The Race for City Hall

Ward B Council Position
Jimmy Mendez:

Jimmy Mendez

TKN: What position are you running for?
JM: City Council Member Ward B
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
JM: It was a combination of things… primarily my issue was personal, my street kept flooding with even the most minute of rains and every time a vehicle would come down the street, it would wash waves of dirty water into my house. Once I decided to run and began walking door to door introducing myself to the people of Katy, I heard a lot of horror stories about bad roads, old crumbling infrastructure, and horrible drainage problems… so I took on that mantle and championed the infrastructure cause. Plus, Katy was growing at an astounding rate… I wanted someone who loved the city as much as I do, to help manage the growth.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
JM: You’re mixing apples and oranges with the question. I am a legal resident of the city of Katy, Texas, and meet all of the other legal requirements… that makes me qualified. As for my education, it has been in the fields of construction, anti-terrorism, and disaster/emergency management.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
JM: Since 1972 and my wife’s family has been here for generations. My father-in-law Dan Ruley, was the class of 1957 at Katy High School!
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy?
JM: No matter the business… you can always find ways to tweak the system, change out people, and plot new courses; as the incumbent in this race, that is what we have been doing. I have also been working on improving the communication between the people that I “represent” and the city. If the city does not know that you are having an issue or a concern, they cannot address it. That is also why I give out my personal cell phone number… this current mayor and council have been working hard to get away from the ‘good ol’ boy system’ and hire people based on their qualifications and how well they fit into the Katy community. The problems in the city did not get here over night… and they are not going to disappear overnight. We have put the best people we could find into the city government positions, increased the number of ways for the people of Katy to interact with the city, and we quit kicking the problems down the line for future administrations… we have been attacking them one at a time, and we did all of that while cutting taxes four years in a row, with a fifth tax cut already voted on and passed for next year’s tax cycle.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
JM: The Challenges are the same as the one’s I face serving the people of Katy. Katy is diverse in not only its people, but also in its knowledge of what and how local politics works. As your city councilman I routinely get school district complaints which we have nothing to do with, I get complaints to fix things outside of the city limits where we have no authority, and I get civil complaints from residents about their neighbors that I can do nothing about. Past administrations did not have the money to expand or annex areas around us to create a buffer so the Katy city limits are really small, development happened all around us landlocking the majority of the city and directly affecting our traffic, our drainage, and our crime rates. Katy properties are in high demand now, more and more people are selling off their land to developers. We cannot tell someone that they can’t sell their own land or build on the land that they bought. We only can regulate the type of use. I know it sounds simple… but I regularly get angry calls from people who are upset that the City of Katy is getting rid of all of our ‘green spaces’. Another challenge that we face are the random rumors popping up or partial information circulating through social media or neighborhoods. I spend a lot of time getting calls on things that we are either not doing or their information is only partially correct but has huge gaps which are usually filled in by misinformation.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
JM: To keep fighting the good fight. I ran in order to fix the infrastructure problems, and that is exactly what I have been doing for four years. I have kept every single promise I have made to people. I personally respond to all complaints and I keep the The Katy News newspaper for keeping my promises when I fixed a long time problem that the residents of Townpark subdivision were having with a ditch behind their houses. I have been awarded an ‘award of appreciation’ at a city council meeting, from a long-time Katy resident for quickly fixing an issue that he and his family have been trying to get resolved for years. I heard about an elderly man who had been living in the bed of his truck for over two years because he had no electricity in his home; upon hearing about this man, I immediately contacted Elaine Lutringer the Director of Public Works and together we began working on a solution and didn’t stop until we had his electricity turned back on later the same day. I got a sidewalk put in along Katy Hockley Cut-Off down to Pineview Terrace so that the kids walking to and from school would not have to walk in the streets in bad weather; by working with the Katy Police Department on this project, Katy Police Chief Bill Hastings was able to funnel ‘Child Safety money’ from the county to pay for half of this project saving the Katy tax payers a lot of money and speeding up the process.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
JM: Having competitors is all parts of the process… Since I do not know my opponents very well, I plan on standing on my record of achievements.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JM: Not change per se… but I would like to speed them up.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JM: This project originally started out as a two million dollar tax funded ‘green space and nature trail’ type project. Now it is a $150 million dollar income and tourism generating machine that the Katy Tax payers are not funding… the money is coming from a private developer, The Katy Development Authority, Convention and Tourism Bureau, Metro mobility money, mall sales tax revenue, and the city is contributing H.O.T. funds which are paid by visitors to our city, not residents. Using the tax increment reinvestment zone or TIRZ in that area, the Katy Boardwalk will be able to use the additional tax funds above the baseline amount to reinvest in itself. This Katy Boardwalk comes complete with world class hotels, a convention center, mixed use retail/restaurants, and an 89-acre nature park. As a direct result of all of this development we were able to jump from only three hotels to nine hotels, we reduced property taxes, raised the senior homestead exemption, and as I stated before we put in place five years of automatic
tax reductions.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JM: I have been married to the same woman for 21 years and we have two children… Justin (27) and Natasha (14).
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JM: I have three jobs, not including Husband and Father. I am a Katy city councilman for Ward B; I am President and co-owner of a full service commercial construction company called “Big City Builders”, and I recently got a part-time job delivering parts for O’Reilly’s Auto Parts just for the additional college fund money. I have always been able to balance everything out… I put a lot of hours into my city council work, my business partner can fill in if I can’t cover something, and my O’Reilly’s job is a part time gig and works around my other two schedules. I am a big family man… I weave my family into every facet of my life and I’m home every night.
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JM: Yes, a large portion of our planning has been long-term planning. We have a major hydrology study being done on Katy and everywhere around Katy where the water can possibly flow into Katy, so that we can keep ahead of the next 500 year flood and know exactly where the water will flow to no matter the circumstances. I have also put a huge retention pond project, under the city’s Parks and Recreation Department so that we can turn it from a big ugly pit, into a beautiful walking trail with flowering trees and a sea of bluebonnets; this will also attract hummingbirds, song birds, and Purple Martins to eat mosquitoes. I have also been working on the city’s holiday decorations policy; to keep that ‘small town feel’ I wanted to see the city really decorate for the main holidays like City Hall did for Christmas this year. There are a number of other long term projects that I voted on, but these three are the ones that I worked the most on.