Chad Hardy, candidate for Ballinger City Council
1. What position are you running for?
Ballinger City Council, Single Member District #3.
2. Why are you running?
I feel that my knowledge, background, and fairness could be beneficial to the city. I have a very high-tech background, including degrees in physics, computer science, and educational technology. I also have years of management and problem resolution experience from when I worked as a department head at a college.
3. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the position that you’re running for?
The biggest challenge right now is making improvements to the city and the services the city provides, while working on a limited budget. I am already active in town and do what I can to stay on top of what is going on with Ballinger. I attend city council meetings on a regular basis and I go to city hall and request additional information when needed. Ballinger has a ton of potential and I would love to see her become a beautiful small town once again. One of my biggest issues is properties that are not well maintained and are visual nuisances. There are several out-of-town property owners that don’t maintain their properties at all.
I want to work toward beautification projects, as well as target things we can do to improve city services, like water. Water is always a big issue here in town. Not just where the water is coming from, but the quality of water that that citizens are receiving. The new City Manager, Brian Frieda, has made this one of his primary focuses and I want to support him on this. He has already identified some of the issues and is working up a plan to resolve them. Water mains are very expensive to replace and so the city has been slowly replacing them as the budget allows. In some cases we have to depend on grants in order to fund the replacements. Many of the mains around town have been updated, but there are areas that still need this done.
I would like to help seek out additional grants and try to move forward on replacing more of the water mains.
I also believe making the city look well maintained and beautiful should be a focus of the city council. I pushed to bring back the city clean up days that we started again in 2018 after the city discontinued them many years ago. The city clean up events allowed citizens to bring in bulk trash to the city dump without paying extra fees. Due to this we were able to get a large amount of bulk items removed from yards and alleyways. I would like to work to see what else we can do to improve how Ballinger looks.
I feel one area that needs more attention is properties that are neglected. This includes tall weeds and other things that are against city codes. We need to work to get these items addressed through code compliance and other means so that the eyesores are removed.
Budget is very important. Ballinger works on a very limited budget which can make it difficult to fund items like improvements to city services. Ballinger’s budget comes from many things, but in part is funded by water sales, property taxes and sales taxes. Water sales fluctuate which can make budgeting difficult. Property taxes are an area that is very hard to navigate because home owners and business owners don’t want to pay more even when the cost of operating city services is increasing.
In addition to this, the state has just passed legislation that seriously limits increases in property taxes. This is great news for homeowners, but bad news for communities like Ballinger that are working on a very limited budget. One way to increase tax income is to bring in new commerce. I feel there should be a push toward this in Ballinger. There needs to be a hard working industrial board striving to bring in new business to Ballinger. I don’t want Ballinger to grow so much it loses the small town charm it has, but if a small town isn’t growing, it is dying. Costs for Ballinger will continue to increase so without an influx on new industry we will continue to have to work with a very constrained budget. This will greatly limit the ability to make improvements to roads, water service, and other things that citizens want.
4. What qualities do you feel best epitomize the ideal candidate for the position for which you are running?
I only moved to Ballinger in 2015, but I have strong family ties here and have spent many summers here with my grandma and other family. In the time I spent here in my youth I developed wonderful, enduring feelings towards Ballinger, a town that I love. I would like to bring Ballinger back to be more like the town I remember. I feel that I am fair and have Ballinger citizens’ best interest at heart. I want to work toward any and all improvements and I also plan to be easily accessible for citizens to reach me. I am already active in city government as I regularly attend Ballinger City Council meetings and work hard to make forward progress in town. I am also a member of the Park Board. In addition I spearheaded the feral spay/neuter program here to help control the cat population and I was the one that pushed for the city-wide clean up days that we now have. I hope people see that I want to make Ballinger a better place.
One other item I will mention here is that I believe that elected officials need to answer to and represent the citizens within their city. Voting people in and out of office is how we as citizens do this so, make sure to vote. Also, I would love to start a community group that would meet to discuss current projects and issues and then have a representative that would reach out to the members of city council. This would give residents of Ballinger an additional way to give feedback and of course any citizen can always contact their city council member directly as well.
Any candidate for any position up for election within Runnels County in the November election can request a candidate questionnaire from the Runnels County Register. This includes city council, school board, etc. The deadline for submitting the questionnaire is October 25. Email: BHancock@gatehousemedia.com if you wish to fill out the questionnaire.