Six candidates, including three incumbents and two former council members, are vying for three spots on the Cedar Park City Council in the May 7 election.
Mel Kirkland, 58, owner of a landscape consulting firm, is seeking his third term in place 2 against Collin Klein, a 30-year-old entrepreneur.
Eric Boyce, a 55-year-old investment company executive, is running for his second term in 4th place against board member Dorian Chavez, a 50-year-old sales executive for Micronova, a maker of sterile cleaning products.
Heather Jefts, a 43-year-old swimming and fitness business owner, served two terms on city council in places 5 and 6. She is running for re-election in place 6 against former council member Tim Kelly, 56 – former contact services representative at the US Treasury Department.
Kirkland said residents told him the main issues facing the town included traffic issues and having enough single-family homes. “The city has an upcoming bond election that will pay for additional road improvements and hiking and biking trails that will improve intercommunity mobility,” he said.
His goals if elected, Kirkland said, are to continue to recruit employers to Cedar Park, support first responders and other city services, and ensure equal representation for all residents.
He said he would also give the city “time and support” to complete existing city projects, including the Bell Boulevard project and the construction of a new library.
Kirkland said he was the best candidate because he has owned several businesses over the years, including a construction management firm.
“I know what it takes to stick to a budget, plan ahead, spend funds responsibly, and balance the needs of the entire community,” he said.
Klein did not respond to questions about his campaign. He ran unsuccessfully for the Place 5 seat on city council in 2021. On his Facebook page, he posted comments and a video of someone criticizing the city’s use of eminent domain to build the Bell Boulevard project. The video showed a bulldozer destroying a mall in Cedar Park to make way for the project. Klein said the video and comments showed why he was running for office. “Governments at all levels are out of control,” he said.
READ: Construction to begin in 2022 on the $350 million Bell neighborhood of Cedar Park
City officials say the 50-acre mixed-use Bell project will include restaurants, apartments, retail and the city’s new library, and is expected to be a gathering place for city-wide celebrations and a pedestrian destination/ family.
Boyce said voters told him the main issues facing the city were having affordable housing and dealing with traffic.
“Citizens also want elected officials who bring civility, professionalism, duty of vigilance and a desire to work for the benefit of the whole community,” Boyce said.
He said the city also needed to maintain its economic development momentum, invest in its utility and public safety infrastructure to meet future growth expectations, support small businesses, and have “smart and thoughtful development of remaining land resources.” of our city”.
Boyce said his goals if elected include pursuing the lowest possible property tax rates “given our current and future investment needs” and working with stakeholders “to create smart development and innovative in accordance with the overall plan of our city”.
He is the top candidate for mayor, Boyce said, because he helped craft the city’s new strategic plan and has a proven ability to listen to and represent the broader community in a nonpartisan way. He also said he had “significant prior experience on city boards and commissions, a strong budgeting background, and a working relationship with city staff, the business community, the chamber and small business owners”.
Chavez did not respond to questions about his campaign. He previously served one term on the Place 6 board from 2018 to 2020. He unsuccessfully ran for the Place 1 seat in 2021 and for the Place 6 seat in 2020. Chavez is the husband of Claudia Chavez, who is running for mayor of Cedar Park. .
On his campaign website, Dorian Chavez said “local government should focus on providing basic services like high quality fire and police and maintaining our roads and parks.”
“As a tax conservator and property owner, I am aware of many people’s concerns regarding property taxes. I am committed to providing the best possible services while keeping our tax rate as low as possible. As an organizer four times from one of the city’s events, I am dedicated to maintaining Cedar Park’s ranking as one of the safest cities in Texas.”
Read: Six candidates vying for three spots on Cedar Park City Council
Jefts served her first term on city council from 2017 to 2019 in the 5th slot. She lost a re-election bid to that seat in 2019, but was elected in the 6th slot in 2020.
Residents are primarily concerned about traffic, affordability and sustainable growth, she said. “During my first term, we created the first-ever homestead exemption to provide property tax relief.”
“I’m focused on creating good jobs to offset property taxes, supporting improved zoning that allows for more housing options, and finding common-sense mobility solutions that offer multiple ways to get around safely,” Jefts said.
What makes her the best candidate for the job, she said, is that she is also “focused on working together to find solutions to issues that affect our daily lives.”
“Cedar Park needs leaders who are willing to listen, get to the heart of a problem, and collaborate to find common-sense solutions,” said Jeffs. She said she also held regular office hours so “anyone and everyone could voice their concerns.”
Kelly did not respond to a request for comment. He served on the city council from 2019 to 2021 in place 1.
The city council voted to censure him in July 2020 for comments he made in person and on social media. Council members Dorian Chavez, Kelly and Mike Guevara voted against censorship.
At the time, Kelly called the no-confidence motion a “witch hunt.” Censure was a formal reprimand and carried no penalty.
Most of the more than 70 people who spoke at the council meeting where Kelly was censured criticized him for a message he posted on Facebook demanding that teachers be fired if they refuse to resume the job. teaching on campus during the coronavirus pandemic.
Early voting for the May 7 election runs from April 25 to May 3.
About the candidates
Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Citizen involvement: Has served on the city’s tourism board, community development and charter review board. Also served on the Brushy Creek Water Utility Board and the Capitol Area Council of Governments. Serves on the board of the Twin Lakes YMCA and the Reveal Food Bank. Volunteers with the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation, Native Plant Society of Texas, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas Landscape and Nursery Association, Central Texas YMCA, Hill Country Food Bank, Chamber of Commerce, and the 100 Club.
Education: BA in Economics with a minor in Finance and Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Citizen involvement: Volunteer to help build a rehabilitation center for underage survivors of sex trafficking; volunteered on church mission trips for construction projects in Central America, Peru, and Africa; volunteering with youth classes in churches; assisted in disaster relief during Hurricane Harvey.
Education: BS in Finance from the University of Texas, MS in Administrative Science and Management from the University of Texas at Dallas
Community Involvement: Served as President of the Cedar Park Economic Development Corporation; Chairman of the Cedar Park Planning and Zoning Commission; board member of the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation; member of the Legislative Committee of the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce; treasurers/president of investments of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Austin and member of the investment committee of the Ascension Seton Hospital Endowment Fund. Former President of Lifeworks of Austin; former treasurer of Communities In Schools of Central Texas; former Chairman of the St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School Advisory Board and also of the St. Louis Catholic School Advisory Board. Advisor for Southwest Angel Network for Social Impact, Youth Sports Coach at YMCA and Cedar Park Youth Football Association
Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of New Mexico.
Citizen involvement: National Night Out event organizer.
Education: Associate degrees in biology and biotechnology from Austin Community College; attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for two years, currently majoring in Total Sustainability Studies and Economics at the University of Texas.
Community Involvement: He is Chairman of the Board of the Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center, co-founder and volunteer of the Reveal Baby Blessings diaper bank. Also volunteered as a Literacy Partner with Education Connection and volunteered with Hill Country Community Ministries Food Bank.
Education: Over 100 college credits primarily focused on history, social psychology, and business.
Community Involvement: Served in Horizon International Ministries in California as a worship leader for three Bible study groups that provided resources, food, and clothing to homeless people in the San Diego area.