Old perceptions that are not based in reality are hard to overcome, and that is what I am finding as I talk with the citizens of Liberty Hill. Growth is happening, and the city needs the right team in place to manage that growth in a responsible manner. That is what this election is all about, and the outcome of this election will determine whether we handle growth in a healthy manner. I will discuss the two different administrations that are up for election in another article because first, I would like to address some of the perceptions that I frequently hear. The two in particular are that the city is an “old boys club,” and the second is that the city is not managing growth well.
Around six years ago, our city experienced a change of administration which has been working tirelessly to manage growth in a way that is responsible and for the benefit of the citizens of Liberty Hill. They are not part of the “old boys club.” Back then, the city’s accounting was done at a person’s home on QuickBooks, businesses and construction avoided Liberty Hill and we were not being prepared for growth. There is no judgment about that, but it is not the picture of a well-run city whose administration now occupies a beautiful city hall in downtown Liberty Hill, that has a S&P AA+ bond rating and is growing the city in a manner that is fiscally responsible. The city footprint and population has grown through annexation and building development, our infrastructure is constantly growing, and business and construction are happening because of a clarified rather than ambiguous Unified Development Code. While there were others who participated in bringing excellence and order to Liberty Hill, the primary people who are still involved are Greg Boatright, Ron Rhea, Liz Branigan and Troy Whitehead. They are still faithfully serving our city and preparing us for growth.
The perception that the city is not managing growth well is partially due to people not understanding how much is going on. The Liberty Hill Independent has done a faithful job reporting what is going on in our city, but I still encounter a disconnect where people do not realize that there are many plans and projects under way to manage growth. There is a comprehensive plan for growth in every area, and multiple projects are simultaneously being moved forward intelligently. With a little research you will find that we have an excellent and experienced city staff who are doing an incredible job, council members Ron Rhea, Liz Branigan and Troy Whitehead who have been catalysts for smart growth. I have had the privilege of getting to know Liz and Troy after I announced my candidacy and have been impressed with their character and integrity. Both of them are independent thinkers who understand smart growth and want to see Liberty Hill flourish. Greg has taken time to answer my many questions about the city, and combined with what I see in the audited financial report, I can tell you that Liberty Hill has the right man managing our city.
One of the biggest challenges is that when Liberty Hill created the right conditions for growth, it took off like wildfire. The marketplace responds to changes quickly, but government, unfortunately, requires considerable time to respond. For example, the creation of turn lanes on 29 right now took four years from when the project was initiated to be completed. There are multiple groups that all need to sign off on such projects and it takes time to move plans forward. Promises from candidates that by electing them they are going to give us better roads, sidewalks, better water, etc. are disingenuous. All of the promises are projects that are already underway, but they take time and funding to get completed. I find their rhetoric proves to me that they are not fit for leadership. They simply do not understand how things work and should not be leading Liberty Hill. It takes several years and lots of work for the plans and projects of good leadership from people like Greg, Sally, Ron, Liz and Troy to be realized, and it is that delay that is being used by some to breed discontentment. In reality, there already has been much intelligent growth under their leadership that we are enjoying the fruit of, and if we will look at the plans and projects that are under way, we can foresee that Liberty Hill is responding intelligently to growth.
This is an extremely important election for the city of Liberty Hill because it is imperative that the Leaders of Liberty Hill understand responsible growth and that they work together as a team to manage it. I have a clear vision for the future of our city and understand how to accomplish it (see previous articles as well). I want Liberty Hill to be known for its family environment. We will have a beautiful and safe city with sidewalks, parks, trails, recreation and a strong local economy with a diversity of business. It takes good leaders to initiate and see these projects through to completion. I also understand it takes money to make good on all of those promises and the best way to generate revenues for our city is through annexation and bringing new developments into the city. That requires us to expand infrastructure to accommodate the growth. Fortunately, great leaders like Greg Boatright often get developers to fund the development of infrastructure as he did with Butler farms. They are building 6 miles of water lines for us worth $4M so that we are growing our infrastructure without increasing our debt. As more homes and businesses are added to the city of Liberty Hill through a process that keeps our city fiscally sound rather than over leveraged through debt, we will be able to provide more and better services for our citizens. This is the type of leadership I promise to provide if elected to council.