Election Guide: Jeff Austin for City Council Ward 1

Published 10:43 am Friday, October 29, 2010

Jeff Ellis is the incumbent candidate for City Council Ward 1

Q. If, as expected, the state reduces financial aid to cities, it might mean less money for Austin. What city programs or services would you recommend cutting to reduce Austin’s overall expenditures?
A. The Council has identified several capital improvement projects that would be delayed in the event that we do not receive the certified amount of Local Government Aid (LGA) that we are budgeting to receive.

Q. How do you plan to promote job creation and employment growth as a member of the city council?

A. Continue to be active in touting Austin as a place to do business and live. Also, I will work to make sure that we make the process as simple as possible for businesses to locate or expand in Austin.

Q. The city council has been faulted  for getting too involved in management of some city departments, specifically the police and fire departments. What do you think the council’s role should be in providing oversight of those and other city operations?

A. The Council’s role is to hire the right people to be our department heads and let those people do their jobs. We need to review their performance from time to time and make sure that they are running their departments properly. We need to make sure we provide our department heads with the tools that they need to run their departments. If we do this and the department head is not successful then we would need to look at replacing that department head. We do not need to micro-manage or get involved in the day to day operation of the department.

Q. Austin was recently awarded a $5 million grant for flood mitigation. Other than the projects this grant will fund, do you have any ideas for future flood mitigation projects? If so, what are they?
A. I think that the City, led by Jon Erichson and the Engineering Department, has laid out a very good plan for mitigating the effects of flood events. I think as we get the project done that is funded by this grant, we will need to continue to evaluate what we have done and what more can be done and work to do whatever we can to mitigate any damage done during a flood event. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to plan for and be prepared for a flood event when we see the type of rainfall that occurred this year and in 2004.

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Q. Why do you believe you are the best choice to represent Austin on the city council?
A. I believe that I am the best choice to represent the First Ward on the Council because of my experience on the Council. I also bring my business background and life experience to the Council.