Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long is running for her fourth four-year term against political newcomer Kasey Redus, a Democrat.
Long won the Republican primary in March against Bart Turek. Long, 56, said that while she's been on the Commissioners Court, the county has thrived with more roads, more jobs and a lower tax rate.
"We've seen a lot of success; the tax rate is 4 cents lower than it was 10 years ago," said Long.
The homeowner of an average-priced home worth $185,676 in 2008 in Williamson County paid $869.52 in county taxes. The homeowner of an average-priced home worth $284,484 in 2018 in Williamson County will pay $1,305.86 in county taxes.
Redus, a 41-year-old Cedar Park preschool owner, didn't have a challenger in the primary. She said the Commissioners Court has had a contentious relationship with county departments and courts over their budgets. "It hinders where we can go with the county as far as growth and safety," she said.
County Attorney Dee Hobbs sued the Commissioners Court in August, saying the policy it set on salary limits for employees is preventing him from hiring or keeping qualified employees.
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County Judge Dan Gattis was charged with official oppression in July after a sheriff's chief deputy said the judge threatened to "zero out" the sheriff's budget if Sheriff Robert Chody didn't stop tweeting about county issues.
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Long said the budget is always "somewhat of a challenge."
"There was an issue this last time as related to the sheriff's budget, but I think some better communication remedied that," she said. "The sheriff and court members are talking more and we also added a financial manager to the sheriff's office."
Long said that if re-elected, she wants to keep the tax rate low, create more jobs and make sure law enforcement has enough money so Williamson County "can continue to be one of the safest counties in the area."
Redus said that if elected, her goals would be to increase the number of members on the county's mobile outreach team whodeal with mental health issues and to work with the sheriff's office to ensure it has enough deputies and correctional officers. Redus said she also wants to increase emergency services to the city of Leander. Leander relies on Williamson County EMS because it doesn't have its own emergency services department.
Both candidates said they wanted to focus on the county's transportation needs.
Long said it was important for the county to move ahead with its long-term transportation plan, which is a series of proposed arterial roads that would run north-south and east-west to deal with the county's growth. "We want to ensure our citizens can move in and around Wilco without some of the challenges other counties have because they didn't implement a plan," Long said.
Redus said the county needs a comprehensive plan to deal with traffic issues in the next 10 years. She said her work experience includes managing budgets because she handles the budget for her preschool, which serves 190 families. If elected, she said she would bring a fresh perspective to the Commissioners Court. "I'm very good at sitting down and listening and coming to the table without a preconceived idea," Redus said.
Long said she has been successful at managing the county's $350 million plus budget, has a business degree, had once started her own technology consulting business and is very involved in "serving and giving back to my community."