Mayor Connie Kacir: It's in the details


Kacir is a Gonzales native and businesswoman who became mayor in 2016 after a no-contest election. She presents herself as a fixer and a mean agent of details


Why did you decide to run again?

“To make a real difference in my community. To improve the community in which I live in. I think that pretty much sums it up.”


Name your accomplishments

“I feel that over the last two-and-a-half years we've made momentous improvements. I absolutely believe that the current financial trajectory that the city is on is the path it needs to be on. My desire to run, [in 2016], I believe that God gives everyone a gift. Everyone has a different skill set. And mine was having the financial and business acumen that was needed for a higher level of governance and oversight. As a mayor I take my oath of office very seriously. It's how I live my life. When I make up my mind to do something, I'm going to give it my all, and my oath of office says 'I swear to preserve and protect the City. To uphold the state statutes and laws of the Texas Constitution.' I would not be acting in good faith if I didn't implement the changes that were needed in our budget process, I would not be upholding my oath of office I did not truly take and understand what governance was, and that is to be a trustee and to act in the best interest of the city.”

“Over the years I have sat in council chambers for no less than 10. I made most of the meetings. There were many decisions that were made by prior policy makers I didn't agree with. That was my opinion, [but] I always supported them because that's what a citizen needs to do: we support those that are in office, we pray for those that are in office.”

“To have a business-minded policy maker [as mayor], it's critical. It's paramount. You can look at the audits, you can see how the enterprise funds [public utilities] have dropped dramatically. Your enterprise funds are to generate a profit for the city. Prior councils were expending all of the net profit from the enterprise funds to carry on the day-to-day operations, and I didn't concur with that philosophy. I strongly believe that you should have retained earnings. You should have a capital improvement plan that you are retaining earnings to fund those projects. We have infrastructure that is at the point of physical obsolescence. After I was sworn in I was able to see the depths of the problems. I could see it on the financial statements. At the height of the Eagle Ford boom, policymakers were blessed with over $1 million in excess revenues from sales tax.”


Is there one single financial drain on the city?

“I feel like our current council has taken an in-depth look. We've taken a review on internal expenditures; we've made cuts where we felt they were needed. We've identified additional revenue streams where we felt they needed to be implemented. We set tax rates commensurate with the cash flow that's required to operate the city and begin allocate monies for the infrastructure repaired, to have the equipment replacement, and the things that we need to give [the community] the quality of life and the level of city services that you believe. I believe we've done a good job on that. I think there is always room for improvement, but I don't see that there's any one area that is the financial drain on the city.”


On the rollback election:

“I believe the tax rate is set where it needs to be....I don't look at my contiguous counties to see what my tax rate is going to be. That wouldn't be using the business acumen I would apply. Every city is unique in some way. You can take Lockhart, population is a little larger, but again they have different revenue streams and sales tax revenues, they have different needs. You have to look at Gonzales' [needs]. If a .20 cent tax rate delivered the quality of life and the city services that would need, then I would call .20 cents the tax rate.”

“Several months ago council put $404,000 on hold, the purpose behind that was to reevaluate economic stability six months down the road. What happens if the rollback is enacted? Your services will be cut, that's the result. Do I take a position? Obviously, my position I've made very clear. It's my opinion a policymaker’s job, they are a trustee, and a trustee operates in the best interest they are the trustee over, mine is the city. A municipality must have a minimum 25 percent in reserves. Today, that puts Gonzales at a minimum of $2.3 million. The last audit shows your general fund balance is 1 percent. We have a $9 million general fund budget, a $27 million city budget, and that year ended with $124,600 and some change. If you preserve and protect, it wasn't being done.”


What do you hope to accomplish if re-elected?

“I feel that the trajectory we are on financially is the path we need to be on. I filed so that I could be a part of seeing that through, of setting a higher benchmark of what a policymakers expectation is, to take it seriously and have fiscal oversight and see our budget to recapitalize itself, our enterprise funds recapitalizing, and making strives in improvement in delivering infrastructure repairs.”

“Things I feel very good about, things I feel I've worked hard to keep in motion... Being very familiar with the charter, with state statutes, and doing my homework, I feel very good about some of the end results that I may have put in motion that the council approved. Number one: I asked for a copy of our current audit. That's something that intrigues me, I read it from cover to cover. Two things jumped off the pages for me: losses in the water and electric departments. So I started pulling that apart. The current administrator that city hall had at that time couldn't give me any answers, but I continued to question. Again, that's oversight. I called for a meeting with LCRA and I told them there was an error in our billing model, and I asked if they would be willing to meet, they said yes. So we had a different city manager [when we met], I let the city manager know what I was looking at. But through that analysis there was a loss, an incorrect billing model, and it amounted to just over $1 million. That was huge. But if you don't read the audit from cover to cover, who would have known? I felt good about [finding] that.”

“I am here to serve them. I'm a public servant at heart. I feel that the attributes that I can give the city are a strong business background and continue to have strong oversight in the management and the appropriation of funds, tax dollars, and I'm trustworthy.”


For Rob Brown's story, click here.

For Bob Burchard's story, click here.