CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Cedar Park will have a new mayor after the May 7 election.
Jim Penniman-Morin, Mike Guevara and Claudia Chavez are all running for the open seat after incumbent mayor Corbin Van Arsdale announced he would not seek reelection.
Penniman-Morin, a current council member and business attorney, said his goal is to continue as a great place to live, work and grow a business.
“I think we’ve got a good thing going and we should keep it that way,” Penniman-Morin said.
He said his lifelong experiences, including becoming an Eagle Scout, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and working as a tech startup lawyer, has taught him how to work with people of all backgrounds and perspectives to unite the city.
“That’s the beauty of local government, it doesn’t need to be about one side or the other. It’s about all of us moving forward together,”
Guevara, a former Cedar Park council member and an attorney for 15 other municipalities, said one of his goals is sustainable development since the city is mostly built out with few remaining properties left. He said sustainable development means making sure the developers are bringing in more resources than they are using.
“Those things need to be looked at so that we make sure that 25 years from now, 40 years from now that development is sustainable within the city,” Guevara said.
As a Cedar Park business owner himself, Guevara said he also wants Cedar Park to continue in a pro-business direction.
“They give so much to the community. They create jobs. The people that work here are going to shop here, they’re going to eat here, and that boosts our retail businesses that are in town,” Guevara said.
Chavez, a homeschool teacher, said one of her goals is to reduce taxes as much as possible for Cedar Park residents to prevent families from being taxed out of their homes. Chavez and her husband, who is a former council member also running for council, have lived in Cedar Park for almost 15 years, she said.
“When candidates are actually elected, they talk a big game about wanting to reduce taxes,” Chavez said. “But when push comes to shove and the time comes, they rarely do it.”
Mixed bond opinions
The three candidates have varying thoughts on the $158.8 million bond program that Cedar Park voters will see on their May 7 ballots.
Guevara said he is supportive of bonds because they are “very open and transparent.” Guevara works as an attorney for 15 other municipalities
“This is something that the voters can decide. ‘Do you want to see the transportation package? Do you want to see the park package? Do you want to see the emergency service package?’ he said. “They can vote against all three, for all three, or mix and match.”
Penniman-Morin, who voted for calling the bond program, said approval of the three propositions would allow the city to keep up with infrastructure.
“We worked really hard to have a modest bond package and make sure we weren’t asking for too much because we want to be respectful of our residents’ concerns around tax rates,” Penniman-Morin said.
Chavez also said she is against any future city and school district bond elections. She said paying for these types of projects out of pocket would be a better option.
“Our property taxes have gone through the roof. So let’s try to…actually do a lot of cutting back on spending, living within our means to make sure that people aren’t taxed out of their homes,” Chavez said.
Cedar Park voters will also pick council members for Place 2, 4 and 6 on city council. Early voting began April 25 and ends May 3. Election Day is May 7 with voting times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.