West Tawakoni Political Forum puts candidates and city matters on display

Potholes in roads, tall grass, water and sewage drainage and unity in spite of politics in the city council were amongst the topics that were addressed during the West Tawakoni Political Forum. Candidates running for office answered written questions and audience questions in a panel discussion in an effort to share what they would do to handle the issues of West Tawakoni if elected.

The forum also served as an opportunity to remind residents to continue to connect with the City Council and to continue to approach councilmembers and report issues from potholes to water and sewage drainage.

West Tawakoni Mayor Keith Goodson is fighting to protect his seat as Mayor of West Tawakoni, while Alan Shoemake is running for the position of Mayor.  Councilmember Linda Kattner and former councilmember Chuck Calkins is running for Place Two for the City Council. Dr. Donna Milburn is running for City Council Place Four.

Mayor Goodson has been Mayor of West Tawakoni for about two years. Kattner serves on both the city council and as President of the West Tawakoni Economic Development Corporation. Shoemake served on the now dissolved city Parks Board and earlier in the year made the jump to run for Mayor. Dr. Milburn served on the council from August of 2014 till 2017 in replacement of a resigned member and desires to win Place Four. Calkins also served on the council for a time but resigned due to health matters. He is going for Place Two.

Each candidate pressed on the issue of road conditions in West Tawakoni as well as the need for citizen input as well as encouraging people who are reporting issues to be as patient as possible.

“The major concerns are things I highlighted -- the roads are a major issue along with communication and code enforcement and all of those start from the city administration side … council, city admin, department heads … and those need to communicate expectations to employees and to the citizens. And like I said, grants for the roads and also set expectations when we get code enforcement … those are the major issues I feel are the needs in the city,” said Shoemake.

“We need all the citizens to come and talk to us. I got great suggestions from people … we do need lights down Mays Lane. Everyone on the south side feels like they are in jeopardy when they go down that road without lights. So when a person brought that up to me, I thought that was an excellent suggestion. Those are the things we want to hear from you all,” said Dr. Milburn.

“We do need feedback from the citizens. We sit on the council ... and we don't know you are having a problem unless you tell us. Also the city needs another way of communicating with the citizens overtime to let the citizens know what we're up too .. while we're working on your behalf … that way you'll be able to formulate the questions that need to be addressed,” said Calkins.

The West Tawakoni Mayor also had a chance to respond.

"I drove around last Saturday,” said Goodson. “We had flooding issues in this city before and continue to have them. I don't like to point certain things out but most know about the road Shenandoah. I'm doing everything in my power that we don't have that same problem again,” said Goodson.

Kattner also echoed much of the concerns of both the panelists as well as those in the audience.

“I totally agree with what's been said and I know the roads are bad. We are trying to work on those. I wish it could be faster. We do hear you on the roads. On the last budget session, we tried to appropriate as much as we can to try and improve the roads as soon as possible. At Economic Development, and along with the rest of my team, we are trying to get businesses to come in here to help alleviate the tax burden so we can get more money coming in here to get resources to get these things accomplished. There's a process that must be followed, but I want you to understand that we are listening and we don't always get it done as quickly as we would like it -- but we are trying and will continue to do so. Don't stop that line of communication we want to keep hearing from you,” said Kattner.

Candidates also discussed improvements with the city budget and the use of grant funds in spite of administration fees. Candidates also had a chance to weigh in on the need to improve Internet in the West Tawakoni area and how the provision of Internet could improve if more businesses are brought in to help with tourist attraction and tax burdens. The panel stressed the need for patience, to continue to connect and communicate with the council and to vote.