Early voting begins in hospital, school, city elections

Early voters can begin making the rounds on Monday, April 22, to cast their ballots in contested elections for city council, hospital board and school board.

Those wishing to cast early ballots by personal appearance must do so during regular business hours in each of three locations: for city council, at City Hall (9 am-5 pm); for school board, at the CISD Administration Building (8 am-5 pm); and for hospital board, at the Hemphill County Hospital lobby (8 am-5 pm). City offices will remain open for two 12-hour days next Monday and Tuesday, April 22-23, to accommodate voters.

General election voting will be conducted on Saturday, May 4, from 7 am to 7 pm, in the Canadian High School foyer, where all three polling places will be located.

Five candidates are vying for three open seats on the Canadian ISD board of trustees. They are Andy Orrell, Kathy Dumbauld, Cory Campbell, and Bradley Flynn, and incumbent Larry Smith.

Four candidates are seeking one of three open seats on the Hemphill County Hospital board of directors, including Colby Leach and incumbents Cory Pittman, Shane Harris, and Mike Gardiner.

Three candidates are running for two open city council seats, including Ben Needham, and incumbents Joe Schaef and Jonathan Frederick. The only uncontested race in the city election is that of mayor. Terrill Bartlett is the sole candidate for the office that has been held by Rob Talley.

All of these candidates have graciously responded to questions submitted by The Canadian Record, and published in this week’s edition.

Applications for ballot by mail must be received on or before April 23, and should be sent to the appropriate business office.

City Council/Mayor: Kimberly Sloat, 6 Main Street, Canadian, TX 79014
School Board: Belinda Leatherman, 800 Hillside, Canadian, TX 79014
Hospital Board: Melissa Eagan, 1020 South 4th Street, Canadian, TX 79014

The deadline for early voting is the close of business on Tuesday, April 30.

SCHOOL BOARD
Q&A

Why should voters cast their ballot for you as a candidate for the Canadian ISD Board of Trustees?

CORY CAMPBELL

CC: As a youth minister in Canadian for almost seven years (22 years of full-time ministry with youth), I have a unique perspective of students. I see their struggles, dreams, fears, and successes. Being on the school board gives me another way to serve our community and advocate for youth. I also have a vested interest in the outcome of Canadian students as I have two sons currently attending Canadian ISD schools, plus our oldest son graduated from CISD last spring. Just as our community expects, I want the best for our students, and therefore, I am a supporter of CISD’s overarching vision, mission, and core values. I know this position will require passion and expertise and I’m eager to bring my varied gifts and talents to the school board. I possess exceptional people skills that allow me to communicate with all ages and backgrounds successfully. I am a motivated self-starter who loves to learn and hear new ideas. As a leader, I have the gift to motivate, unite, and think strategically.

KATHY DUMBAULD

KD: Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Each child in Canadian has the ability to carry the spark of innovation, motivation, creativity, and learning out into the world. Our duty, as a community, is to make sure our children receive the best education delivered by the best educators and educational services we can provide. My children have benefited greatly from the education and mentoring that was provided to them in Canadian. I would be honored if I could be a part of that process by serving as a member of Canadian ISD board of trustees.

BRADLEY FLYNN

BF: I think people should consider me for the board because we need new perspectives on some of the issues. The district signed up as a school of innovation for many reason, one of which I would like to help get moved along ASAP is the vocation classes, that can be taught by people that do it for a living. We need to give kids the skills that will help them in life, advanced math and science classes aren’t going to help the vast majority of kids after they graduate.


ANDY ORRELL

AO: As I mentioned, I believe Canadian is a very special small town. Canadian is a great place to live because for generations people have volunteered and actively worked to build this oasis in the Panhandle. After living in Canadian for the last 15 years and witnessing the outpouring of support this community floods it’s schools with, I feel compelled to help maintain and grow our elite school district. It would be an incredible honor to work on the CISD School Board to continue this tradition of service. I am willing to do my best to listen, learn, and, hopefully represent the people of Hemphill County in a manner that will continue this special tradition.

LARRY SMITH

LS: The district’s motto is Excellence: Every Child, Every Day, so primarily, I am concerned with the success of each and every student in the district. In addition, I have a duty to the taxpayers of the district, working to keep local funds in our school. For six years, I have been fortunate to serve on the CISD board of trustees, gaining insight and wisdom through this experience that, hopefully, helps with decisions regarding all stakeholders of Canadian ISD. As an elected official, I hope to be fair and honest with each of you.

Where did you attend public school as a student, and how did it help you become who you are today?

CC: I attended and graduated from Palo Duro High School, Amarillo, class of 1994. In the 1990s, Palo Duro was an at-risk school on a “dangerous” side of town, where I was considered the minority. I learned to get along with just about anyone and find common ground no matter how different we may be. As an adult, this enabled me to care for and connect with people from many different backgrounds. Also, graduating from a larger high school, I realize there are so many opportunities out there that our students should be able to access. I had many advantages as a student at Palo Duro. For example, I played bass in Orchestra, and during my senior year, I was offered a college scholarship. I played tennis in high school and then accepted a tennis scholarship for college. Palo Duro offered many technical programs, including auto body, mechanics, and welding, as well as five languages. There were many opportunities for students to find success. I care greatly about arts, sports, technical programs, and academics for CISD students and hope we can continue to add opportunities.

KD: Being a fifth-generation Hansford County native, I attended Gruver High School, then attended Texas Tech where I received a degree in English and elementary education. I chose to see the world rather than return to my roots, and actually did for 30 years, before returning to the Panhandle, so my kids could have the ‘hometown experience.’ I wanted them to know what it was like to have a community to support you, to be part of a team, and to know that many eyes are watching you no matter where you are or what you are doing. Canadian is where Jon and I chose to move our family because of the community and, most importantly, the school. Though we were giving up life in the big city, I did not want the kids to miss out on the educational opportunities that are so prevalent there. I want all of my kids to be as educationally proficient as their contemporaries who were raised in cities. I truly believe Canadian ISD has given my kids a great educational base. I feel in order to keep up with the other state schools with high educational standards, Canadian needs to keep pushing forward in finding educational opportunities and modify curriculum, so our graduates will be well-prepared for the next steps in their lives whether it is joining the workforce, earning an associate’s degree, or attending a university. I hope to be part of maintaining high educational standards for all students.

BF: I was raised in Canadian and graduated from Canadian ISD. I believe that being raised in Canadian definitely helped me turn into the person I am today. I’ve learned after living in Amarillo for several years that you can’t beat small-town living. Not all kids are wired to be white-collar workers, me being a good example of this. I took all of the vocation classes I could, and they gave me the knowledge I needed to complete many remodeling jobs at my house, or for other projects.

AO: I attended primary school in Abilene, Texas, and graduated from Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida. All the schools I attended were considerably larger than Canadian ISD. I was fortunate to experience a wide diversity in curriculum and people. During my education, I had abundant options of classes and activities, and was lucky to participate in as many as I could. This variety in my background reinforces my decision that Canadian is a great place to live and raise a family. The people of Canadian and Canadian ISD do an amazing job of raising well-rounded young adults that excel in our society.

LS: I attended Canadian ISD and graduated with the great class of ’89. Our school has always encouraged and equipped students to reach any level of success, and, along with the community, supported students in all activities. This influence has been around for decades, and, hopefully, decades to come. I am certainly a product of this school and proud of it. Go Cats!

In July 2017, Superintendent Kyle Lynch signaled his resolve to shift the school district’s focus away from STAAR tests, and toward a system of community-based accountability. Nearly two years into this school transformation, what can you tell the public about that process, and how do you think it has improved—or will improve—the education we provide our students and their preparation to become engaged and productive citizens in the world they inherit?

CC: My connection with students and conversations with teachers seem to indicate the new direction has taken some of the stress off of the “test” and put our teachers in a position where they can teach how they see fit within the guidelines of the course. I also realize that finding success as a student is much more significant than just a snapshot of one test. Knowing firsthand the expectations and drive of our community, Canadian’s support of our students and what our students should become will bear much more fruit than a blanket focus. Austin should provide support and direction without crippling requirements. However, I do think it’s still a work in progress. Last year the district went through some curriculum alignment, and that’s been helpful from what I understand. This leverages our vertical alignment which is where our high school teachers work with middle school and elementary teachers and their curriculum strand; this is unifying and incredibly positive, creating a stronger professional learning community. This makes the teachers feel as if they are working together toward a common goal…every student, every day. Regarding school finance, reform is imperative, and we don’t know what that will look like till as early as June. School finance reform will hopefully allow us to be able to offer more in-class instruction similar to what other schools offer as well as add tech programs. We need to add a focus on real-world employment not just college readiness. If our vision is “Every child, every day,” then there are some things we need to look at to meet future needs and take action to reach important goals.

KD: I feel that Superintendent Lynch’s decision to quit placing penultimate weight on the STAAR test results will ultimately improve what the students are learning and retaining in the classroom, as well as improving standardized-testing scores necessary for college admission and possible academic scholarships. I think NOT teaching to the STARR test standards will free classroom teachers into delivering curriculum that is more comprehensive and necessary to prepare students for success in their next educational goals, whether it is vocational or college courses. I feel a broader curriculum base will help to raise ACT/SAT college-admission scores, which will lead to more collegiate scholarship awards. I feel Superintendent Lynch’s steps to involve the community with the learning process of our children has the potential to help Canadian students have higher success rates in achieving college degrees and to focus students who are seeking to be skilled workers in the workforce. There is a certain amount of daily grit and determination necessary to stay in the workforce, much less succeed. Having community mentors imparting their unique knowledge with students will expose them to the struggles and successes in life that can only be achieved by having focused determination.

BF: I spoke with teachers and even a school board member about the changes, and I get the same response, there’s lots of talk about what can be done but not a lot of changes made yet. My understanding is that CISD is not fully transitioned into the school of innovation yet. My hope is that it will get done and good changes can be made to help the kids that will be blue-collar workers.

AO: Having attended every school board meeting in 2019, I can tell you community-based accountability system has been discussed in the meetings, and the board seems to feel it is a work in progress, moving in a positive direction. Canadian has great teachers, and I feel we should let them do what they do best: teach. Not to a state-mandated test, but to a proven curriculum that will produce well-rounded adults. I agree that we should focus our efforts on every single student to ensure that they all have the skills and emotional aptitude to be a productive member of society. I don’t believe the STAAR test alone is a fair measure of a student’s educational experience or ability, or a full reflection of the teacher’s effort.

LS: Being a part of this process was likely the most substantial decision made during my time on the board. The board and administrators analyzed another school district that successfully made a similar shift, and we decided to take a chance, as well. This refocus required the trust of the teachers, and they responded well. This change has empowered teachers to educate our children in a more robust manner, and our children have responded with an “A” district rating from the state for the 2017-18 year. Accountability is important, and part of that is standardized testing, but the STAAR test should never be the only factor in measuring the success of students, teachers, or our school district. This broader vision is a key part of the school transformation process.

HOSPITAL BOARD
Q&A

Why should voters cast their ballot for you as a candidate for the Hemphill County Hospital District board?

MICHAEL GARDINER

MG: I would appreciate the voters of the Hemphill County Hospital District casting their ballot for me because I have a vision and desire for the hospital district to provide a well-rounded program that encourages and assists those who use our facilities in developing overall good health. Through the years, I have had an opportunity to participate in the building of all of the community-wellness programs that are offered through our hospital district. A great deal of planning and forethought has gone into these programs, I have been blessed to encourage others and offer my own input into that planning.

SHANE HARRIS

SH: The taxpayers of Hemphill County have already made a strong commitment to build facilities that this community can be very proud of and move forward with. To continue to offer healthcare in these facilities, it will require that we utilize them and support them, physically and verbally.


COLBY LEACH

CL: I am running for the Hemphill County Hospital District Board because I feel a need to serve the people of this county. I worked as a respiratory therapist for 10 years at Hemphill County Hospital from 1996 through 2006. The hospital board gave me a forgiveness loan to go to respiratory therapy school at Amarillo College. I was required to sign a three-year contract, and I was the first employee ever to complete my contract obligations. Although I served my contract three times over, I still feel obligated to serve the people of this county. I will always have a special place in my heart for this community and hospital because of this. I am now wanting to serve it in a different capacity. With my medical background, I feel as though I would be an asset to the board.

CORY PITTMAN

CP: When I get involved in something, I make it a priority in my life, just as I have with serving on the hospital board. After serving on the board for several years I became the first board member to become a certified healthcare trustee through the Texas Hospital Association. I am always trying to engage with community members and gain more knowledge through continuing education that is a requirement for the certification that I hold. This engagement and education has pushed me to be a better-informed board member to represent the residents of Hemphill County.

Why should the taxpayers of this county support the Hemphill County Hospital District? How is its presence here beneficial to you and your family?

MG: The hospital district is more than just a significant employer in Hemphill County. It is ofttimes the first place that we, the residents, our visiting families, and those passing through our community turn in a time of crisis. Within practical limits the hospital district attempts to assist, meet, and solve those needs. Through the years, I have attended seminars and conferences whereby I was able to talk to people from communities that didn’t have a solid healthcare system. They were quick to point out that their communities suffered from more than just a lack of immediate healthcare. The hospital district is an encouragement to local businesses and citizens to remain in Hemphill County.

SH: The hospital district, in its entirety, adds so much to this community. The economic impact is as one of the largest employers providing nearly 200 jobs. Jobs equate to housing and increased retail activity, which benefits everyone from restaurants to fuel providers. The most important benefit is the opportunity it offers to impact a life on the closeness and availability of emergency care. The Hemphill County Hospital also provides the residents of Canadian and the surrounding counties a progressive and affordable option for their non-specialized healthcare. Many small rural communities no longer are afforded the convenience of local healthcare. Not only is this an inconvenience. It contributes to lost productivity, due to having to schedule time away from work, and in some instances, having to find transportation options for attending doctor’s appointments and other medical assistance (i.e., physical therapy, home health services, etc.).

CL: Having a hospital here is beneficial to our community because in a medical emergency having a facility to begin treatment during the “Golden Hour” greatly increases a patient’s survival rate. The staff at HCH are trained to the highest standards of care and are certified in advanced-care practices. Having worked in other facilities during my career as a respiratory therapist, I know the need to have a hospital close to begin life-saving treatments as soon as possible. This hospital has benefitted me, not only as a former employee, but as a patient’s father. One of my kids recently needed an echocardiogram, and we were able to have it done right here in Canadian. Without our community hospital, it would be a detriment not only to our county, but to the neighboring counties, as well.

CP: The ability to have local healthcare facilities is a huge benefit to Hemphill County on so many levels. First off, just having the access to medical care that we all need right here in our community. Just look at some our surrounding communities who do not have access to the services that we do and must drive out of town to receive the medical care that they need. We are always looking to expand services the hospital district provides to make your healthcare needs easier to manage. Also, the economic benefit the hospital district provides for Hemphill County, employing around 200 people, making it, if not the biggest, one of the biggest employers in the county. As far as how is the presence of the district is beneficial to me, one of my daughters and myself visited the clinic last week, recently I had a family member that had a short stay in the hospital and my grandmother lives at Mesa View. My family and I appreciate being able to benefit from the access to all these facilities the district operates.

The Hospital District is in the process of building a new nursing home. The district now owns five entities: the hospital, Canadian Family Physicians Clinic, Edward Abraham Memorial Home, Mesa View Assisted Living, as well as a division in Pampa, Harvester Health and Wellness Clinic. Do you support the hospital district’s efforts to provide a complete circle of care for Hemphill County and surrounding communities? Please explain.

MG: Yes, I support the hospital district in providing a complete circle of care for our community. The hospital district is uniquely positioned to offer rural healthcare services through the two clinics that it operates. As a rural healthcare provider, we are able to partner with other governmental agencies in meeting the healthcare needs of all citizens, which is as it should be done. When the need arose, the hospital district stepped up and assumed the needs of the assisted living facility and the Abraham Memorial Home. Without these facilities, many individuals and families from our community would be forced to find care for themselves and family members elsewhere. The hospital also provides lab and X-ray services, physical therapy, home health and hospice care. My family and I have used a good many of these services through the years. Yes, I understand and support the Hemphill County Hospital District in its various endeavors.

SH: Yes, I do. The doctor and patient relationship is an important one. In our community, we get to know and trust our healthcare providers and are able to continue with them throughout our eldercare years. It is also very beneficial to have those family members close enough to visit on a regular basis. Filling an unexpired term on the hospital board for the last six months has opened my eyes to the challenges in continuing to provide healthcare in a small community. I strongly feel that the Hemphill County Hospital Board and the community of Canadian has taken a proactive approach to creating an environment to entice people to give our healthcare community a consideration when seeking healthcare options. Thank you for this opportunity to serve my community.

CL: Yes, I support it! Having a circle of care for our community is a huge benefit. The people of our county and surrounding counties have a variety of services available to them. From a routine checkup to long-term senior care, our hospital district can do many things. The hospital offers many of the tests and therapies that a larger facility offers, and right here in Canadian. I feel as our community grows, so will the services of the Hemphill County Hospital District. Whether I am elected or not, I will continue to support this hospital district, and it’s efforts and growth.

CP: I do support having the complete circle of care for the residents of Hemphill County and the surrounding area. I think being able to transition your life as your level of care changes is wonderful. You can stay in your community and receive the care that is needed and not have to move to Amarillo or another community that would take you away from your family and friends. The residents of Hemphill County made it clear that they want these services provided to them and are willing to pay for them when we passed the bond election to build the new nursing home facility.

CITY COUNCIL
Q&A

Why should voters cast their ballot for you as a candidate for City Council or Mayor?

TERRILL BARTLETT

TB: I’m the only candidate running for mayor, but I would still appreciate your vote as I hope and pray that I am qualified to serve this community in a responsible and professional manner.


JONATHAN FREDERICK

JF: Four years ago, I ran for city council as I decided it was time to serve the community that I call home, and I was fortunate to win that election against some formidable opponents. For generations, Canadian residents have generously dedicated their time and funds to the benefit of the city in amounts that far exceed that of other Panhandle communities. Our residents continue to give willingly and abundantly, helping to create a wonderful place to live, raise our families, and visit. Without honest, well-educated, and motivated council members to take care of what has graciously become available for our use and enjoyment, the city we love will fade away. My goal as a council member is to seek out all avenues of resolution to Canadian’s challenges and do what is best for the city as a whole to insure that it is an even better place to live for generations to come.

BEN NEEDHAM

BN: I would appreciate your vote in the upcoming election because I have made community involvement a priority since moving to Canadian. I have served two consecutive, three-year terms on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and will soon complete my second consecutive three-year term on the Hemphill County EDC. Through service to both organizations, I have seen our community make great strides toward prosperity. Now, by running for city council, I intend to continue pressing forward to improve our community and have it be a destination in the Panhandle. During my EDC tenure, our team assisted in the formal request for implementation of new, competitive high-speed fiber internet for Canadian businesses and residents. I’m so excited to have PTCI coming to Canadian, as they will help make our community a true competitor for business, students, and economic success. In addition to fiber internet, the EDC encouraged the pursuit of becoming a Texas designated Cultural District, which recently lead to Canadian’s successful designation. This designation will continue to put Canadian “on the map” and help direct tourists to our area. The EDC also worked to secure physical properties in the area to help small businesses hit the ground running. Canadian All Stars is one of the latest success stories, and I know we are all so proud to have them in our community. Lastly, the EDC’s most recent success story, to date, is Frank Phillips College will host the 2019 NIRA Rodeo in Canadian. According to The Canadian Record, being a host site could have a conservative estimate of $100,000-plus impact on local sales!

JOE SCHAEF

JS: I feel I have considerable experience in being an effective member of the city council. I have served this community and county for over 50 years. I served two terms on the city council in the 1980s, and served as a county commissioner for over 20 years. I retired from the Canadian Volunteer Fire Department after 42-plus years of service. I have owned my own business since the 1970s.

With the help of a consulting firm—NewGen Strategies and Solutions—City officials have made a commitment to restructuring service rates in an effort to generate more revenue and make possible capital improvements to the city’s aging water and sewer infrastructure. They have already identified an estimated $6.2 million in needed improvements over the next five years. What should the council’s top priorities be when restructuring service rates, and why?

TB: Canadian, as do most small communities, faces the challenge of maintaining its aging water and sewer infrastructure. Over the the next five years, this will cost the community an estimated $6.2 million to upgrade. As a community, we don’t have a choice except to spend the money, and the only source of revenue for these projects is an increase in rates. These new rates need to provide the revenue to service the debt the city will incur, but also be fair to the community. Several options have been discussed for changes in the rate structure, but I’ve always been in favor of keeping it simple. I would be in favor of a simple flat rate, the more you use, the more you pay.

JF: It is the duty of the city council to provide a safe, affordable, and reliable water/sewer system. Since this system services residents both inside and outside the city limits, it is my top priority to fund the proposed upgrades with no impact on city tax rates. There is currently a proposal for a graduated tier of usage plan. Its basis is to charge more to those who use more water or have longer service lines. Additional review of similar, surrounding cities shows our current rate plan is outdated and underfunded. If additional resources are required, funding from Hemphill County should be requested.

BN: New-Gen’s consulting and restructuring of rates will help move our city’s infrastructure in a positive direction. Although this agenda item isn’t glamorous, it affects everyone in our community. If we are to offer and implement a tiered rate/usage system rather than a flat rate, it could encourage water conservation, which is an important factor when applying for outside funding. It is of utmost importance to have our city generate a surplus of funds via the rate restructure so that our community can have healthy reserves into the future. I have come to understand that a strong portfolio (reserves, general fund, conservation, and improvements) will ultimately affect our ability to apply for funding. It was explained to me that the application process for funding is similar to that of a private individual applying for a loan. Generally, a loan officer will ask what cash is on hand or liquid, what are the assets, liabilities, etc. The same applies here. If Canadian doesn’t raise rates or conduct infrastructure updates, it could be difficult to secure funding; therefore, the problems we have today will only compound into the future. We have to get ahead of the curve and it will take all of us to do it.

JS: This past month, the city council hired NewGen to study the utility rates to see how the council could revise these rates. A rate increase could help fund repairs to the infrastructure. I feel it’s not fair that the city residents pay taxes for these services and the infrastructure repairs, when the county residents, on city services, do not. These residents should pay a higher rate. The county residents that use city services have the option to be annexed. They would then pay the same rate as a city resident. This would add to our tax base.

In the past year, the City Council has also invested resources in projects that will bring pedestrian and event lighting to Sunset Park and provide better sidewalks for students in school zones, and has worked with county and school officials to bring enhanced broadband service to the community. Are these projects you support? Please explain. What other community improvement projects, if any, would you be interested in seeing the city pursue?

TB: Larry Gatlin and many other people have worked for a long time to bring another broadband internet option into Canadian. PTCI is currently installing the infrastructure for this project at no cost to the taxpayer. This will be a huge asset for the community. The pedestrian and event lighting at Sunset Park has been a cooperative effort between the city, and Mert and Betty Cooper. This will be a unique addition to the south side of town and will enhance the corridor into Canadian. The sidewalk improvement up Sixth street, from Baker Elementary to the football field, has met with more controversy. The city council has already approved the project, and there is a grant application filed to help with the cost. The grant has not been approved yet so the city may in fact have to pay for the full project. I was opposed to the project for several reasons. When you have limited resources, you have to prioritize your spending. You can’t do everything, and I would have put this project far down the list. If student safety is a concern, then the school should bus the students to the football field. The school buses students all over the state, so I don’t know why they can’t bus them three blocks. It would certainly be cheaper. Some have said the sidewalks would be used by everyone. I would have to argue that, as well. I run nearly every morning, and I never use the sidewalks. In fact, I would say that 90 percent of the people I see either running or walking in the early morning are in the street and never use the sidewalks, including the nice new sidewalk in front of the Middle School. But mostly, I’m concerned with the rights of property owners to either have or not have a sidewalk in front of their home, whatever their reason may be.

JF: I support all of the quality of life programs, and will continue to do so. In fact, my positions on the EDC and CARE Commission give me the ability to promote the programs on an influential level. Of great importance is the newly founded Canadian Cultural District. We need to foster its growth and leverage its statewide recognition into a destination for tourism and an incubator for entrepreneurial business startups. I believe its designation warrants a full-time employee and will seek approval to do so.

BN: Improvements to Sunset Park will be made possible in part by Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) reserve funds, as well as private donations and grant funding. HOT funds are specially earmarked and strictly ruled as to how they can be spent. That being said, the Sunset Park improvements are in-line with the law and a great way to utilize some of those funds for our community. I think it is wonderful that Canadian is implementing part of its comprehensive plan and actively applying for grant funding to install and improve sidewalks to better assist our children in safe access to school. Without a doubt, I support these issues. In addition to the above, I would like to continue updating our city equipment and infrastructure. I believe that if we continue to improve these items while they are manageable, we will stay ahead of the curve and continue to improve. The moment we neglect the basics, we will find an insurmountable “elephant” in our path to progress.

JS: It is estimated that the city will need $6.2 million over the next five years to upgrade the infrastructure. The top priority should be to restructure service rates, so we can begin replacing water lines, sewers, and repair the streets. Sunset Park—The lighting will make a good first impression traveling into town. This project is paid with the Hotel Occupancy Tax. When deciding to install or replace sidewalks, the terrain, trees, highline poles, sprinklers systems, and fences, are a few things that should be considered. There could be grant money for this project. I feel that the infrastructure and streets are more important. The new Wi-Fi will be great to help businesses that use this in their work. New Project—The swimming pool needs work. I would support building a new pool. Tax entities could combine to build an indoor pool that could be open year-round.

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