COPPERAS COVE — Residents have two choices for one City Council seat in the Nov. 5 election when early voting starts Monday.
Azeita “Z” Taylor, 42, and Marty Smith, 67, are vying for the Place 4 seat currently held by Danny Palmer, who is term limited and ineligible for re-election.
Taylor is a former Copperas Cove Leader-Press editor who joined a number of city organizations, including the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Smith is a former Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce president. She participates in a number of civic organizations and is a past president of Central Texas-Fort Hood AUSA and the USO.
Why are you running for office?
Taylor: “I am running because I love this community, and I have become vested in its interests and its residents since moving here in 2007. I also feel that it is time for Copperas Cove to introduce new faces to its governmental body. I believe I could bring a fresh vantage point to the table. Not introducing new individuals to city government causes a city’s vision to grow stale and stagnant over time, with no true changes being accomplished. Copperas Cove is growing and its government should reflect that growth and diversity.”
Smith: “I have never been on the council, and I will bring a new prospective to the council. I have always been active in every community in which I have lived. I feel honored to be able to give back through public service. I know I can be a great asset to Copperas Cove based on my enthusiasm, drive and experience. My background has been in business (owned and managed two small businesses and worked for one large corporation), city government (involved with running and advising in every community in which I have lived), managed a working ranch for 10 years, and president of Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce for seven years.”
What do you think the biggest issue is facing Copperas Cove?
Taylor: “The biggest issue facing our local government right now is still the reality of a constrained budget and a growing city. Many services that used to accommodate our residents no longer fit the bill. In the past couple of years, we have seen that to be a fact with the immergence of more homes, new bypass projects, new retail development and cuts to city services.”
Smith: “Four issues: High tax rate, lack of new businesses and industry, beautification of Copperas Cove, updating and extending infrastructure.”
How would you suggest addressing that issue?
Taylor: “Honestly, I truly think working closely with the Economic Development Corporation to help find ways to bring in bigger business to our area is a great start; businesses that would pay more than minimum wage and would help to bring in more property tax revenue. Working to retain local businesses, while expanding our retail market, something our EDC does currently, is another way to help bring in revenue to the city. An increase in sales and property tax revenue could help to take some of the burden off the budget and our residents.”
Smith: “We are on the right path now with new businesses opening their doors each month, and our reliever route becoming a reality, Texas A&M-Central Texas is in operation, the medical center at Fort Hood will soon be open, and getting our second runway at our regional airport is definitely moving us closer to a broader tax base with more rooftops and retail. We can only accomplish this by working together as a team. I am committed to help assure that our chamber of commerce and EDC will continue to have the backing to advertise and promote Copperas Cove.”
What is one change you would like to make in the city?
Taylor: “I would like to see our city park refurbished. I believe as the ‘City Built for Family Living’ our parks should be a priority, not only for quality of life for our residents, but for safety sake. Many residents have voiced their concerns on this issue; citing the lack of visual appeal and usability of our park. Others would like to see a small dog park added to the existing sites.”
Smith: “I would like the tax rate to remain stable or if possible lowered. Also I would like to beautify our city. I am very proud of Copperas Cove. I think the city employees are working for the betterment of our city and our city manager is doing an excellent job. However there is one thing I would change immediately if it was possible. Beautifying our city to make it more attractive to visitors to entice new businesses, families, retirees, workers and new citizens to live in Copperas Cove. We have made progress, but I plan a faster progression of positive changes especially now that plans are coming to reality.”
How would you help continue economic and residential growth?
Taylor: “Currently, I sit as vice chairman of our Planning and Zoning Commission, which has been in the process of rezoning our city. As part of that process, we have taken great lengths to merge our current zoning with that of the city’s Future Use Plan. In doing so, we have rezoned several locations to accommodate bigger industry, as well as small business. While at the same time paying close attention to how those changes would affect residential areas.”
Smith: “By working with our city staff, our builders, EDC, chamber of commerce, and our surrounding communities along with our citizens to ensure we as a community promote Copperas Cove to outsiders so they will see the advantages of living, working, going to school and opening businesses in our city. With all the positive movement going on in our city now, we just need to keep the momentum going. The most important point is to keep a very strong and focused city manager, city council and to oversee all the wonderful changes that are coming to our city.”
What do you hope to bring to the council?
Taylor: “Along with my ability to do in-depth research on topics that affect our growing community, I know I will bring diversity to the council. It is good to have a mix of people of varying ages and from varying backgrounds seated in all levels of government. Each person is able to bring with them a differing viewpoint, which helps to represent the community as a whole, not merely just certain groups.”
Smith: “I will listen to our citizens, talk to our city employees, work with our city manager and then bring more discussion to the table at our city council meetings. I will work hand in hand with the other city council members. I will also bring my community involvement as a member of several community organizations, boards and committees to help in getting our issues addressed with other entities and communities. I have a great relationship with our military leaders, with numerous awards from five commanding generals for excellence in leadership and I have received the Fort Hood Good Neighbor Award.”
What do you hope to accomplish in office?
Taylor: “My main objective will be to remember that I am a representative of the residents of Copperas Cove and should be caring for their needs. I would like to set up a ‘neighborhood committee,’ to help address residents’ issues more quickly. Many times, our governmental representatives forget to question the impact they have on the residents who voted them into office. I understand that I would be merely one voice on a council of seven, but I want to be that ‘one voice for the many.’”
Smith: “My main areas of concentration will be holding the line on future tax increases. Beautification of Copperas Cove through enforcing existing ordinances and assuring we continue to attract new businesses and residents to our city. I will help to ensure close cooperation and partnership with Copperas Cove Economic Development, Copperas Cove Independent School District (I am presently a member of the Education Foundation Board), Coryell County Economic Development Board (I am currently the vice president), Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce (past president) and Fort Hood (chamber military liaison and military affairs committee).