City and county officials address changes in San Marcos


Photo by Laura Figi

Mayor Hughson addressing the crowd at the State of San Marcos event.

Christopher Green, News Reporter

San Marcos city staff held a public speaker session July 31 where mayor Jane Hughson, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Michael Cardona gave a presentation about changes to be made at the State of San Marcos event.

The occasion was held at the Activity Center, with Mayor Hughson giving the opening speech followed by Becerra. Cardona concluded with speaking on behalf of SMCISD.

The event was held in order for the city to communicate with residents regarding what city council and staff are doing in terms of rapid growth and development in San Marcos.

During her presentation, Hughson said the city council and staff are currently focused on workforce housing, public transport, stormwater management, community partnership and city facilities.

Hughson said two stormwater management partnerships had been replaced due to progress from city staff working toward solutions for the community.

“With the historic flooding in our community, we’re committed to achieving solutions for the collective,” Hughson said. “The city’s efforts led by Director of Engineering and Capital Improvements Laurie Moyer have allowed us to widen our focus with the assurance we have solutions within our sights.”

Hughson said community partnerships had been replaced with successful work from collaboration with Hays County and San Marcos. Hughson said the city will work toward a new council of strategic initiatives.

“Our first initiative has been to develop a plan for workforce housing within our community,” Hughson said. “With our increase in population, we know people are moving here seeking a good job and a place to live. However, our community has a lack of and growing need for affordable and diverse housing options.”

Hughson said the San Marcos City Council, along with city staff, has found a way to address affordable housing needs throughout the community.

“This past year, we created a workforce housing task force made up of 19 community members to develop the strategic action plan focused on meeting the housing needs of current and future residents,” Hughson said.

Additionally, Hughson spoke on new developments coming to San Marcos, such as the S.M.A.R.T. Terminal (San Marcos Air, Rail and Truck).

“This business park will attract corporate tenants who have quality jobs and provide significant capital investment to our community,” Hughson said. “The council and staff worked diligently to negotiate an incentive development agreement to provide for the annexation of property to achieve enhanced development of land use, flood plain and stormwater management standards.”

After Hughson’s speech, Becerra spoke on taxes and working with the San Marcos city staff, along with surrounding counties. Becerra primarily focused on criminal justice reform and inmate outsourcing in Hays County.

In addition, Becerra said he is trying to bring new ideas to Hays County in his role as county judge.

“It is all in the way people are being looked at and handled and the way we’re moving money and interacting with other entities within the county, like the university and the municipalities,” Becerra said. “The more (our community) comes together the better. I don’t think we did as much in the past as we could.”

Becerra said Hays County Commissioners Court plans to pass a grant to help individuals that get arrested.

“We approved a grant process to become a regional hub for Padilla advisors, and what that means is there’s a certain population that, if they plead guilty to a certain crime, the district attorney may set them free,” Becerra said. “Legally, we’re required to provide that advice to people.”

Cardona was the last speaker to take the stage. He took a moment to showcase what the school district is doing well and address the challenges it faces. Cardona said SMCISD is succeeding with working with the city.

Cardona said financing within the school district may be an obstacle to overcome.

“The reality is the change in school finance,” Cardona said. “We are going to have to take a real hard look at how we spend our money and make cuts, but not to teachers. The other issue is increasing kids’ literacy and passing tests. We struggle with reading and math.”

According to Kristy Stark, director of communications for the City of San Marcos, said it has been over a year since the city held a public meeting to speak on challenges and opportunities in San Marcos. City council wants to start holding annual meetings to do so, as it had previously done in the past.

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