By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
City Council Place 1 candidate Justin Allison’s vision for Stephenville consists of economic development, lower taxes, responsible spending, the improvement of infrastructure, and the creation of good paying industrial jobs.
“We have to continue to shed this reputation as being ‘unfriendly toward business’, which has improved since the last city council elections,” Allison said. “We need to keep pushing economic development and the creation of good paying jobs, which gives residents the ability to buy homes, more easily afford property taxes, and improve Stephenville as a whole.”
Allison points to recent developments, such as a couple of new strip malls, and the recent announcement of the grocery chain Aldi coming to Stephenville, as prime examples of progress.
“I believe we have made huge strides in the area of economic development, but we need more, and that is why I support the Type B Economic Development Corporation in the upcoming election,” Allison said. He went on to explain that “This is not about adjusting the sales tax rate. Instead, it is about reallocating existing resources towards economic development. The council needs the public’s approval to help accomplish this via an election.”
Where to best direct that money? In Allison’s view, it is toward the infrastructure surrounding underdeveloped pieces of real estate adjacent to our local railway system. “These are prime locations for an industrial park and by upgrading our roads, water lines, and general infrastructure we can empower our business friendly staff, via the creation of these newfound marketable assets, to more easily go out and seek new large industrial employers,” Allison said.
Allison has served on Stephenville’s Planning and Zoning Commission since early last year and has a perfect attendance record since he began his service to the community. He is also in frequent attendance for city council meetings. Having this first-hand knowledge is one reason Allison feels he will be a good fit to lead Stephenville.
“I am going to be a budget hawk and if we get into an area where we are looking at increasing taxes or unnecessary spending I am going to say NO!” Allison said. “The council proved during last year’s budget meetings that more than $100,000 could be trimmed from the budget and I believe that additional savings can be found. We have to hammer away at the budget until we can assure the people that there is not going to be a deficit, while also ensuring that all services are still being met.”
Allison has lived all but one of his 29 years of life in Stephenville and graduated from Tarleton State University with a master’s degree. His work at one of Stephenville’s largest employers, Saint Gobain Abrasives, has given him insight into what industrial type jobs can do for a city.
“If we have solid, good paying jobs for people in Stephenville, then that is going to give them buying power and that means more money being spent in the local economy,” Allison said. “A good paying job gives folks the ability to live the American dream and that is what we want to create here in Stephenville.”