Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bev Earl 2008 Interview Township Director Woodlands Texas

Candidate Written Interview

1. What specifically do you personally expect to get out of being on the Township Board?

I have lived in The Woodlands for 18 years now and love it here. The most important thing to me is keeping this community a safe and healthy environment in which residents and businesses can grow and prosper.

2. What are the primary resident values that you will use to prioritize your decision making for the villages?

See answer to Question 3

3. What are the primary commercial values you will use to prioritize your decision making for the business community?

I do not believe we have to separate resident and commercial values. We all value what The Woodlands provides for all of us. For instance, I have lived here for 18 years and owned a business here for 11 and have worked and volunteered in the community to make sure both groups have an excellent quality of life. There is a balance that needs to be maintained and I will work hard to make sure that balance continues.

4. Do you believe that resident issues or commercial interests are going to be your biggest challenge?

There are always going to be issues balancing interests of various groups, but I am not anticipating the resident issues being bigger than the commercial issues or vice-versa. Without residents we would have no businesses thriving in our community, and without business our residents will not have the quality of life we all know and love. We have built a beautiful community that is home to businesses that are full of residents working together to make this a better place to live. I will work hard to make sure The Woodlands continues to be a great place to live, work, play and stay!

5. What is your position on the future government of The Woodlands? For example, do you support incorporation?

I believe we have to take a good hard look at incorporation and study it very carefully to make sure it is the right thing to do. There are pros and cons to various options and we will have to weigh those to decide which way to go. Bottom line is the residents are the ones who will decide and it is the job of the directors to fully analyze and study the possibilities and present them to residents to be able to make an informed decision. It is something we need to start studying right away as this will not and should not be an easy decision.

6. What is your view of the relationship between the associations and the Township during and after transition?

In the interest of efficiency and minimizing the costs of providing governmental-type services, as we merge the many entities that currently work together, I do not see a huge difference in how people in our community interact. We are all working toward the same goal merging into one governing body. The need for the services and the people to provide those services is still there. We will continue to work hard to make the transition as smooth as possible. I am sure there will bumps in the road, but my experience in this community is we work together to make things as smooth as possible and I expect that to continue.

7. What is your vision of maintenance services for the community in the transition and afterwards?

I do not believe the maintenance services will change significantly and hopefully if they do change they will improve. We all love how The Woodlands looks and feels and as the transition happens, we will make sure it is still the hometown we are all accustomed to.

8. What is your vision of the associations’ role in the future of The Woodlands?

I support the Village Associations’ role in the future and would support the continued financial support given by the Community Associations. Both organizations have a wealth of experience, expertise and talent. The trash gets picked up, the parks are impeccable, the fires are put out, the covenants are enforced, and plans are approved. It is this kind of teamwork and dedication that has made The Woodlands Township what it is today. It is essential these services continue and continue to improve.

9. What changes would you like to see from our fire department over the next two years?

I believe we have one of the most talented and professional fire departments in the country. With our sixth fire station and a training academy under construction, I would expect to see our fire department continue to grow in skill and professionalism. As our community continues to develop unique features such as the Woodlands Waterway and other unique features, our fire department will continue to need additional apparatus and training, and the Township will provide the mechanism and funding sources to assure that they have the resources to do so.

10. What are your ideas and vision for the tax structure for residents and businesses here?

This has already been decided by the voters last November. Our current community association property assessment taxes will be replaced dollar for dollar by an ad valorem tax that will now be deductible on your Federal Income taxes while the current assessment fees are not. In addition, the tax rate will be less than current rates as it will be supplemented by sales tax paid by everyone who makes taxable purchases within The Woodlands Township (which is a significant source of additional funding from people who are not residents here, but visit, shop and enjoy our amenities).

11. What is your position on the parks, trees and amenities provided throughout The Woodlands? Also please add any relative comments on the development of the Village of Creekside Park?

What we have in The Woodlands as far as parks, trees, amenities is what brought you and me here and what keeps us here. It is absolutely essential that we keep, properly maintain and plan for the future of the trees and the parks and the green belts. The biggest reason I moved to The Woodlands was because of the trees and the natural environment of our community. Creekside Park is already developing into a wonderful addition to our community, and I do not see Creekside Park as being any different than any other part of The Woodlands. We will partner with Harris County and the Tomball and Klein Schools to make it one of the best areas of their county as well.

12. If you have any additional statements you believe residents or storeowners should hear reflecting your personal commitment to their welfare, please try to enumerate in 50 words or less.

I have proven that I am an effective leader in this community for years. I have raised 4 kids in this community who now live and work here and I have a grandson living in The Woodlands who I want to have the best life has to give him. I have great political instincts and boundless energy. I have no agenda other than to make this community the best it can be. I hope you will vote for me on May 10th!

Candidate verbal interview

1. Team role: What special roles do you see yourself playing on the 7-member board after May 2010 or 11-member board prior to 2010?

I bring good negotiation skills to the table. I am a very good listener, see clearly, and act fairly and am respected for my opinions. I will listen and collect needed information from residents in order to represent them. I will use these skills in my role on the board before and after 2010.

2. Village businesses: Do you see any differences in the opportunities of the businesses in the villages over the next two years as a result of the territorial expansion of TCID into the now Woodlands Township?

I see great opportunities! We are being recognized nationally and internationally, and those businesses will share that recognition. In the Township, we need to do a good job in making that business community aware of their opportunities. The additional sales tax should not be an issue for them. Many people are accustomed to paying the full sales tax. Village businesses have a lot to offer, and there are great opportunities to market themselves better. Take the Panther Creek Merchant Association for example. The sky is the limit. The Township can promote their businesses alongside of those in Town Center. We are not just the Town Center anymore; we must be marketing businesses in the Township as a whole. I will make sure those businesses know what their opportunities are. We must promote small, medium and large businesses. “It is not easy for a small business to make it. It takes a village to promote everybody. (laugh) I love this (support for one another) about The Woodlands!”

3. Financial: During the next three years, are there financial risks, which you anticipate, that we will need to help mitigate issues for the more mature villages, especially in this economically stressed era?

A tough question. We do have standards and must watch for the upkeep (of the villages). As long as we have the associations in place, and we do need them, we won’t have a financial risk; but we will have to allocate funds according to need, which will ultimately benefit The Woodlands as a whole. We must have a credible maintenance plan, especially for common areas. We need to keep the RDRC’s active. “I do not see this as a risk but a responsibility.” Grogan’s Mill is the first village needing special allocation funds, and Panther Creek will be next. The future risk would exist only if we the residents do not sufficiently maintain the villages. “If it needs repair, repair it!” That philosophy applies to our villages just like it applies to our homes and cars.

4. Village tourism: recently there has been some indication that the villages may be part of the Township tourism business. Can you elaborate on where you think we are going with tourism? Maybe you could also comment on this from the traffic congestion perspective.

A Double Edge Sword – tourism is great but along with tourism comes more people and traffic. We need to have a future plan to develop alternative means of transportation starting with something as simple as bike racks for people who want to ride into Town Center and have a place to lock up their bikes. We need to take a look at mass transportation such as buses that reach into the Villages. This will eliminate so many cars to find parking places. This will also allow us to travel from Village to Village and Town Center at a much lower cost.

I have lived in seven communities in 4 states and traffic issues always seem to run behind growth in every one of them

Campaign Website: Go to "Elect Bev Earl for Township Director" web site
Campaign Email: Send email to Bev's campaign mailbox

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