Q&A with David Baskett, candidate for Stephenville City Council.
Q. With the rapid population growth of Stephenville and Tarleton along with new laws restricting the city’s ability to annex, there is a greater likelihood of change and redevelopment in some of our older neighborhoods. What are your thoughts on how the city should manage protection of neighborhoods while maintaining a positive growth environment?
A. I believe the city should come up with new programs that allow gentrification of these neighborhoods. However, while doing this we need to make sure we still protect our historical areas in town.
One of the biggest assets we have is that there are currently areas around Stephenville that can be used for development. We already have streets, water, and sewer and we need to utilize these areas and not bring in areas that need to have all new services ran that brings up the cost of development.
Q. Municipal employment has become very competitive making it more challenging to hire and retain quality employees including police and firefighters. How do you think city employee pay should be evaluated and how important do you think pay is to employee retention?
A. On April 4th the city council adapted a step plan that helps retain current city employees.
They accomplished this by conducting several salary surveys amongst our surrounding communities to make sure we are continuing to stay competitive in salary for all city employees.
I believe that this needs to be a semi-annual task to ensure we continue to retain employees.
Also, I know that the city of Stephenville allows police cadets and firefighters to attend police/fire academy for free if they sign on with the city to work 36 months. I think this is an absolute great program but I think we need to do a better job of showing our appreciation to the officers to make sure we retain them and show them how great our community is so they do not rush to the metroplex for higher paying jobs (this is also where the step plan comes into play).
Q. As an elected official, there is no clear requirement to spend a certain amount of your time on city issues. How much time do you anticipate the position will require in order to remain engaged and effective as a city councilman?
A. I plan on spending as much time as I can absorbing all aspects of the position. I already attend every council meeting as well as the board of adjustment meetings of which I am currently vice chair.
I am of the strong belief that the first two years a council person is really just learning the position. I believe that you learn from your peers and will be reaching out to other council members for advice and guidance as well.
Q. What qualities would you like to see in Stephenville’s next city manager?
A. On the April 4, 2002 city council meeting the council adopted guidelines of what they are looking for in the next city manager and the following are my top three that I 100% agree with.
Proven inspirational leader with experience building efficient teams across all departments that are empowered to utilize their skills and ideas to achieve organizational goals.
Demonstrated history of being fully engaged and visible in communities they have served.
Illustrates experience across a variety of infrastructure planning and expansion projects to include experience with grant administration and other varieties of financing opportunities available.
Q. What educational and career experiences in your background make you the most qualified candidate for this position?
A. During my professional career as a mortgage banker and commercial banker I have worked on several developments both residential and commercial and I feel like I can really take my experiences of what I’ve learned throughout the years and help any developer that is interested in coming to Stephenville.
I have served as the president of STEDCO where I have met with several businesses wanting to come to the area and relocate their current companies or start new business here.
I have also sat on the board of adjustments for four terms, twice I have been elected as vice chair, so I’ve seen several variance requests in my time on the board and understand when and why a variance should be approved or denied.
I believe that these are just a couple of reasons why I would make a good city council person for the city of Stephenville.