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Salado Mayoral Candidates 2014 - Danney McCort

Article Index

Danney McCort

My Experience:

Current Mayor of Salado for the past 2 years; Department of Veterans Affairs 32 years, Staff  & Senior Engineer, Project Engineer, Contracting Officer responsible for 185 million dollar budget.; Assistant and Chief Engineer, Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, overseeing a budget of $64 million; Engineers Advisor Board, Engineering Management Computer System Washington D C. I was appointed by the Undersecretary for Facilities Management, Department of Veterans Affairs D.C.; Salado Board of Adjustments, Planning & Zoning Board, and Aldermen; Viet Nam War Veteran, Service in US Navy and service-connected veteran; Elder, past treasurer Presbyterian Church Salado, Help start the Church and over see the construction and renovation of the existing church; Voting member Executive Board at Central Texas Council of Government; Member Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization Planner Roundtable; inaugural class of Leadership Salado.

I have worked with these Federal and State Agents for improving Salado: Federal Emergency Management on getting Letters of Mapping Approvals, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Texas Park, Fish and Wildlife, Texas Commission Environmental of Quality Agency regarding the sewer system and Kasberg Patrick & Associates Engineering.

Education: Graduate Amarillo College and West Texas A & M University, BS Engineering

Contracting Officer, Department of  Veterans Affairs Engineering Center

Emergency Management Institute courses that are required by law.

Civic Affiliations 

Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year 2012.

Lions Club, past President Salado Rotary Club, Historical Society, 

Community Service Supervisory for two Judges, Judge Eades and Engleking

Why I am Running For Re-Election as Mayor: I want to finish the projects I started, such as the sewer system for downtown and west side, renovation to street and lighting to attract more visitors to Salado.

• Completing the Emergency Operation Plan so to achieve a grant for a storm siren system for Salado. One at each end of town.

• Working with TXDOT & James Construction to complete of I-35 Construction. 

• Bringing more properties the Village of Salado City Limits through annexation.

• Working on instituting more communication between City Government and Citizens of Salado.

• Working on keeping the Village financially solvent during these  down times in the economy and highway construction.

• Bringing the Village and Board of Aldermen together with the help of Jim Reed our City Administrator. I assure the  Mayor and Board of Aldermen are truly working together to achieve this goal.

• Re-Assessing and updating Salado’s Economic Development Plan for 2014 and beyond.

Question 1: The village entered into a contract with Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) to provide city management/administrative duties. In your opinion, is this arrangement working well? Should the village extend this contract beyond the current period ending in October? Why or why not? (200 word limit)

Danney McCort Answer:(a) The City Administrator arrangement has worked exceedingly well. Mr. Reed’s expertise in governmental procedures in the local, regional, state and national arenas has been invaluable in advancing many projects for the Village. (b) Without a doubt the contract should be extended through at least the November elections with the probability of the Sewer System Bond issue on the ballot. Mr. Reed’s experience will be needed to formulate all the intricacies needed to guide the Bond issue from start to finish.

Question 2: Texas Department of Transportation estimates that the expansion of I-35 through Salado will be complete in late 2015. What, if anything, can or should the Village be doing to prepare for this? What, if anything, can or should the Village be doing now to bolster businesses that have been affected by the construction project? (150 words)

Danney McCort Answer: (a) The Village administration (in conjunction with TXDOT and James) should be continuously updating the citizens on the progress. This will be an ongoing psychological “Yes, there IS a pot of gold at the end of the construction rainbow” effect. (b) Do everything in our power to make sure the Village administration goes to great lengths to be a “Business Friendly” entity. Bend over backwards to address all concerns of local business and make their day-to-day operations as profitable and as possible.

Question 3: What is -- or should be -- the role of the mayor in terms of setting goals and policies and enacting the  goals and policies of the Village? What is -- or should be -- the relationship between the Mayor and other aldermen and between the mayor and the city administrator and other staff? What will you do in terms of these relations? (200 words)

Danney McCort Answer: (a) The role of the mayor is like that of a ship’s captain and navigator. As navigator he plots the course for goals and policies. As captain he executes those courses and sees them through to fruition (b) Using the same analogy, the mayor (captain) can only accomplish the above with the assistance of a competent “crew”. The Aldermen, Administrator and staff are all individually, and collectively vital to maintaining the goals and policies of Salado. (c) I will continually strive to be a better “captain” with an open mind and open ears to the wisdom and input of the Aldermen, Administrator and staff.

Question 4. What are your thoughts on the Village Comprehensive Plan?  (200 words)

Danney McCort Answer: The Village Comprehensive Plan was approved in 2002 and reviewed again in 2007. The Plan needs updating since the expansion of I-35 has been occurring and developers have expressed an interest in west side development. Many of the businesses people I have visited with say a sewer system is crucial, not only for downtown revitalization but for Westside expansion. I want the Village to be continually working with the Chamber of Commerce to make the update Comprehensive Plan more effective in the future.The updated Plan also needs to readdress items address items such as the infrastructure of roads, water, sidewalks and flood control. The Board of Aldermen and City Administrator, with input from the Chamber, Tourism and citizens, should work collectively on the update plan. If the land exchange with Belton does occur the Village will be taking in more undeveloped land. This will need to be addressed in the updated Plan.Finally, we should consider adding a comprehensive list of various incentives designed to encourage more businesses to locate in the Village city limits and ETJ. 

Question 5. What are your top five goals for the Village that you would like to see accomplished in the next five years? How would you help to accomplish those goals? (200 words)3. Why do you think development within the Village and its ETJ has been slow in recent years in terms of new housing starts, new businesses, etc.? Do you think the Village should be growing? If not, why not? If so, what, if anything, can the Board of Aldermen do to improve this?(200 words)

Danney McCort Answer: 1) To complete the process for obtaining a bond election for a sewer system (for downtown and the west side) and for major road repair. This is the only way we will be able to acquire home builders and businesses to Salado.2) Work on obtaining grants for Revitalizing Main Street with sidewalks, street lights, historical signage, and safe path to schools. 3)  Strive to bring more businesses and home developments into the area, especially to the west side, utilizing the overlay design.4)  Complete a land exchange with Belton giving them land north of Amity road in exchange for land south of Amity. If the Village can achieve this goal, annexation of other areas will be easier for achieve.5) Continue revising ordinances with a fair balance of requirements to make them more business friendly to developers while at the same time maintaining the uniqueness of Salado.6)  Work toward achieving a full time Village Administrator. The Village needs to maintain Jim Reed as long as possible and especially through the bond election of the sewer system.

Question 6. Why do you think development within the Village and its ETJ has been slow in recent years in terms of new housing starts, new businesses, etc.? Do you think the Village should be growing? If not, why not? If so, what, if anything, can the Board of Aldermen do to improve this?(200 words) 

Danney McCort Answer: Development has been slow in the Village and its ETJ partly due to the downturn in the economy coupled with the disruption caused by I-35 expansion.  Another factor is land prices are relatively higher in the Salado area. In addition, without a city-wide sewer system more land is required for development.  For example, Cefco who is building on the west side had to purchase two additional acres for a septic system. A new home requires half an acre or more for a septic system. All this adds to higher costs for construction. A few developers state we have many restrictions in our ordinances. Recently the Board of Aldermen has been reviewing these ordinances but we still want to maintain the uniqueness of the village.Yes, the village should be growing and we hope to see more of this after I 35 is completed.  The west side is especially prime for development. I have heard that many of the residents want to see more restaurants. I have also listened to the younger generation wanting businesses like a movie theater and other recreational/entertainment venues.

It is simple, working together with the Village Administrator and with a POSITIVE attitude much can be obtained.

Question 7: What are your thoughts on the conditions of the village roads? (200 word limit)

Danney McCort Answer: Many of our roads are in need of repair. This is an ongoing process.Our Village Plan categorized our roads and streets as to importance. All roads were also appraised based on the accepted standard used by the industry, “pavement serviceability rating” (PSR), which uses factors such as longitudinal and transverse cracking, edge raveling and other condition characteristics.Local roads and residential streets can be maintained by lower cost surface treatment such as chip seal and crack sealing.  In this way we can allocate funds in accordance with traffic and importance of streets to bring all our streets up to a high level of serviceability and use our limited financial resources efficiently resulting in a higher quality system. Roads in our highest classification can be built to our design standard based on their importance.We collect five cents of every dollar from Ad Valorem tax to make road repairs. In our last budget, a one hundred fifty thousand dollar increase was still not enough. The cost of road repairs is going up for several reasons such as the increased cost of petroleum based products and inflation.I want to do more, including the highly cost efficient use of incarcerated labor from the County jail work release program on Saturdays.  

Question 8: What are your thoughts on the maintenance and operations of the village park? (150 word limit)

Danney McCort Answer: The only maintenance the Village currently does is Pace Park. I think it is maintained quite well given we have only one maintenance person. The park is rented out most weekends which helps bring in revenue. I want the Village be as accommodating as possible toward groups wanting to rent it.I want to apply for funds from Texas Parks, Fish and Wildlife (TPFW) for such things as trees and different grasses for land conservation. TPFW conducted a meeting relative to Salado Creek stressing the importance of protecting the aquatic and land vegetation in the habitat of the Salado Salamander. Funding is available under this provision.The Village will need to renovate the existing dressing structure. The Pace Park pavilion is also in need of repairs in the near future. I would recommend we acquire the Sherrill Park area and add park facilities including play ground equipment. There will be other park like areas along the Salado Creek that will become available to add to the Village park facilities. 

Question 9: Will you as Mayor work with the Aldermen to bring to the voters  a bond election for sewer? If called by the board, will you personally advocate for approval of a bond election for a sewer system? (300 words)

Danney McCort Answer: As mayor, I will not only work vigorously with the Aldermen, but also with the City Administrator Reed to bring a comprehensive and well planned bond package for a new sewer system to the voters of Salado.

Both Mr. Reed and I have extensive experience in bond preparation and execution. My plan is to educate the citizens of Salado in all aspects of the bond during the weeks and months leading up to the election. An informed voter is an empowered voter…informed with the facts, not hearsay and rumors.

Jim Reed and I will be coming to the Board of Aldermen asking for the dollars the start the process at the upcoming meeting. The Board assigned this task to be undertaken. Engineering is first step needed and this entails a design as to the size of plant, plant location and line flow. 

Working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). We know the permitting will take approximately two to three years for approval. There will have be a number public hearings conducted. The size of the plant will also determine the type of licensing needed. 

Work with a Securities Industry & Financial Association approved company for the sale of bonds. 

I have been advocating that a sewer system is a must for Salado. Citizens need to realize that our existing septic system is a major contributing factor for polluting our precious ground water. 

As mayor, I will, without hesitation, be the lead advocate for approval of the bond election for the new sewer system. There is going to be a great deal of “sales effort” needed to bring a win for the bond on the ballot. It is my intention to be the Head Salesman for the new sewer system bond package.

Question 10: What do you consider to be the greatest weakness or flaw in the Village of Salado government and what can you do to change it? (200 words)

Danney McCort Answer: The greatest weakness in the Village of Salado’s government has been its slow pace in addressing the major problems and potential solutions affecting the Village. Forces of nature and man have taken a toll on our once vital and vibrant community. The era of “Kicking The Can Down The Road” needs to be over. As Mayor I have, and will continue to increase my hard pressed efforts to create solutions for infrastructure improvements, growth on the west side and an even more aggressive outreach to new businesses and residential entities. 

It is said the wheels of government turn slow. For the future of Salado, and more so for it’s very survival, our government’s wheels need to be put in high gear.I feel the village must grow to achieve all its goals to do this we must address the annexation issue. This will allow us to serve the surrounding areas that are in fact part of Salado and increase our constituency and ability to provide services. 

Question 11:  Why should anyone vote for you? (200 words)

 

Danney McCort Answer: I am, and have been a Full-Time mayor. This position has not been that of a “figurehead’ but rather an 8 to 5 (and beyond) real job. I don’t work in Temple or Killeen. I don’t devote my efforts to a few specific committees. I live and work in Salado for all the citizens of the Village. Being Salado’s mayor has been the hardest working, non-paid job I have ever had. And I have loved it! I’m asking for another term not for the glory of being the “Mayor”, but for the humble honor of being able to serve the citizens of Salado with energy, enthusiasm and a forward-looking vision of what we can accomplish together.