Community Crossroads: Chad Austin Hall

Community Crossroads host Carolina Astrain interviews Chad Austin Hall, one of five candidates running for the District 3 seat on Victoria City Council.

VICTORIA, Texas – Community Crossroads host Carolina Astrain interviews Chad Austin Hall, one of five candidates running for the District 3 seat on Victoria City Council.

The following is a transcript from the show:

Carolina Astrain: Welcome back to this week’s episode, we meet candidates for the District 3 seat on the Victoria City Council. And a reminder Tuesday is the last day for early voting. And there are extended hours, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. So if you have plans to be out of town for the 4th of July holiday weekend, be sure to cast your vote before 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and we’ll have full coverage of election day on July 3rd, I’ll be at the anchor desk. All right, now we go to our next guest, Mr. Chad Austin Hall, who is running for the District 3 seat. Chad, welcome to Community Crossroads.

Chad Austin Hall: Thank you for having me.

Astrain: Talk to us about what would you want to achieve during your first term in office?

Hall: I think that anytime you start a new job, the thing that’s the most important from the beginning is to learn, to listen and learn, listen with intent. And we’ve been doing a lot of that as we were able to go by and visit with constituents in district three. Some of the things that I’m hearing for them of course, streets are a major concern. The cleanliness of the city, they talked to us a lot about, uh, property tax appraisals and our property taxes. So I think that my first goal would be to actually go in, be humble and learn everything I can about the way that it works in the city and be a good representative and a bridge between the city and the constituents who live in District 3.

Astrain: Excellent. And, once the duck pond is back, what is your vision for all the city parks?

Hall: I like for us to take any kind of allocated money that we have for expansions and actually put that into our existing parks, beyond the duck pond. I believe that Riverside Park is the crown jewel of our park system, and it’s the one that we actually market to the surrounding counties, um, as our regional park. So I’d like to see us take any kind of effort that we have allocated and put that all into developing things there. The city has done a very good job with trying to reach out with surveys and get input and that’s all on their website to see, and actually on our website. I did a small video based on our vision for the parks.

Astrain: And speaking of the parks, the parks were hit. Riverside Park in particular was hit really hard during Hurricane Harvey. What would you have done differently? Emergency preparedness wise in the event of severe weather, such as Harvey.

Hall: You bet, disaster resiliency is a major issue for Victoria. One of the things that we’re pointing out as we visit with folks, we live in an aging city. Sixty-two percent of all of our homes were built before 1979. And nowadays it seems like anytime there’s just a simple thunderstorm that comes through on the weekend. The question that we all ask isn’t if, but when is the power going to go out? So beyond Riverside Park, which frankly is in a flood plain, we have to worry more about the homes that we have here in our infrastructure. That’s aging, and try to build that up. I’m on the board of directors for Habitat For Humanity, and still one of the major things that we’re doing. We’re still helping people replace roofs and work on their homes from the damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Astrain: And speaking of which you brought us something to share.

Hall: I did. Thank you. So we’re talking a lot about the way that we’re generating our revenue. And right now, if you look at this red line, this is our sales tax line, and it’ll show you what the economy looks like when we’re doing good it’s up, but when we’re doing bad, it’s down, but at this blue line, our property tax appraisals, the way that we’re generating revenue keeps going up without regard of what the rest of us are looking at. So the problem with this, trying to keep our people here in Victoria is a major concern for us. We hate that when people come in, do they get a year or two of experience, they leave to make another community better. So we’re trying to do what we can to exert influence that, keep people here. And I think that really starts with housing affordability. If you have a home that you can find odds are it’s, it’s older than 40 years, property taxes are going to be too high. The mortgage payment, the median, or the median price for a home is $207,000. Right now that’s going to be high. Then you have maintenance costs on top of it. So it gets really tough for people to actually put roots here because they can’t afford houses.

Astrain: And how could the city council impact that?

Hall: How can they, you bet. Sometimes I think that when it comes to government, especially local government, one of the best things that we can do is just get out of the way. Sometimes there’s too much red tape. We want to have businesses that come in to do certain things like building a sidewalk where there’s no foot traffic or we put restrictions on home builders. And I think that sometimes to incentivize people to come in, the best thing to do for us is simply getting out of the way and coming from a business background, I think experience really matters here, experience knowing what it’s like to cut through red tape work with big budgets and try to make developments. Sometimes we just need to get out of the way.

Astrain: And what about the pandemic? What would you have done differently as far as the collaboration efforts between the city and the county?

Hall: I think that during the pandemic, our leaders did a very good job for us. It’s really tough to have to make decisions like that on the fly when everything’s on fire and with the pandemic. Yes, we could have pandemic plans out there that we can take a look at contingency plans, but none of us were prepared for shutting down the whole world for a year. It’s just tough. So communication is key. I think that the employees who work in the city do a great job. They really love their jobs and the county, but it’s not just up to them. More people in our community have to get involved and help out. This is our city. We can’t wait for people that work in the city or county to serve us. We need to get involved and build a better Victoria together.

Astrain: And it may be that could include dog parks or I don’t know, we have a big loose dog problem in the city right now. I know this morning I had to wait to get out of my car. Cause there was a dog who just waiting to greet me. I don’t know if it was going to be friendly or not.

Hall: This is one of the top things that people want in our community when the city surveyed, what would you like to see with our park system? And I encourage people to go to the city’s website and check it out. So dog parks are right at the top. And again, on my website, ChadForVictoria.com, we did a video on parks and rec and, and you’ll love it because my daughter, Georgia, 10 years old also wants to get more. So she did a schematic of what a dog park could actually look like. And we included that in the video.

Astrain: I’ll have to go check that out. Thank you so much for taking the time to be on Community Crossroads. You bet. All right. And coming up, we want to remind you of some important voting deadlines and dates. And also we give you a look at next week’s show don’t go anywhere.

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