For the second time in 12 months, voters in District 4 will go to the polls to elect their representative to the Gonzales City Council following the resignation of Rob Brown on Monday, July 26.
Brown, 60, submitted his resignation in writing to City Manager Tim Patek. In the letter, a copy of which Brown provided to The Inquirer, he cited the growth of his business as the reason, adding that he and his family would relocate to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
According to Mayor Connie Kacir, a special election will be called in accordance with state statute and the city charter.
“Additional details will be made public as they are available,” Kacir wrote in an email.
The city council will have 120 days to set the special election. The clock will start ticking – barring a special session being held – on Thursday, Aug. 12 when the council holds its next regular meeting – and its first without Brown.
A special election would cost around $12,000, based on prior expenditures. However, the city could lessen that if it opted to wait until the scheduled county-wide election in November.
Brown is a business partner with Rene De La Garza in the Texas Land and Right of Way, LLC, which is headquartered in Gonzales at 615 St. Paul St. The company assists utilities and other entities in the acquisition of title, right-of-way easements and water rights in multiple counties throughout central Texas.
“We hadn’t been meeting milestones that would trigger the next phase of expansion,” Brown told The Inquirer on Monday. “We didn’t anticipate moving to Phase 2 until 2023 or 2024.”
Brown said the population surge into Central changed that starting in February. He said there is an opportunity to grow the company in the Dallas area.
“It is a high-growth area with limited competition,” Brown said. “We see a door open for us.”
Brown stressed that he is committed to keeping his business headquartered in his hometown of Gonzales. The office employees 14 people and plans to add three more, plus four in Dallas.
Brown, who previously ran unsuccessfully for mayor, won the District 4 race in November, unseating incumbent Dan Blakemore by a 56.68% to 43.32% margin (433 votes to 331) to secure the District 4 seat. He was sworn in on Nov. 16.
He was recently elected Pro-Tem of the council.
Brown said his short time on the council changed some of the perceptions he had prior to the election.
“Yes, my view changed,” he said. “I was very fortunate to have a group of people at City Hall to help me navigate the waters and educate me along with staff, my co-council members, the city manager, and the city attorney.”
During his tenure, the council approved the $1.825 million settlement of the lawsuit filed by the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary over the estate of J.B. Wells, as well the sale of a 20-year General Obligation Refunding Bond to cover the cost. He also voted with the board on a deal with the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation to fund half of the bond debt service through yearly payments.