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City Council and Mayor Forum

By Joe Starkey



The forum allowed interested voters to meet the candidates and hear their views on city government both by general statements and direct answers to questions from the audience.Opening statements from the candidates for Place 4Steve Kirby – Running to restore smoking to the city and against DCOARobert Briley – Introduced his family and their relationship to AbileneLydia Long – After a career in teaching Criminal Justice, she and her family picked Abilene for the qualities of life. She is active in {{more}} the Old Town Neighborhood Association and on the Planning and Zoning Board. She wants to represent small business owners and families.Opening Statements for candidates for MayorNorm Archibald – He has been doing the job but feels that “we still have much to do with moving the city forward.” Water is very important to Abilene and the resources the city is working towards will be after my tenure. He’s running because he loves Abilene.Ron Konstantin – I arrived late because I stopped to help at a fender bender. The response to it by police officers was delayed due to lack of officers and we need to have better support for the police.Candidates for Place 3Anthony Williams – I am running to continue to make a difference.Linda Horsley – More diversity is needed on the board at grassroots level.Question – Should at least ½ of the City Council meetings be scheduled for evenings?Kirby – should have at least every other meeting in evening so people can participate without having to take off from work.Briley – needed so more input would be made.All others – supportsQuestion for Place 3 – Yes or No, Do you support the Youth Sports complex?Horsley – Wanted to know who would be using it and did not know purpose of the complex. All others supported.Question – Do you support in-fill?Mr. Williams explained the purpose of the program was to enable the city to put land back into private hands for development. Mr. Kirby was concerned that time, money and labor are not wasted on unneeded projects. Mayor Archibald reminded the audience that in the 1980’s, downtown Abilene was desolate. The advantage to developers is that building in the out parts of town requires them to fund streets, water and other utilities while these are already in place in town. The builder gets a benefit and the city increases its tax base. Mrs. Long stated that in-fill is vital to both the city and its population. Help is needed for both residents and small businesses to rehabilitate old buildings. Mr. Briley felt the incentives needed to increase to get new development in downtown.Mr. Kirby was against any use that took land from private owners and felt that government was wrong to tell people what they can and can’t do with their property.Question for candidates for Mayor – Do you/ should you consider fixed income citizens when the city makes a fee proposition?Mr. Archibald said total impact on all ranges of users are considered. Mr. Konstantin “has a heart for people on fixed income” and feels that people in politics should work for the people and not themselves. He stated that in the last two years, the city council seems more interested in raising funds than services.Question – What are your qualifications and what community service have you performed?Mr. Kirby – I’m a libertarian – not a member of organizations. I’ve tried to bring freedom to individuals. I would bring a 6-1 vote to the process instead of the normal 7-0. The city council needs an opposition voice.Mrs. Long – attended City University here in Abilene to learn how the city works. As part of the Old Town Association – we pitch in when a person gets a code violation to help clean up.Mr. Williams – serves on several boards in the city and is proud of his track record in the community. What is important is that I care for the community.Mrs. Horsley – I’m a nurse and member of the Texas Health Service. She is the Methodist President for Missions.Question – Should citizens continue to support Business with the .5% surtax that funds DCOA?Mr. Konstantin – my concern is that the money is used wisely. I’m against using it for the Youth Sports Complex.Mayor Archibald – Abilene was the first city to use the tax and now 550 cities in Texas use the same tax to compete for new businesses. He supports the tax because it has created 1000s of new jobs in Abilene.Question – how many city council meetings have you attended in the last 18 months?Mr. Kirby – none because I have to work daysMr. Briley – 3Mrs. Long – All but 2 for the last 12 months and most of the other city boards when they met.Mayor Archibald – 40 of the last 43 and was on city business for 2 of those he missed. All for a dollar a year.Mr. Konstantin – Voters need to know you can watch meetings on channel 7 later in the day and he watches most of the meetings on TV.Mr. Williams – 43 of 44 in the last 18 months.Mrs. Horsley – none but has read the minutes for all meetings the last 12 months.Question – Did the City Council move too far on the smoking ban?Mrs. Horsley – City voters voted for it and I agree even though I am a smoker.Mr. Williams – People voiced their opinion.Mr. Konstantin – My grandfather died from smoking so I agree but feel the fine is too much.Mayor Archibald – the ban was considered in the 90s but tabled. In City Council meetings – 83 people spoke for the ban which is still a record. This time they also considered the known effects of second hand smoke and put the issue to a vote. 70% of the voters were in favor of the ban and that is the highest winning percentage in Texas.Mrs. Long – Was excited about the Ban. Welcomed the level of support expressed on both sides.Mr. Briley – I was Treasurer for Smoke Free Abilene. People should be able to go all places with in the city without health hazards created by others.Mr. Kirby – Smoke Ban has caused some bars to go out of business. “Government does not have the right to tell Business what to do.”Question – What are your priorities while in office?Mrs. Long – more accessible meetings and more outreach.Mr. Briley – Use of water. Abilene could become a medical hub by bringing in more Doctors and Nurses.Mr. Kirby – Repeal the smoking ban. Repeal the limits on the type furniture you can have on your porch. Repeal the extra territorial jurisdiction that Abilene now has beyond the city limits.Mrs. Horsley – 1. Work as a team member of the City Council while giving priority to citizens issues 2. Affordable city transportation 3. Better pay for nurses.Mr. Williams – 1. Focus on crime by putting more officers in the force and increasing retention 2. Improve city infrastructure. 3. More sources of water for Abilene.Mr. Konstantin – get people to believe their votes count by creating single representative districts and work against corruption in the city.Mayor Archibald – Water is our #1 priority if we are to continue our ability to provide city services and to maintain a tax base that enables us to enjoy a good level of service.Question – Make a Closing statement not longer than one minute.Mr. Kirby – always tell the truth so you don’t have to remember lies.Mr. Briley – I understand the need for business to provide jobs for the city to remain strong.Mrs. Long – Education qualifies her to represent different people and understand all of the issues.Mayor Archibald – I’ve been in the job and have a passion for the community of Abilene to have a great quality of life.Mr. Konstantin – Plans to run until elected. Different regions of Abilene get more of what they want “BECAUSE THEY VOTE.”Mr. Williams – “God Bless Abilene and America.”Mrs. Horsley – I will represent the people of North Abilene.

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