Election Q&A: Pearland Mayor

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Pearland Mayor

Quentin Wiltz

Occupation: director for oil and gas pipeline coatings firm

Experience: executive leadership experience; interpreted data to reduce spending; professional management training; 13 years living and working in the Pearland community

Contact: www.wiltzformayor.com

Why did you choose to run for the position?

QW: In 2017, I was within 500 votes of bringing a fresh new vision to Pearland as a candidate for mayor. Pearlanders face significant challenges in the 21st century-growing our local economy in a global market to help reduce the debt and tax burden, creating opportunities for local businesses to create jobs, safeguarding against global pandemics like COVID-19, ensuring the safety of our children and families, creating a more inclusive community with regards to race and culture, political divisiveness permeating our local communities, expanding access of mobility of our residents to the Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston and grappling with local effects of climate change. I believe my executive leadership, business experience and professional training equip me with the tools necessary to lead Houston's most diverse suburb in today's challenging global economy.

With a limited budget, what do you think should be the priorities in the city?

QW: As mayor, I will use my business expertise to limit any financial risks involved in oversight of the capital projects identified. Additionally, I will work to secure outside funding to offset budget constraints. In order to successfully move council forward on any initiative, I will work to build consensus with council. With this being one of the most politically charged and divisive elections in our nation's history, I will work to gather input from our residents to put our most pressing concerns on the agenda to help prioritize spending and future investments. I plan to effectively use funding mechanisms available through the Pearland Economic Development Corp. The success of our local businesses play an important role in our immediate recovery and quality of life for Pearland residents.

How has COVID-19 affected the priorities for the city?

QW: The most important priority for our local government moving forward will be maintaining communication with Pearlanders and ensuring transparency. As mayor, my priority will be the health and safety of our residents. Given the powers, role, and responsibilities of the mayor as defined by the charter, I will continue to reinforce scientific data and work to prioritize resources to establish effective communication with local businesses, schools, and residents to ensure adequate COVID testing, wearing of face coverings and working with county health officials to minimize the effects of the current COVID outbreak. This will help both our local business economy and schools. If elected, I'll work to establish proper controls to mitigate against looming financial recession directly resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you were to become mayor, what would be one thing you would want to most want to change or improve about Pearland? What is the one thing you most want to preserve?

QW: As a father and husband, I'm proud to be raising my family in Pearland. Over the last 20 years, Pearland has experienced tremendous growth in population and has become one of the most diverse suburbs in the Houston region and perhaps the state. As mayor, I plan to eliminate the perpetuation of MUD taxes and their burden on residents. I commit to improving our economic position in the region by growing our economy and utilizing the highly trained and educated workforce that resides here. This would change the perception that Pearland is a "bedroom community," further create opportunities for our children and ensure we have the economic resources needed to adequately fund our police and fire departments while creating the quality of life we demand. Pearland is uniquely positioned in proximity to Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and a diverse city with the most advanced medical center in the country. While I remain committed to preserving the proud heritage of calling Pearland home, we must also realize that another important aspect of "home" is that it is also a place where you want to return. As mayor, I believe creating a more diverse economic tax base and creating initiatives that provide opportunities for a more inclusive community will create a Pearland we're all proud to continue to call home.

Kevin Cole

Occupation: real estate developer

Experience: consultant; previously served on City Council and the Pearland Planning and Zoning Commission; founder of the Greater 288 Partnership; Pearland Chamber of Commerce member

Contact: 832-212-9460; www.coleforpearland.com

Why did you choose to run for the position?

KC: People have moved to Pearland for decades now because of the quality of schools, quality of life, and the great sense of community. I want to keep the same opportunities that I had growing up in Pearland for all of our kids and grandchildren. I want to keep Pearland the community of choice in the Houston area to live, work, play and pray.

With a limited budget, what do you think should be the priorities in the city?

KC: We must put a priority on long-term debt and lowering property taxes. The amount of debt is not sustainable, and we must work to lower it because it impacts how we address the operations of the city. I believe the first priority of our city is protection. We must maintain a properly funded police, fire and EMS staff. In addition, we must do what we can to maintain property values of our homeowners through proper development standards and active flood control. Next is maintenance of the infrastructure we have in place-for example, street and sidewalk repair. Last but not least is diversifying our tax base by attracting high-paying jobs and quality companies to call Pearland home.

How has COVID-19 affected the priorities for the city?

KC: COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on both people and businesses in Pearland. Our unemployment rate has increased and citizens' ability to pay their mortgages has been put into jeopardy. This will have a long-term effect on property values and sales tax. The city has to work with our county and state partners to have quality health care options for everyone, especially those most at risk for the virus. Additionally, the city budget needs to be scrutinized to reduce spending as the potential for revenue declines.

If you were to become mayor, what would be one thing you would want to most want to change or improve about Pearland? What is the one thing you most want to preserve?

KC: As mayor, I will work to change the divisions in our city and bring unity across the lines that divide us. The diversity we enjoy is a strength and we need to capitalize on this strength. I believe this is done through active engagement with the whole city and making myself available to everyone in Pearland. The leader of the city must do just that: lead. As mayor, I am wanting to be a bridge-builder and bring our city together. I will make the effort to reach out to any group willing to discuss our city and the issues we face. My plan is to have four mayoral town halls each year. One in each of the quadrants of the city each quarter. In addition to this, I want to make sure our great sense of community is preserved. As we grow large, we must also grow small and keep the small-town feel we all enjoy. By taking care of each other's needs, we can accomplish this. Our churches and charity organizations are vital to making this happen.

Candidate responses have been edited for length and clarity.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers