The owner of a swim coaching business and a registered nurse are running against two incumbents for positions on the Cedar Park City Council. Jon Lux and Lyle Grimes said they are running for re-election to keep working on projects that are contributing to the city’s success.
Heather Jefts, who is running against Lux for the Place 5 seat, and Anne Duffy, who is challenging Grimes for the Place 3 seat, said they don’t like the way the council handled a controversial flag issue. They also said the city should consider new transportation options, including bus service.
Lux, 51, has served two and a half terms on the City Council, including when he was appointed to replace Tony Dale when Dale was elected to the state House of Representatives. Lux said he’s always supported tax relief for residents and that the city has been able to lower the property tax rate for four years in a row, and might be able to do it a fifth year.
He said he also wants to make sure the city continues to invest in the fire and police departments, has an adequate water supply and continues to expand roads to accommodate its growing population. “I love this city and I want to be able to support and protect it,” he said.
Jefts, 38, the owner of Tempo Swimming, said she was running against Lux because she felt the council had stopped listening to residents’ concerns.
“I think the flag issue is a big one because the City Council came off as very tone deaf,” Jefts said.
More than 200 people complained about a new city flag in December, with many upset about the design and others because they weren’t allowed to vote on the design approved by the council. The City Council later voted to take down the flag, and a city board is reconsidering designs before the city requests public opinion.
Lux said the council had multiple open meetings about the flag and just wanted everyone to be proud of it, but was willing to go back through the decision process again.
Jefts also said the city is spending too much money on the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project. The project will relocate part of U.S. 183 — which has been renamed Bell Boulevard in Cedar Park — to the east, opening up 40 acres for development and adding 12 acres to a nearby natural area.
Lux defended the project, saying hundreds of people showed up at a town hall meeting to support it and that the city expects to get its money back on the project within 10 to 12 years of its development.
Jefts also said the city needs to talk to Capital Metro about transportation options instead of just “forcing people on the toll roads.”
Lux responded by saying Cedar Park residents voted in 1999 to opt out of Capital Metro. The city has used the one-cent sales tax it saved from opting out for several projects, including improving the parks, expanding the library and purchasing a quarry for development, he said.
Grimes, 43, has served two two-year terms on the council. He said he wants to improve traffic by working on the synchronization of traffic lights and by adding turn lanes. He also wants to develop more connections between the city’s trails and work on developing Lakeline Park by possibly adding a BMX bike park to it.
Duffy said she wants to make city government more transparent. Some residents feel like they just get a “pat on the head” when they voice their concerns because the council has already made a decision, she said. “The flag debacle was a head-scratcher for a lot of people, and a lot of the community couldn’t understand why we needed a flag,” Duffy said.
Grimes said he voted against the final design of the flag. He also said the council has been “very responsive to citizens and their ideas,” including adding new safety precautions at school zones and reducing noise levels allowed in the city.
Duffy, 44, said the city should reconsider whether or not to participate in Capital Metro.
She said she also would like the city to increase the pay and retirement benefits for its police officers and firefighters to compete against other cities.
Duffy said Grimes is getting a lot of support from developers and people who live outside the city.
Grimes said he has community support “in every neighborhood throughout Cedar Park, which is evident by the 125 yard signs that are in residents’ yards.”