Transportation, jobs, water are top issues in Commissioner’s race

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By SEAN SHAPIRO

Transportation, jobs and water. In the race for Williamson County Commissioner Precinct 2, those may be the three top issues.

With the growth in Central Texas, all three have become hot-button topics the past couple years, and both Republican Cynthia Long, who has held the position since 2007, and Democratic challenger Eddie Hurst Jr. are harping on those points during their campaigns.

The County Commissioners Court is a group of elected officials in charge of administering county government. In Williamson County, the panel is responsible for budgetary decisions and setting the tax rate.

Long said all three of those crucial factors are intertwined, and she said she has a track record of getting results in those areas for Williamson County residents.

“From the transportation perspective, voters three different times in bond elections have made it clear how important that is,” Long said. “I’ve worked, and plan to continue working to help improve in that area.”

In Liberty Hill, Long said she’s helped with a number of improvements, including CR 214 and the center turn lane on State Highway 29 in front of Liberty Hill High School.

“That is a state road, but we worked to get that improvement done through the county,” Long said. “It’s important that we push to make sure we are helping the community like that.”

In the future, Long said she would like to focus her efforts on CR 200, the intersection at SH 29 and CR 200, as well as working to get a traffic light installed at RR 1869 and US Highway 183.

Hurst did not respond to multiple interview requests from The Independent, but his website lays out a plan for transportation that includes paying current road bonds in full and not using taxpayer dollars to fund future roadwork, bridges or toll projects.

The commissioners court does not have a formal role in the water discussion, but both Hurst and Long want the County to be part of the conversation.

According to his website, Hurst wants an incentivized water catching system that he says will cut taxes for Williamson County residents.

Long said her plan is to make sure she is always part of the conversation to best represent the voters.

“There’s lots of entities in the water arena, I think it’s going to take working with out state delegation,” Long said. “There’s going to have to be some state action, but we need to be in on the conversation to make sure it’s tackled best and done well.”

On the job front, Long said she has worked to help recruit employers to Williamson County. Long said she worked to help the County eliminate the Freeport Exemption Property Tax — a tax on manufacturers.

According to Hurst’s website, if elected he plans on “Increasing their prevailing wage, as well as benefits for all WILCO, employees will ensure a more economically robust economy for our County.”

Long said another issue that residents should take note of is the Endangered Species Act in Central Texas. Long said it’s important that the position works closely on that facet to make sure growth and business is not halted by species getting labeled as endangered.

“It has a huge impact on economic development,” she said. “We have to be vigilant and make sure we are tracking that and making sure we’re not hurting our growth.”

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