlooked is supporting our local and small business owners.  Leander cannot only look at new business opportunities for our city, but must also provide the support to our local business community.  Our Chamber has done a remarkable job here in Leander and as a city we need to continue to strongly partner in their efforts to recruit, grow and retain incredible small businesses in Leander.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

We, as a society, can unfortunately be unforgiving and ruthless at times. This is my campaign’s biggest point to make. You can have all of the ideas, knowledge, experience and goals you want, but what is most important is that to lead effectively you must be able to unify and not divide.  As candidates, it is not about our 3- point plan that we think is most important. We all have the same bullet points anyway.  It is about Leander first no matter what.  For the last three years I have spent more time building bridges, counseling and advocating for civility than anything else. Some think this is not work, but I disagree and think it is the most important of all.  Leander is growing fast and so is its identity. We as leaders must also lead the way in showing respect for one another. In the last 3 years I have worked with councilmembers of all personality types, political backgrounds and professions.  They have all been treated with respect and I have collaborated with anyone willing to work together.  I believe steady, common sense and well-tempered leadership is what is most important as we continue to grow.  I will also continue to be approachable by our citizens.  I have responded to every email and concern brought my way and think it is important to respectfully communicate with anyone asking for help, clarification or someone who just needs to express some emotion towards someone they think can make a difference.

 


How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

I think it is tough to compete as a city currently and we are working on ways to constantly improve our position.  We have a city tax rate slightly higher than competing cities. We do not fully realize the amount of sales tax we generate as a city.  We are still understaffed as a city and we have outgrown our current facilities.  We have regulations and procedures that business customers still consider burdensome. Add it all up and we still have a lot to work on.  Most importantly, the best thing we have going for us is that cities to our south are nearing buildout and we have the land available to take advantage of this timing. So, we have an incredible opportunity to be the most competitive if we continue to lower our tax rate, staff and house our city offices appropriately, put our best foot forward and aggressively look to partner with the right businesses that we want to land here in Leander, and work with our building (and business) partners to evolve our procedures in which they do business in our city.

 

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

My last few years serving the city through remarkably unpredictable times has given me a ton of experience in all forms of city leadership. We have had a change in city staff leadership, change in city council leadership, controversial events, a pandemic, a historic ice storm and unprecedented growth through all of it.  Baptism by fire would be a fair way to describe my first term as a councilmember.  My background in personal communication and conflict resolution has helped, and will continue to help, as I look to lead Leander through whatever else we encounter over the next few years.  My background in real estate, home sales and development has been well utilized as our council continues to be asked to approve various development projects to grow our city.  The ability to be able to listen, communicate and make sound decisions (even under pressure) is crucial as a councilmember and I have a ton of experience in these areas.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

Ten years from now I see Leander as a regional rock and a city blessed by God. The literal vision is banners with Jerimiah 29:11 over our city.  A city with intentional plans, hope, a future and prospering in all ways. Leander will be a vibrant city with a thriving economy that is developing into a local powerhouse. We will be in great financial standing and will continue to make good fiscal decisions.  Families, senior citizens, teens and all other Leander residents will have plenty of places of entertainment to visit and recreational hobbies to pursue. Small businesses will be flourishing and several campus employers will call Leander home.  We will be a city that others point to as they say “what went on there….something was different.” We will be a city of love, unity and respect and will have God to thank for our many blessings.

 

 

Annette Sponseller

Public Contact:
Annette4Leander@gmail.com

Social Media Link:
https://www.facebook.com/Annette4Leander

What are your top priorities if elected?

If elected, my priorities are to serve the citizens of Leander to the best of my ability and contribute to its growth and prosperity. I will prioritize improvements to our city’s water systems and transportation systems, I will support and advocate for small businesses, support emergency services, listen to citizens and be transparent. I have always been concerned about Leander’s water and believe that there are workable solutions available that will enhance and secure our water infrastructure. I will work to see long-range plans get completed and water conservation rebate programs created.

Another important issue to me is small businesses.  Unfortunately, there are little resources or support for small businesses in Leander. Small businesses have different support needs than large developers and we need to acknowledge and refine the process. I will partner with citizens, City Staff, and Council members to refine Leander’s business development process and the restrictive sign ordinance to allow businesses to promote and market their businesses.  I will propose creating a food truck ordinance. We are currently the only city in Williamson County with over 1000 residents that does not have a food truck ordinance. These are some of the smallest of small businesses and enrich our community and economy.  They are entrepreneurs and local!

Another important priority is the Emergency Services departments.  It is inevitable that we will continue to grow as a city. Leander needs to plan for the growth of all of Leander’s Emergency Services, including personnel and facilities for Fire and Police.

 

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

The City of Leander and Council have a responsibility to manage the growth of the city. Growth management strives to ensure infrastructure and services are available to meet growth in the population. One way Leander should manage growth is supporting the current Comprehensive Plan and committing to not change commercial zoned properties to residential. I believe that the comprehensive plan is the single most important document for managing a community’s physical growth. Available land in Leander is quickly diminishing and if commercial zoning is replaced with residential zoning, there will be much less commercial development, which will result in increased property.

Leander can also work to manage its growth by being diligent with development proposals to determine if the city has the necessary infrastructure to support a specific project while being transparent with residents and developers up-front about what those metrics are for each area of Leander’s infrastructure. I will support infrastructure improvements to our water and wastewater systems, transportation, including public transportation, parks, and all of Leander’s emergency services.  Planning the city’s infrastructure correctly now will allow the city to maintain and support its infrastructure in the future as the city continues to grow.

 

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?

Business development is not a one-size fits all.  Small businesses develop differently than large commercial or residential developments. There is a need to help small businesses start and grow in Leander, to nurture them as they develop.  For example, all businesses in Leander should be able to advertise, promote, and market with signage. Currently, Leander has a 37-page Sign Ordinance. This sign ordinance restricts more than it allows by far. How does the city expect businesses to thrive in Leander, if they cannot get the attention of the public or promote their business? This needs to change.

The city cannot begin to assert that Leander is pro-business until businesses have the opportunity to market their businesses through adequate signage and appropriate means. I would also like to refine the development process. Dedicating one staff member to small businesses would have many benefits including faster turn-around times on reviews, which could end up saving thousands of dollars for small businesses. It would also speed up the large commercial, residential, and multi-use development wait times also resulting in savings for those developments. Another benefit would be that small businesses would have a single point of contact, who is focused on and understands their needs. This would allow small business owners and staff to begin building a positive relationship. Cultivating this relationship could move the needle, making small businesses feel welcomed in our city and that sentiment will spread throughout the small business community, and only serve to draw new business to Leander.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

If elected to serve, I represent the entire community by being accessible to talk, email, or meet with anyone and everyone. Building bridges within our community requires each of us to hear everyone’s concerns, ideas, or questions, not only during campaign season, but throughout my service. Engagement with residents should not start and end during campaign season but be an ongoing continuous dialogue.   I want to hear from residents and business owners, and I want them to provide their input. I feel it is vitally important to be able to learn about the obstacles they face and hear the stories that make them stronger. I will actively work to apply their input. I will be transparent and honest. Good governance begins with openly sharing information. I am committed to being a source of information on government action, how decisions are being made, what the costs are, and what the impact is to Leander.

 

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

Leander is very competitive with property taxes compared to other Williamson County cities. Leander lands in the middle of Williamson County cities at a tax rate of 0.479. Leander offers a Local Homestead exemption, a Local 65 & Older exemption and a Local Disability exemption and is among only 4 other cities in Williamson County that offers all three of these exemptions. However, diversifying the City’s tax base will help to reduce the burden on property owners.

Leander is less competitive regarding regulations; they are plentiful and restrictive. I think that the city could do more to de-regulate many of these restrictions and ordinances that burden residents and business owners alike. Leander is beginning to become more competitive with job creation. I have seen businesses announce relocating to Leander such as Cangshan Cutlery, which is bringing approximately 300 jobs and St. David’s, which is estimated to bring approximately 200 new full-time positions. But again, more needs to be done to expand our economy considering over 90% of our residents leave Leander for work.

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

One area that I think I can bring special knowledge to is water. In 2021, I completed Basic Water Operations from American Water College to better grasp some of the issues that Leander faces, and I continued that education through independent studies and learning.  Currently, there are items in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to create a Wastewater Master Plan and a Water Master plan, but they are not scheduled to be started until 2025. Leander’s last Wastewater Master Plan was approved in 2011. Leander’s population was only 24,000 then!

The city has tripled its population in that time, and I believe the city should not wait to have these vital plans completed. Leander’s last Water Master Plan was accepted in 2018, almost 3 1/2 years ago when our population was around 50,000 residents and it has already grown over 30% since.

I will propose creating a conservation rebate programs for water users to promote conservation. These could include retrofitting older water fixtures, such as toilets and shower heads, a water flow sensor rebate, or a rainwater collection rebate. There are grants available that can help with funding once programs have been established. These programs significantly reduce household water usage.

Water is important to me because water reliability is our residents biggest concern, and as such, the council needs to prioritize our water. Enhancing and securing our water systems is important to me because residents in Leander deserve a reliable, safe, and sufficient water supply!

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years?

I envision a united community, with plentiful, efficient, and stable water systems, a robust diverse economy with a mix of businesses that provides needed goods and services to the community. Safe, reliable, and well-maintained transportation routes with city-wide connectivity, and well-funded emergency services department that protects public safety, builds community, and maintains integrity, and has the facilities and personnel to continue those legacies.

I also envision parks and recreation facilities and programming that are engaging for the community and support our growing population, including adequate softball and baseball fields for our youth and a senior center for our older populations.  I also visualize substantial entertainment options that allow connecting with others while also diversifying our tax base.  In my role as an elected official, I promise to work for Leander’s citizens to make meaningful positive changes that create opportunities for everyone.

 

Bill Louden

Public Contact:
louden4leander@gmail.com

Social Media Link:
https://www.facebook.com/Louden4Leander

What are your top priorities if elected?

(1). Quality of Life.  Equality and inclusiveness make Leander a great city with a “small town” feel.  We need more neighborhood centers, small plazas, and a welcoming downtown.

(2). Planning & Flexibility.  With our hyper-growth, the city needs to take control of development, re-evaluate citizen needs, and plan for managed growth.

(3). Roads, Infrastructure, and Water.  Capital projects take time.  We need to build those today to be ready for our needs in 5-10 years.  Improved, redundant water plant and planning for a third are needed now.  Government needs to be more proactive; not reacting when the problem, like traffic congestion, becomes unbearable.  We will need a Leander transportation plan, especially if voters terminate our partnership with CapMETRO on May 7th.

 

Our city continues growing without any sign of slowing down. How do you think Leander should manage its growth and what infrastructure improvements do you support?

Hyper-growth is both dangerous and an opportunity.  We need to take greater care of commercial and residential development and provide the needed balance between the needs of today with those of tomorrow.  Growth increases our tax base which allows the city to do more.  Yet, haphazard growth with lax zoning oversight creates a mishmash of ill-fitting.

 

How will you work with the business community to create and encourage business growth and development in the City of Leander?  

Citizens want growth.  Developers want growth.  The city needs growth.  Residents need balance.  The city, businesses, and developers need to find a common vision for growth.  We also need to do a better job attracting technology and service companies to Leander that bring higher-paying jobs.  Our small businesses provide a unique diversity and local services that also need to be protected and encouraged to grow.

 

We are experiencing a divide in our politics like never before. How will you work to build bridges within our community to ensure you are representing the entire community and making choices that benefit the greater good for all of Leander?

Government is always about the people, the community.  I’ve led both public and private companies on the east coast, the west coast, and in Texas.  We need to respect our diversity with objectivity, balance, and sensitivity.  As a businessman, one must find the most optimum solution to any problem and every opportunity, that means listening, compromise, then leadership.  A clear definition of roles also needs to be maintained: the city leadership and vision is set by the voters through the mayor and city council, who then delegate operations to city management.

How do you view Leander’s competitive standing compared with other cities in regard to taxes, regulations, and job creation? As a council member, how would you improve our city’s competitiveness?

In business, I learned to analyze our competitors as well as non-competitors and adopt their best practices. My experience in operations has taught me that it is often easier to find a 5% savings (without affecting people) than simply raising taxes upon taxes.  In 2021, the city adopted a maximum tax rate of $0.479699 most going to the General Fund for maintenance and operations.  This raises property tax on homes by approximately 2.1% or $6.20 per year on a $100,000 home.

Can we find a better way?  Yes, we can.  New residents add to our tax base and should be welcomed.  Attracting new companies that provide jobs for Leander residents is also critical.  Bottom line, competitiveness is about innovation, not the status quo; it’s about new thinking and listening to our people; as a technology entrepreneur I learned it’s about pushing the envelope and finding ways to do what others think cannot be done.

 

What are the areas of city operations that you think you can bring any special knowledge or expertise? Why are those areas important to you?

I am a retired technology executive and entrepreneur with nearly 40-years’ experience leading and building companies.  I currently sit on the board of an international public technology company, and I also sit on the board of my HOA community.  I know how to resolve problems from grass not being mowed to setting strategic direction for multiple countries.  Bottom line, I embrace change and get things done.  My military experience taught me to embrace challenges, adapt quickly as necessary, and overcome.

 

What is your vision for the City of Leander in 10 years? How will you, in your role as an elected official, help make that vision a reality?

In the past 15 years in Leander, I seen the city grow from 7,500 residents to over 75,000 today.  In the next ten years, Leander may double in size to 150,000 if not more. But growth without a plan is chaos.  I want to see Leander with a revitalized downtown as a hub and small distributed plazas for neighbors to meet and share their experiences.  I want to expedite the Northline project completion to become a commercial and community center to Leander and all of Austin.  We need to expand our transportation services that connect us to Austin and outlying areas.  I believe that Leander can be the northern hub attracting people from Austin to Waco.  My vision is safe and pleasant neighborhoods, equality, fairness, and inclusivity.

 

SPECIAL ELECTION PROPOSITIONS