Thursday, April 10, 2008

Peggy Hausman 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?

Mitch and I moved to The Woodlands in 1981 and raised our family here in the dream of The Woodlands. I would like to have my sons have the opportunity to move back here in a safe community so they can raise their families here.

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

Safety, financial responsibility, accountability for my decision and sound judgement.

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

Economic growth, balance between residential concerns and business concerns. Can't a neighborhood live, work and play together in balance?

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

Residential to a larger degree then commercial because we still are not a city with full ordinance-making authority, and we still rely on the constable and sheriff’s department for security.

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

I think we need to look at all options. I do favor incorporation. The residents spoke out loud and clear during the governance process. They want to be the master of their our destiny. We need to employ our own law enforcement departments, have governmental control over ordinance making authority and to be able to set up our own court system.

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

Sitting on both sides of the table watching the Township and the associations, I can tell you it was strained at times. The township did everything possible to accommodate the associations during the transfer of power.

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

It needs to be monitored and watched closely to make sure the quality of services do not start to slide. Many areas need to be updated as well as repairs made to older parks and pools. We need to maintain all the areas of The Woodlands, not just the new ones.

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

According to the transition agreement that was negotiated, the associations will start to go away starting in 2010 and after………

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

Central station in Grogan’s Mill needs an entire overhaul….

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

Starting April 1, 2008 a two-cent sales tax will go into effect. From there we need to drop assessments accordingly. The WCA needs to return its surplus to the residents of the association and monitor the debt of the TWA prior to setting a flat tax rate over the whole Woodlands.

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?

We need to preserve as many amenities as possible in The Woodlands. After all, we moved here because of the amenities. We need to make sure that older areas receive the same treatment on redevelopment as the new parks receive.

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.

My primary goal has always been to be a dedicated partner to my husband of 30 years, Mitch, and to be a nurturing full-time mother to my two sons, Nick and Patrick. But, I also always find time to serve my community. I have been an unpaid community volunteer for more than 25 years serving home-based groups like the PTA, the YMCA, Boy Scouts, and the Food Bank to name a few. In 1999 I was selected as one of the original 25 Hometown Heroes for The Woodlands. I was also elected to the board and served as president of the Woodlands Community Association (WCA). And later, I was elected to the Municipal Utility District (MUD) #40 board of directors. I think my experience in the day-to-day operation of our complex “alphabet soup” community is best illustrated by my work as a member and chairman of The Woodlands Community Service Corporation (WCSC) in planning and overseeing many of our community’s basic services. My interest in economic development is expressed in my service on the Town Center Improvement District (TCID) board and as vice-chair of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. I now will volunteer to serve again in the same role, if elected at-large by The Woodlands Township residents in May of this year. I promise to be a model for what I have called upon the new board to always be “Responsible and Accountable!” In other words, my pledge is to walk my talk.

Candidate verbal interview>

1. Style: You ask some interesting and revealing questions from your current seat on the Township board. Would you give us some insight into how you prepare for the meetings and what motivates you to be inquisitive at them?

I receive the packages on Friday evening for the Wednesday morning board meeting. That gives me time to call my sources of support information such as the General Manager of the Woodlands Service Corporation. For example, if there is something on the agenda about building parks, I may need to know the ratio of residents to parks to be able to understand the funding required for growth. That information I will obtain before the meeting on Wednesday.

2. Experience: Your tenure on the MUD board is impressive. What were the most challenging tasks you feel you faced there and what do you consider your most valuable learning from that experience?

In MUD 40, we have one of the lowest tax rates of the districts, with Grogan’s Mill right with us. I voted against the tiered system because I believe people will not be impacted by such low financial consequences. The price must be much higher to impact water usage. I do not believe this will deter people from watering their yards or putting in additional hardware to reduce usage. I learned that common sense is the best tool for governing. The money we take from the public belongs to the public. If surplus sits in the bank, the public will know how to manage it better than us. The residents are willing to pay for what they need but not more. The public generally does not know the rates of other districts and the larger picture when it comes to water. For that and many other reasons, I would like to see a central repository of information, a one stop shopping information center similar to the City of Houston.

1. Opinion: In 2010, the number of directors drops to seven. How do you think the board will be able to handle the workload with only seven members

This can work! There has to be a blanket placed over the village associations so that the processes become part of those of the Township. I am thinking that two Township directors would be partners as representatives for one village. At least one of the two would always attend the village association meeting. Directors need to be at villages’ events and meetings. This will become more and more important as time marches on to 2010. Some level of participation is needed for directors to be a part of the community. We must be part of the hometown, having the heart and soul of the community and not have a political agenda in what we do.

4. Fire Department: Would you explain what you mean by central station needs an overhaul?

The fire station in Grogan’s Mill is old. It was built for local firefighting. It is now expected to serve much more as a central fire station for The Woodlands. Next to it is an empty county building that appears to no longer be needed by the county. We face an immediate opportunity to acquire that space, knock down the entire complex and finish the construction of a new central station to be what it needs to be, a response service for Grogan’s Mill and the central station for the entire community. Those 25 years of serving Grogan’s Mill has been accomplished. Now we should take this unique opportunity and build a new station for our future while we can.

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