City of Morgan’s Point Resort May 6, 2017 election questionnaire

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Special to the Journal

Mayoral Candidate: Ric Holmes

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Ric Holmes: I am presently serving as the city’s mayor pro tem, and have been acting as the mayor since May 2016. I am active in the community, including serving as a past board member of the Mary Ruth Briggs Library, and currently as the Charter Organization Representative to the city chartered Boy Scout Troop #118. We have been steadily improving the infrastructure and atmosphere in the City, and that makes Morgan’s Point Resort a great place to live. I want to continue that progress.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
Several builders have begun developments in the city. Maintaining and improving city infrastructure, including roads, drainage, and water, and maintaining modern police and fire protection on a limited budget are high priorities. Removing dead trees and brush to reduce the threat of fire is an ongoing concern.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
Morgan’s Point Resort is a beautiful area, so growth in and around MPR is inevitable. Managed growth is an asset to the city. Our zoning, subdivision, and building code ordinances are written to ensure new developments within the city limits preserve the “character” of a community, and provide a high-quality addition to the city.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
There are two projects that I would propose the city investigate in the next two years. Excessive storm water is an issue in some areas of the city. We need to address an affordable method of channeling the water to the natural lake drainage areas. Secondly, during the Parks Masterplan development, many people expressed a desire for a walkway along Morgan’s Point Road from the city limits at Camp Kachina to the city limits at Bonnie Lane. We should investigate the cost and added value for this project.

What is your overall message to voters?
I have been a dedicated city council member for the past six years, and have acquired extensive knowledge of how the city operates. I am very budget conscious and strive to do everything possible for the good of the citizens of the city. I am well acquainted with the local issues and as mayor, I will try my best to solve any problems.

What do you think is the mayor’s role?
The MPR mayor is the most visible and biggest public relations booster for the city. The mayor represents MPR in ceremonies with other municipalities. The city provides public safety through the police and fire departments, water and street maintenance through the utilities and maintenance departments, and protects resident’s property values through code enforcement. Those roles are managed by the city manager. The role of the mayor and city council is to represent the citizens by setting city policies, hiring the city manager, implementing a responsible budget, and setting tax rates.

What are your qualifications as a municipal officer?
It has been my great privilege to serve the residents of Morgan’s Point Resort as a council member for six years; the last four as mayor pro-tem. I have been acting as the mayor since May 9, 2016, when Mayor Steger resigned. I am Past President, and current Director of the fourteen county Region 9 of the Texas Municipal League (TML), a 2016 TML Institute Certificate of Achievement recipient and Leadership Fellow, and the Charter Organization Representative to the MPR sponsored Boy Scout Troop #118.

Plans you may have if elected mayor?
I love Morgan’s Point Resort. I want to preserve the rural feeling of the city, but also provide: high quality services, including well-equipped and trained police, fire, maintenance, and utility departments; well-maintained infrastructure, including water service and roads; and valuable amenities, including the library, parks and the pool.

Council Candidate: Brandt Bernstein

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Brandt Bernstein: I have spent the last 14 years serving others first as a police officer, [in] my current job as a game warden here for Bell County, and as a City Council member for our community. I have always taken great satisfaction and pride in serving the constituent’s that I work for and represent. I want to make sure that we as a city are providing the services that our community members expect, want, and need while at the same time building, growing, and maintaining our city by managing our budget wisely, maintain our two million dollar “rainy day fund,” and most importantly that we as council members are responsive to our citizen’s needs, thoughts, and ideas.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
1. One of our challenges is our infrastructure. It will need to be improved and built upon when it comes to our new construction. Over the last two years we as a council have approved four new subdivisions. Our community is a very sought after location to live because of Lake Belton, and its proximity to other nearby cities. This growth will take a toll on our infrastructure, increase of calls for service from public safety, and put more traffic on our roads.
2. Another concern is our water. The last several years our water has not been in compliance with the TCEQ when it comes to our water quality. As a council we have begun to address this through development new holding tanks and an upgraded distillation system. However, we need to do more. One option that may need to be looked at is the option of not being held captive to the City of Temple for our community’s water and look at our multiple large aquifers that enrich our area of the state as a source for our water.
3. A final challenge we face is our water diversion and drainage systems within some of the areas of the city. These last three years we have had several flooding events that have been compounded by us not addressing these needs more diligently. To do this we will need to work with our residence and engineers to come up with a plan and solution. These are just a few of the challenges that we as a council we must work together and include input and ideas from our community to be successful.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
As I noted early our city is a very sought after location for people to live and play. These last two years I was one of the council members that supported and approved the four new subdivisions to our city. I know and understand some citizens’ concerns for our cities development because they enjoy that “small town feel.” And that is why my wife and I moved here and will continue to raise our two children in this city. I truly believe that we will continue to maintain that “small town feel” because of our people not continued growth.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
Our community is unique in so many different ways. However, one thing that is special about our community is that we own and operate our own marina. This affords us a very unique opportunity to not only provide our community and their families to enjoy Lake Belton but to also provide a place for visitors to enjoy Lake Belton too. There for I would like to look at proposing adding on to the marina in terms of more boat slips, multiple fishing docks, improved boat ramp, and picnic areas.

What is your overall message to voters?
I want to thank our community for allowing me to work for and represent them these last two years and would hope that you have approved of the job that I’ve done for you. I hope and ask that you show that you’ve approved by electing me for a second term as a city council member for our great city of Morgan’s Point Resort. Thank you for your time and consideration. God Bless.

Mayoral Candidate: Dwayne Gossett

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Dwayne Gossett: I am running for mayor to help keep this city a welcoming and friendly place with solid infrastructure and an approachable city government. Just like the city I grew up in 40 years ago. That city happens to be Morgan’s Point Resort.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
The Health Department is going to propose new septic tank regulations. MPR needs a mayor that has some knowledge of the state septic code and will say “No” to any changes that are not good for MPR.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
MPR has had a lot of growth over the last few years. We need to pause and see how this growth will affect traffic, drainage and our other infrastructures.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
We have some drainage issues. I would like to pin-point and prioritize those issues.

What is your overall message to voters?
I will not isolate myself from the citizens. I will make myself available to meet and discuss issues. I want to keep things as simple as possible.

What do you think is the mayor’s role?
A mayor should have a strong influence at City Hall because the voters look to the mayor for answers.

What are your qualifications as a municipal officer?
I have been a City Council member for four years and I have worked in county government as a construction project manager for the past 15 years.

Plans you may have if elected mayor?
I plan to reestablish a Mayor’s office at City Hall.

Council Candidate: Keith F. Dyer

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Keith Dyer: I am running for re-election for several reasons. I believe that our children are the future of our city and believe they deserved to be heard and given opportunities to give back themselves. I believe in supporting our emergency services and giving them the training and tools they need to be successful. I believe that our parks should be an area that all can enjoy and offer options for everyone’s interest. Most importantly, I believe in the power of community. I love to give back and do so whenever I can. Being on the City Council is not something that I take lightly, and I will continue to find ways to improve our growing community if re-elected. I tell my students every day that if they change their community, they change the world. I believe in this; so much so, that I chose to run for City Council two years ago. I hope to continue the work we have started and continue to work for our citizens, our community and our city.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
There are some concerns for our city we will need to address in the next five years. Our current water system needs to be updated and expanded to account for the growth of our community. The planning for this is already complete and it needs to be implemented. The flooding issues in the neighborhoods will also need to be addressed. As the city grows we will need to make sure that drainage is taken care of, not only in our new neighborhoods, but all of Morgan’s Point Resort. We also need to address the emergency services in Morgan’s Point Resort. We will need to expand the services we already provide to account for the growth in the community.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
Growth is inevitable, especially in a community as wonderful as Morgan’s Point Resort. I believe that with the current growth comes the responsibility of making sure the community is prepared to handle our newer residents. I believe we should strengthen our emergency services in both the Fire Department as well as the Police Department. I feel that our parks should represent the need of all of our citizens, and there should be plenty of opportunities for the young people in the community to engage in community service and be active in the ongoing dialogue of the city.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
There are several projects that I have started working on, and I would love to see them through to completion. I would like to establish a movie in the park program so families will have a place to enjoy a nice night out at no cost and to help engage the community. I would also like to see the approved Disc Golf course completed, and I am currently working with the Municipal Youth Council to establish a new community event in 2018 to replace the Lake Jamboree/BBQ cook-off. I have already started on these projects, and I hope to see them come to fruition as your city councilman. I would also like to begin work on the drainage issues around the city. After reviewing many different options to address the problems, I feel that the time has come to start implementing repairs to help alleviate the severity of these storm water events.

What is your overall message to voters?
For the last two years I have had the pleasure of serving as your city councilman. It is a responsibility that I take very serious. We, as a community, have accomplished a great deal in the past two years, but there is still a lot more to accomplish. As our community grows, we need responsible leadership. I have attended multiple training sessions and have been awarded the Texas Municipal League’s Certificate of Achievement for attending over 54 hours of training in the year of 2016. Only twelve of these certificates were awarded across the state. We need leadership that cares about the future and not just the now. We need someone who will listen to all citizens, including the young people of our community. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish in the last two years as a member of City Council. I look forward to seeing what we can do in the next two years, together.

Council Candidate: Donna Hartman

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Donna Hartman: I am running for the position of alderman because I love the City of Morgan’s Point Resort and want to once again serve its citizens. In the positions of alderman, mayor pro-tem and mayor, I served our community for twenty six years and want to bring that experience, as well as thirty three years as a business owner, to our council. I want to help make decisions as to the best interest for all our citizens in regard to health, safety, and welfare.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
I believe the biggest challenges for Morgan’s Point Resort over the next five years will be water quality and quantity, rapid growth, and keeping our infrastructure in good condition.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
My opinion on growth in and around Morgan’s Point Resort is that we welcome and are grateful for new residents and the schools that have been built, and are proposed to be built close to our city limits. Rapid growth does bring some concerns as to water, road deterioration, and traffic concerns. I sent an email approximately five years ago to our council and our City Manager asking them to prepare for some rapid growth as a new elementary was going to be built (High Point). We need to continue to be vigilant as our city experiences this growth as well as being fiscally responsible.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
As to the specific projects I would like to propose during my term; I believe that we need to come to the council with open hearts and minds. All projects need to be looked at as to what would most benefit the citizens of Morgan’s Point Resort and not with our own pet projects or personal agendas. I would like to have meetings in regards to water quality and examining our maintenance fees as well as looking at the proposed projects already budgeted and approved.

What is your overall message to voters?
My overall message to the voters would be that I have proven leadership governing with good common sense. The citizens of Morgan’s Point Resort know that I value their opinions and my door is always open to them. I want to help uphold our wonderful traditions and our quality of life here in our community. With four generations of my family living here I want it to be a community that many generations of many families are proud to call home. Each and every vote is so very important and I would appreciate your vote. It would be my honor and privilege to serve you again as a Council person.

Mayoral Candidate: Fred Ybanez

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Fred Ybanez: I served one term [on the] City Council. We are a growing community, with the Population growing, our council needs to look at the future of our community.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
There is a need for better relations in our community. Some of the questions concerned citizens always ask. Why do we not have sidewalks for families and children when they walk along Morgan’s Point Blvd and Speed Bumps to slow traffic down, just to name a few? In the next five years, I see the population in MPR growing quite a bit. If the bond election for a new High School passes [on] May 6, elections we will see an increase in traffic. This a major concern for the safety of our children in our community.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
Growth is coming to MPR. We have to consider safety and crime. Get the community involved and keep them informed thru the Internet and monthly bulletin. Not everyone has computers.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
Our police department does a great job and I realize as with all areas of responsibility there is always room for improvement. Our police force is here to protect and serve. Our police officers are not in uniform to run errands.

What is your overall message to voters?
If elected, I can assure the community I will do my best to work for the people. As I once said to the council during my term in office; “We are here for people, it’s about the citizens, not about Us.” We are elected by the voters. When I talk to the community, I always ask, “Do you know who your council members, or know the names of any of our community leaders?” The biggest respond is, “no.” If elected Mayor, my door will always be open to our citizens.

What do you think is the mayor’s role?
To oversee the operation of the MPR, with attention areas: Police and Fire Departments emergency plan for the overall safety of our community. We live in bad world situations. It is the responsibility of all elected officials, no matter the size of the city, there has to be more attention to detail for the safety of our citizens. It is the mayor’s role to ensure safety comes first in our community. I am the person for mayor, and with the support of City Council, we will have a great future for our community.

What are your qualifications as a municipal officer?
Our community is growing and in a few years our population will increase. I am a past council member and I am aware of the areas we as a community need to focus on. I am diversified. My experiences: Retired Military, 27 years of active service. Retired educator with the Copperas Cove ISD and Belton ISD. Military law enforcement. Volunteer with Morgan’s’ Point Resort Police department for six years. Supervising community service, youth and adults. Camp Challenge camp director for seven years, working with co-ed youths in ages 11-16. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management.

Name of Candidate: Mike Siegfried

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Mike Siegfried: I would really like to see some infrastructure improvements take place in the city.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
Replacing aging infrastructure, and preparing the city for an increasing population.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
Growth is inevitable. With proper planning and sound judgment are exercised, we can sustain growth, provide basic infrastructure improvements that benefit everyone. We’ve got to start looking ahead.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
One thing that I feel strongly about, would be to construct a sidewalk/trail that would connect to the Temple trail on FM 2305.

What is your overall message to voters?
I have been a resident of Morgan’s Point Resort for over 15 years, and in this time I have not seen many improvements that benefit everyone. I would like to see some projects get started that will prepare our city for the future. We have got to attract some more business.

Council Candidate: Ronny Snow

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Ronny Snow: I am a resident, rancher and a small business owner in the community. I served as a MPR Marina employee for eight years. In running I hope to represent the needs and desires of the community.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
In my opinion the biggest concern is the growth of MPR and the surrounding area. The growth and changes are already underway. Our challenge is how to keep the small town atmosphere. Our longtime residents moved here for that reason.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
The growth has started. In my opinion our city’s infrastructure was not ready for the rapid growth. In the future we need to practice sustainable growth.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
During my term I would like to see the building of sidewalks along MPR Road. During the public Parks Master Planning meetings I observed that sidewalks were of great interest. Our community can use them for fitness or to get somewhere in the community.

What is your overall message to voters?
My overall reason for running is to be a voice for the community. As a council member, I would have an open door policy. I will work for the needs and desires of the community. Not for the chosen few. Questions and concerns will always be welcome. We have a record number of candidates running for city council this year.

Council Candidate: Bruce A. Leonhardt, Sr.

The Belton Journal: Briefly explain why you are running for election.
Bruce A. Leonhardt, Sr.: I have been a citizen of Morgan’s Point Resort for over 10 years. I see a need for strong leadership that will make decisions based on the best interest of its citizens.

In your opinion, what are the biggest concerns or challenges for MPR over the next five years?
Managing growth in the community and providing the infrastructure to support that growth. Street maintenance will be a big concern in the coming years.

What is your opinion on growth in and around MPR?
Controlled growth is healthy for a city. However, with growth come challenges, such as providing sufficient city services, fire protection and law enforcement protection. The city needs to have a solid plan to deal with these issues.

Do you have a specific project you would like to propose during your term?
I would like to see continued improvements to the existing roads within the city as well as adding a sidewalk along Morgan’s Point Road to improve safety for the increasing number of people who use this route for exercise.

What is your overall message to voters?
I would like to serve the citizens of Morgan’s Point Resort by making decisions based on these questions. How does my decision affect the citizens of MPR? Are the funds being invested on a project or in a way that will show a return on the investment? Will this investment yield a positive impact for the community?