Candidates in contested Council race share priorities, offer solutions

As early voting begins Monday in local school board and city council elections, candidates in Liberty Hill’s only contested council race recently provided written responses to questions by The Independent regarding various issues.

In Place 3, an open seat vacated by former Council member Byron Tippie, candidates Elizabeth Branigan and Rodney Ingram are seeking election. Ms. Branigan is a registered nurse and Ingram lists his occupation as disabled. Their campaign announcements appeared in a previous edition of the newspaper.


LHI: With all of the divisiveness within the city and on the current council, what will you do as an elected official to mend fences and strengthen relationships?

BRANIGAN: A free society functions best when there is open and honest exchange of ideas, presented in discussion and debate. In order for this to happen, all participants should treat each other with respect and fully consider each other’s point of view. This includes members of the city council. The best solution to any question comes when all available ideas have been thoroughly considered.

INGRAM: First the relationships between the current council members need to be mended so that everyone concerned can work together for the good of the residents of Liberty Hill. I feel that there is a lot of opinions on spending tax revenue dollars. We need to put priority on items that need to be addressed now. And I would like to strengthen relationships between the current members by trying to point out the pros and cons on whatever issues may arise.


LHI: What leadership and educational experiences have prepared you for the role of city council member?

BRANIGAN: As every civic minded citizen does, I have maintained current knowledge of national and local politics. As most rural Texans do, I have a working knowledge of pumps and septic tanks,  knowing when to seek the advice of experts and engineers. I have been blessed with a happy and successful life, participating fully in church and community affairs. As a professional, I have functioned in groups and teams responding to every situation from influenza outbreaks to ice storms to local disasters. Most importantly I am willing to seek out knowledge of whatever topic is important to the city. It will be my pledge to the comunity I serve that I will never arrive unprepared, or vote uninformed. I will listen to all points of view before making any decision.

INGRAM: As far as my experience in leadership, I have 6 kids. “Need I say more?” Just kidding. I served as a board member for the Southeast Travis County Fire District for many years and as a member I had to put priority on issues and purchasing items that directly affected the tax paying public that we as volunteer firefighters served. I also had various jobs that I was in charge of many other people one of which I served as a branch manager for an armored car company. So in the role of city council member I am prepared to step up and serve a leader when it comes to our public.


LHI: What is your vision for the City of Liberty Hill, and what goals have you set for yourself as a council member to help city government move in that direction?

BRANIGAN: Liberty Hill is a unique, pleasant place to both live and work.  It should continue to be so. We should continue to be centered on our families and focused on our children. We should as a community continue to support the arts, for example the sculpture garden. We should continue to support wholesome outdoor sports, for example the bike races. We should be respectful of our citizens, not burdening them with excessive taxes or restrictions.

INGRAM: I want to see Liberty Hill become more business friendly and to see what I can do to redo the documentation and requirements business need to open their doors. I have spoken to several people that wanted to add to their existing businesses, but between the red tape and the cost for the permits they feel defeated and they just give up.


LHI: What ideas do you have to help grow the business community?

BRANIGAN: The business comunity will best flourish in a supportive environment. Basic needs of new businesses should be met. Water resources should be adequate to their needs. Roads in good repair should make their sites accessible. Careful planning should be done to recruit the types of businesses that  will succeed here.

INGRAM: We need to bring more businesses to Liberty Hill, but we need to take care of the business that we have, they just want to thrive and prosper. Plus I am not in favor of higher taxes. To grow the business community we need to make it a lot more simpler and quicker to let people open their doors. I would also love to see the community get behind business that want to open up in downtown Liberty Hill and lets revitalize our small town feel, and get our community to shop local.


LHI: Water customers of the City of Liberty Hill have been prohibited from outdoor watering for two years. What do you believe city government should be doing about water shortages?

BRANIGAN: Our city government should be seeking sources of surface water to augment our ground water supply.  We could purchase this water or work in cooperation with other localities to meet our common needs. Other cities use this approach.

INGRAM: Our  city needs to look into long term solutions into our water problem. One possibility is to see if tapping into a line from Leander, see what the long term supply would be and what would be the cost. We are going to see more business come out to our area and I want to see us reap the rewards, We are in the fastest growing area in the state. We need to look to other cities or look to making more sites for new wells.


LHI: There has been much discussion about how best to spend city revenues. What do you believe the city’s spending priorities should be as the council prepares to consider the budget for the 2013 fiscal year?

BRANIGAN: Before discussing spending I will become thoroughly familiar with the city’s budget and needs. I believe that sound fiscal management will be key to reducing the tax burden on our citizens.

INGRAM: I would love to see the city make water supply a priority as well as making Liberty Hill more business appealing. We need to{sic}tax dollars so that we can pay for the 80 something millions of dollars that went to the schools. We need to make things priority. We cannot spend money on things we don’t need. We need to get Liberty Hill a City Manager. We need to look at business here in our city for what we need. Why do we need to spend money outside our town when we have people right here that would love to put money back in our community? I feel that Liberty Hill is going to be a major player in growth in Williamson County and I want to see us be more appealing to people.