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2016-12-15

Hill Country Alliance hosts government planning session

By Steven James BCC Editor

The Hill Country Alliance hosted a public forum on Tuesday at the Silver Sage Community Center from 12:30 to 4 p.m. in which government officials from Bandera, San Antonio, Austin and other Texas Hill Country communities came together to discuss implementing plans they have for their cities.
The points of the forum were to cover specific issues in the Texas Hill Country communities, have the Texas Hill Country officials learn from one another and help the cities enlarge their networks. Presenters recommended cities ask themselves if they knew who owned their Master Plans, if they knew how to formally approve their plans, if they knew who was in charge of executing their plans and to make sure that they celebrated successes in implementing their plans.
Bandera Mayor Pro Tem Rebeca Gibson attended a similar HCA conference in Blanco this past July, and wanted Bandera to work with HCA to host something comparable.
HCA Program Director Cliff Kaplan, who met Gibson a few months ago through a mutual friend, decided to host a forum here for the first in a series of sessions which will approach what HCA considers are some of the biggest issues in rural Hill Country communities. Kaplan announced the next forum will be in March, and will address water infrastructure.
“The hope is that we are provided some helpful tools to address the issues that you’ve been facing and tools to address the issues that you will face in the year to come, or the year after that,” Kaplan said. “And also to recognize that what we’re doing in Bandera is not wholly unaligned with the issues that the communities in Waco or Junction are also working on, and to see that we’re all pulling in the same direction. There are a lot of communities like Bandera that have a plan that could help give the town more direction, they just need to implement it.”
Britin Brostick of Stewardship Strategies suggested that the city of Bandera follow the steps outlined in its Master Plan, as well as working together with consultants, residents and volunteers, to implement the Master Plan. Maybe city council will say a plan needs to get executed a certain way, but then the economic development corporation and other governmental entities say the plan actually needs to be applied in another way, which would allow different viewpoints to be discussed, Brostick said.
“Rather than have these people separated by where they fall in the organization of things, what if you bring all of these people to the table to collaborate on all of these problems that you’re trying to solve, to prepare these plans that you’re trying to make or to address those priorities?” Brostick suggested. “At Kind Arthur’s table, he said “None of my knights are more important than the others—we’re all going to sit at a roundtable.” Think about sitting at a roundtable when you do this kind of work.”