Haslet council candidates talk growth

04/15/2014 10:30 AM

04/15/2014 10:31 AM

Candidates are vying for two spots on the Haslet City Council in two contested races May 10 in a city where growth and development are key topics.

Here are the candidates competing for Places 3 and 5 on the Haslet Council.

Place 3

Incumbent Kathy Hopper faces a challenge in Place 3. The 55-year-old consultant is running against Candy Letica, a 64-year-old homemaker. Hopper said she has several reasons for seeking another term.

“I am very supportive of our new staff members, our city administrator and city secretary and can only speak very proudly of all of our staff,” Hopper said. “We have had very low turnover in our staffing positions which speaks volumes for how our staff is committed to the city and our citizens.

Hopper, who has been on the Council since 2010 and previously had served for five years on the Council, counts her knowledge of what has happened in Haslet in the past as an advantage but said she is open to new ways of approaching the decisions the Council will make in the future.

“As times change, so will our actions and decisions,” Hopper said.

Letica, who has lived in Haslet nearly four years, has been involved in the community since she and her husband moved there. She sponsored the city of Haslet’s entry in the Lifestyle Challenge, sponsored by Baylor Grapevine. That led her to join the Haslet Type B economic development board. She also plays a role on the city’s library board. She and her husband, Mike, are regular audience members at council meetings.

“I enjoy the boards I am on, and I see City Council as the next step,” Letica said.

Letica knows it is important to bring more sales tax revenue to the city, but knows Haslet must maintain an emphasis on quality growth. “I think it’s a great time to be involved in the city,” Letica said.

Place 5

Incumbent Pat Richey, the longest-tenured member of the City Council, is running against two candidates, Doug Horak and Rick Groesch. Richey, a 61-year-old systems analyst, said one of his top priorities is supporting new City Administrator Jim Quin.

“We have a great city administrator and I want to make sure he has the support he needs,” Richey said. “We had a city administrator previously and it didn’t work out on my watch, and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Richey also said it’s a high priority to educate residents and let them know that other types of quality residential development should be considered – even if they force Haslet to make exceptions to the current half-acre-minimum standard for residential lots.

“We need to make a better effort at understanding that,” Richey said.

Groesch, 40, a marketing executive, has a different perspective. He knows the city will grow, but he wants to make sure that developers aren’t putting in more rooftops than city services can support. The city needs to maintain the half-acre standard, he said. He also wants to help spur quality commercial growth. Destination restaurants and retail are needed to bring more sales tax dollars to Haslet, he said.

“If it makes sense for Haslet, we should be doing it,” Groesch said. “That should be the benchmark. Does it make sense?”

Groesch said he wants to make sure all the neighborhoods of Haslet – including The Meadows and Ashmore Farms – are represented by the council. “Council members need to make sure the votes they make help the betterment of the entire city,” Groesch said.

Horak, a 51-year-old master scheduler for Bell Helicopter, said he is running for Council as a way to serve a city that has given much to his family. Horak recalls how when his child was dealing with a serious medical issue, the community provided an outpouring of support.

“We received an outpouring of care and helped my family out,” said Horak, who is on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and serves an advisory role in the Haslet Sports Association. “We’ve looked for ways to give back.”

Horak supports the current direction of the Council and knows the importance of bringing in enhanced infrastructure, such as the proposed east-west Avondale-Haslet Connector, that could improve traffic flow and open up additional commercial growth.

“They’ve done a good job on the cCouncil,” Horak said. “It’s just something I’ve decided to do.”

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