• November 25, 2014

Three vying for Cove council seat

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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 11:49 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

COPPERAS COVE — Residents in the city will have their choice of three non-incumbent candidates to serve as their representative on the City Council Place 2.

Mark Peterson

Age: 55, a retired Army sergeant major.

What makes you qualified to serve?

I have knowledge about how a city runs and its important issues. I have served on our city council and have served on volunteer committees, Chairman of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and The Military Affairs Committee, also serving on the Cities Hotel & Motel Tax Committee. I am a member of local service clubs. I have built a great working relationship with the surrounding communities and their leaders. I developed leadership skills in the military and retired with over 29 years of service as a sergeant major. I have always been a cheerleader for our community.

What do you want to accomplish while you are in office?

I want to help us grow in a responsible manner, to encourage economic expansion, to maintain a low tax rate and to keep all of the things that make Copperas Cove such a special place to live, work and play. As we grow we also need to ensure that we exercise fiscal responsibility, attract and retain quality employees to support our growth, and that we are able to serve the citizens of the community. I would like to be a voice for our citizens and a cheerleader for our city (at the local, state and national level.)

What are the largest issues facing the city’s budget?

I think that unfunded mandates from our federal and state government are our biggest issues. They pass the mandates and forget to look at how it affects different communities based on their geographical location, making it very difficult to have a budget that focuses on the services we need to provide to the citizens of our community. Requiring the council to try to figure out how to recover that loss of revenue without raising taxes.

What do you think about Copperas Cove’s growth and future growth?

The future growth of Copperas Cove will be very beneficial to our community. It will bring additional dollars into our general fund allowing the city to provide better police services, fire protection, street maintenance, parks and recreation and emergency medical services. The economic expansion will help maintain a low tax rate for the citizens of our community. It also will allow our citizens to shop Copperas Cove!

What is the biggest issue facing the city?

Our representatives at the federal and state levels continue to pass unfunded mandates and push the cost of these mandates down to the local government. The question becomes how we will pay for these mandates without raising taxes or cutting resources to our community.

How would you work to solve those issues?

As a council member, I would visit our representatives and explain to them that we just cannot continue to absorb these unfunded mandates, along with looking at some creative ways we could fund these mandates without raising the taxes of our citizens. Most importantly, I would encourage all citizens to vote and participate in our local government as well, so when our representatives look at our voting numbers they will be more willing to listen.

Azeita Taylor

Age: 41, a former Copperas Cove Leader Press editor

What makes you qualified to serve?

I could say there are many things that I feel qualify me to be a council member, but the most important is my love for this community. I am currently serving on two committees, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee. Previously, I was the managing editor for a local newspaper in town and gained a considerable amount of knowledge pertaining to city government during that time.  I am also the wife of a retired, disabled Army senior noncommission officer and being that Copperas Cove is so near to Fort Hood, I feel it’s important to have that military background.

What are the largest issues facing the city’s budget?

The biggest issues surrounding the city’s budget have been revenue and unfunded legislative mandates. The combination of sales tax revenues, which have risen but were on a downward slope for some time, and state mandates such as property tax exemptions put a pinch on the city’s revenue pocket. The loss of revenue has caused cutbacks in city services.

What do you want to accomplish while you are in office?

Within my office term, I would like to see the city’s public services expanded. I am motivated to push for refurbishing existing ball fields and/or beginning construction on the phase 1 portion of the Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment. All of which would probably begin closer to the end of my term due to current revenue constraints. I would also like to help implement a discount for those who volunteer their time as volunteer coaches, as a way to say thank you for investing in our youth.

What do you think about Copperas Cove’s growth and future growth?

As I have stated many times before, I truly feel the city is headed in the right direction as far as growth and development are concerned. I believe that the residents of Copperas Cove can look forward to seeing the beginnings of a booming economy within the next few years. New developments such as the Five Hills shopping center, the Narrows Business Park, and the proposed commercial development next to Cinergy Cinemas will help to entice people who do not live in Copperas Cove to come “Find it in Cove and Buy it in Cove.” It will also help to keep Cove dollars in Cove.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing the city?

The biggest issues facing the city right now are budget constraints and the need to expand city services for future growth, which includes “protective services” like the fire and police departments as well as “quality of life” services like the public library and the parks and recreation department.

How would you work to solve those issues?

Working to solve these issues will be a delicate balancing act for the city. However, in saying that, I strongly believe in pushing for progress and new growth in the way of business. I firmly believe that bringing new business to our area is a win-win situation. The revenue generated from the sales and property tax of new business will help to ease the burden on taxpayers as well as the city’s budget; giving the city the means to help pay for the expansion of needed public services like police and fire departments, as well as parks and recreation and library services.

Sandor Vegh

Age: 76, a retired civil servant

What makes you qualified to serve?

I have retired from civil service after 35 years of service, and in 1994 I moved to Copperas Cove. The last 16 years, I have belonged to many civic organizations, including Kiwanis Club, Exchange Club, Optimist Club, Boys and Girls Club, Golf Association, Police Alumni, Fire and Safety Organization. Also I volunteer for the city and have been appointed to several committees. Presently, I serve in the Hotel & Motel Tax Committee and the Planning and Zoning Commission. With the experience and long-term involvement with the city and in the community, I believe I qualify to be a council member.

What are the largest issues facing the city’s budget?

Providing the service without increasing property tax. Keep fee schedules down and budget for infrastructure for new developments.

What do you want to get done while you are in office?

I will work hard to enhance the city image without compromising the small time community feel.

Review the existing tax and fee structure to determine what may be lowered without impacting service.

Increase communications between our citizens and the city.

Open a “non-profit roundtable” session, an opportunity for club members to meet and communicate issues and solutions.

What do you think about Copperas Cove’s growth and future growth?

The Five Hills shopping Center not only brings jobs to the area, but also increases the tax base for the city. The future development will be the 70-plus acre business park south of the new shopping center.

Copperas Cove is growing and the bypass will bring more opportunities to the city to attract new businesses.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing the city?

The largest issue is the voter turn-out. Copperas Cove is the largest city in Coryell County with over 18,000 registered voters, but only about 10-15 percent of the population vote. If we want to be recognized by state and federal representatives we must get out and vote.

The other issue is lower the property tax and the construction of a new fire station.

How would you work to solve those issues?

Education is the key. Folks have to be reminded that voting is not only a privilege, but civic duty.

As for property tax, review the existing  tax and fee structure to determine what may be lowered without impacting the service.

 

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