Rundzieher running on experience
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Seeking her ninth term on the Liberty Hill City Council, Liz Rundzieher says her years of experience and understanding of the City’s journey to reach this point is part of what makes her the right choice to continue serving in Place 5.
The other part is how much she enjoys serving the community.
“Many times we have looked back and said ‘Well isn’t that right, Liz?” she said. “I don’t consider that an essential part of it, but I really enjoy being on the Council and trying – because I’m only one vote – to do what the citizens of Liberty Hill want.”
Citing examples such as her recent effort to see the frustrations of commuters through downtown in early morning traffic, Rundzieher said she is focused on responding to the needs of the community.
“I try to vote the way I think the people in Liberty Hill would want,” she said.
Transportation issues have been a key part of Council actions in the last few years, and she is not shy about expressing her likes and dislikes regarding changes and upcoming projects.
She has recently advocated for adjustments to the one-way streets plan downtown, and is not a supporter of the roundabout project.
“I don’t feel it is going to help traffic any,” Rundzieher said of the roundabout plan. “Everybody keeps saying it is going to go smoother, but if it goes smoother through there it is still going to get jammed up at 1869.”
She would prefer a four-way stop or a signal light at the intersection.
“I think we’re spending a lot of money on that, which could be better used on other projects,” she said.
As far as the backups downtown today, Rundzieher said most of the changes in the one-way streets plan are necessary due to the narrow roads, but she believes something should be done to help the congestion.
“There are people always complaining about 1869 and the Loop because there are just stop signs there,” she said. “I was up there Monday a week ago and it was horrendous, and I can understand why they’re complaining. It’s still the best choice we had because you can’t widen the roads because of people’s yards.”
In the bigger picture, she generally supports the overall transportation plan, but wants to see things taken on at a slower pace.
“I don’t think we need to do it all right now,” she said. “Like with Stubblefield. Yes, we need another road going into town, but for what they’re planning with that it’s not going to be downtown that much and they’re wanting to go down CR 279, almost to the bridge I think. To me they are getting too many capital improvement projects going instead of working on one and when we get it almost finished going to another one.”
The parks and community enhancement projects taken on by the City are important to Rundzieher, who sees them as a way to retain the character and history of Liberty Hill.
“The Fowler Building, I can’t wait to see it like it was when I moved up here 47 years ago. It was a beautiful building. This is so my grandkids or my great grandkids will have something to look on and say ‘that building is older than grandma is’,” she said laughing.
Raising the tax rate is not something Rundzieher supports, and she would like to see the City bear less of the burden in other areas as well.
“I was for keeping it where it was,” she said of the tax rate. “Valuations are going up, that means the amount you pay is going to go up, so leaving it where it was, to me, is the best solution.”
Recently, she voted against the water rate increase because she feels like some long-time residents in Liberty Hill are being priced out of the community.
“I understand that there needs to be money put aside for the future when we need to do work on it,” Rundzieher said. “But the wastewater treatment plant, we have all these MUDS and outside areas coming in and using it, but then they expect the City to have their rates raised so they can come in and build another plant. I’m all for the people outside having sewer service, but I don’t like the idea of the City having to foot so much of the bill.”
The developments going in all around Liberty Hill are ones Rundzieher believes should be annexed as the community grows. Rundzieher has been watching Liberty Hill grow for a long time and it is a tricky situation for her.
“If you plan for it correctly, then it’s good,” she said. “If they are in town, like Liberty Parke, that’s good. Rosemont is great. Most of the growth we’re getting now is in the ETJ.”
Though she favors annexation and wants to defend those paying City taxes, Rundzieher said she doesn’t want to forget those outside the City who are impacted by what the Council does.
“But just because they don’t live in the city limits and don’t pay city taxes, I don’t feel that we need to just ignore them,” she said.
Rundzieher has been vocal about business growth, worrying that too many of particular businesses – such as storage units and convenience stores – are coming in, but she believes that the Economic Development Corporation is working hard at attracting other types of businesses to the area as well.
“They do their surveys,” she said. “They should be able to tell if they are going to make it or not. They give people in the area job opportunities so that I’m all for.”
A strong supporter of the police department, Rundzieher said more staffing is needed there.
“Right now they can’t even take vacations because they have enough people to fill their shifts but there are no extras,” she said. “I think that Maverick (Campbell) is a very intelligent chief and he doesn’t ask for things he doesn’t really need. I don’t know how to run a police department. That’s why I was very happy when he was voted in. I think he has been a boon to Liberty Hill.
“If he says he needs something, and gives a good reason for it, then I think it should be done. I’ve always supported the police department.”
Looking ahead to the election, and her goal of being a responsive representative on the Council, Rundzieher hopes to hear more from the community.
“People gripe amongst themselves, but they won’t step forward and tell us what they’re feeling,” she said. “It is irritating when you have a public hearing and you open it and there is nobody there to speak out or for it or anything else. Instead of putting it on Facebook, why don’t people call one of the Council members or call City Hall and say something, or come to the meetings and say something?”
And on Election Day, don’t stay home.
“Get out and vote,” she said. “That’s where the decisions are made. Don’t think just because this person or that person is very well liked and everyone is going to vote for that person, because then nobody goes and votes.”