The population in Buda has exploded from 2,400 people in 2000 to more than 9,000 today, bringing traffic congestion and water supply issues to the city’s doorstep.
The candidates for the two City Council seats on the Nov. 5 ballot differ on how the city should solve those problems and how it should continue to grow.
Angela Kennedy, who is running for the seat held by retiring council member Ron Fletcher, is a water and wastewater expert with her eye on Buda’s infrastructure needs, particularly water.
“Buda is facing tremendous growth pressure,” said Kennedy, who has spent 18 years in water resources engineering for the Texas Water Development Board, the Lower Colorado River Authority and designing water and wastewater systems. “We need to make sure we have the water resources to support that growth.”
In the short term, she supports conservation efforts such as encouraging xeriscaping. In the long term, she’d like to see increased use of reclaimed water for irrigation.
Kennedy, who serves on the Planning and Zoning Commission, called for more trails for cycling and walking, as well as more public parks and green space. She’d also like to see the city handle some services itself, including construction inspections and permit reviews, that are currently outsourced.
So far, Kennedy has raised the most of any of the council candidates, at $1,530. Her opponent, Wayne Proctor, has raised $986, while the remaining candidates filed reports indicating they have raised less than $500.
Proctor would like to see the growth in Buda slow down.
“We hope to control this out-of-control growth pattern the City of Buda has gotten into,” said Proctor, a retired aerospace professional. “We need to have smart growth and slower, accountable growth.”
His wife, Amy Proctor, is also running for City Council in the Place 2 race.
“We, Amy and I, agree on most issues, not all,” said Wayne Proctor, who supports more fees for developers. “We do agree that the current taxpayers should not pay for the increasing congestion, longer commute time, destruction of a way of life.”
Developers should be required to pay for roads, water and sewer expansions and additional public safety personnel, he said. He also worries that additional residents will impact water resources and traffic congestion, and drive up taxes to pay for more amenities and services.
Beverly Araki and Lorraine Gerami, who are also running for the Place 1 seat, did not return repeated calls for comment. Araki and Gerami, along with Wayne and Amy Proctor, also did not attend the only candidates’ forum on the Buda elections, hosted earlier this month by the Buda Chamber of Commerce.
In a letter to the chamber, Wayne Proctor claimed to speak for the four absent candidates and indicated they were not attending because “the candidates prefer a broader section of the public for a candidate forum,” and that a Wednesday night was inconvenient because of church services.
Council member Wiley Hopkins, who took office in March to fill a vacant seat, is a retired public servant who led housing authorities in Austin and Travis County. Like all of the candidates, Hopkins is concerned about growth and wants to manage it while controlling the tax rate, which is one of the lowest in Texas for a city Buda’s size, Hopkins said.
He said conservation alone will not address the city’s water supply issues. He hopes to work with state and county entities to secure water for the future.
“In the last six months I’ve been able to work collaboratively with my peers on the dais,” he said. “We have a low tax base, a balanced budget. We have a healthy community at City Hall, an experienced staff that works well together. I feel I have the ability and experience working with the municipality to continue to maintain the levels of taxes and services that citizens expect from me and the council.”
Amy Proctor wants to slow down the growth before Buda’s small-town charm is lost, she said. She noted the town had just 700 people when she and her husband arrived in 1982.
“I feel like the council is just not paying attention to what is going on, to the big picture,” said Amy Proctor, a retired mental health services director. “They are annexing and building and doing all kind of things and growing Buda to a rate that is not something I think we can sustain.”
She said developers should build the roads and other infrastructure needed before their houses go up. And she said the city needs to fix its amenities as well.
Her priorities include maintaining low taxes, protecting historic areas and easing traffic congestion. She said big box stores would be unwelcome on her watch.
Council members serve three-year terms and are paid $50 per meeting they attend.
Occupation: water and wastewater engineer
“I’d like to maintain our low cost of living and keep our small town community feel, while taking on water needs and traffic congestion.”
Occupation: retired aerospace professional
“Developers should not be allowed to build and build and run with the profits. … We should not require the current residents to pay these costs in dollars and quality of life. We realize that growth is inevitable, but current residents should not be penalized for growth.”
Note: Two other candidates in this race, Beverly Araki and Lorraine Gerami, did not return calls for comment for this story.
Occupation: public housing director and current council member
“Those are the issue that we want to focus on: taxes, service expenses, reasonable control of growth.”
Occupation: retired mental health services director
“I’d like to maintain our low taxes and work on our town before we bring in any more businesses or homes. I’d like to keep Buda as the charming town it is.”