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2016-12-01

New Bandera City Council members and mayor voice concerns, plans for future

By Steven James BCC Editor

Bandera Economic Development Corporation Members Toni Kunz and Glenn Clark were sworn in as city council members at the meeting last Monday, Nov. 21, while former Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Schauman was sworn in as mayor.
The three join Cindy Coffey, Sheila Pumphrey and Rebeca Gibson, who was appointed mayor pro tem. The new council members and mayor voiced concerns about how city officials have handled enforcing Bandera’s Code of Ordinances, balancing personal relationships with professional relationships and planning for the city’s future. They have each talked about how they plan to approach the issues that matter to them.
Kunz’s main concerns included the city government being understaffed, officials’ confusion about the city budget and finalizing the city’s Master Plan. She suggested educating city staff about the ordinances, as well as other laws and regulations, which she believes will benefit the city’s future.
“I hope to exemplify a calm and logical approach to our current issues and keep an open mind when it comes to others’ comments and suggestions,” Kunz said. “Most of the city staff doesn’t enforce ordinances across the board. I don’t know if it’s a lack of knowledge, but it needs to be resolved.”
She also said she is involved with the city socially and has a good understanding of what the city wants, which is why she thinks she will be a good council member.
Kunz also said she does not foresee a problem working with the other members.
“I always think there’s a win-win situation as long as there’s no greed involved,” Kunz said. “I believe that to be true in every situation.”
In addition to teaching people about the Code of Ordinances, another major issue for Schauman is upgrading the city’s infrastructure. She plans to do this by having the city apply for grants, as well as modernizing and tweaking the freshwater system and repairing the roads.
She also said she would like to create an atmosphere of conversation at the meetings.
“I think we have an intelligent group of people who will act on behalf of the city, rather than personal agendas, and I really think we can get some good things done,” Schauman said. “I’m really looking forward to this particular council—it’s going to be a good one.”
Clark said each council member needs to follow the chain of command and recognize personal relationships should not come into play when considering decisions affecting the city. He said the city administrator works with the mayor, not for him, and is hired to run the city business, as well as make the final decisions, because he is responsible to citizens and to the council for his performance.
“It appears things have started to resemble what was going on at city hall four years ago when I started my first term on council,” Clark said. “Working with the other council members will not be a problem as long as we follow the set guidelines concerning our position. That seems to have gone by the wayside for the past couple of years.”