64° F Thursday, April 27, 2017

03143 Gerald DaughertyAfter a four-year hiatus, I’m back as your Travis County Precinct 3 Commissioner. Once again, everything I do as your commissioner will be not only for the citizens of Precinct 3, but also for all of Travis County. And, I still care about the same things that led me to seek this elected position for the first time back in 2002.

I sought this office again because I care about this community, and I will continue my efforts to push for low taxes, fiscal restraint and a need for county government to stick to the basics of core services and its state-mandated responsibilities.

Plus, I’ll continue to be a champion for a comprehensive road system that can effectively reduce congestion, increase mobility and help us keep the wonderful quality of life we enjoy here in Travis County.

In the Travis County budget arena, I’ll urge the Commissioners Court to budget within our means, prioritize county spending, increase county efficiency and productivity and increase non-property tax revenue.

Just like tax-paying families have to “tighten their belts,” Travis County government must also “tighten its belt.” And, we must find innovative ways to generate more dollars other than continually raising your property taxes.

In the road system arena, my No. 1 priority will be to build Highway 45SW to connect MoPac to FM 1626.

Travis County voters overwhelmingly approved this project way back in the 1997 bond election (a stand-alone Proposition 6). It’s time to get it built, and I’m already working on it as the chair of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 45SW Subcommittee.

I’ll also be looking for ways to improve Texas 71, U.S. 290, Loop 360, RM 620, etc. By the way, I feel the importance of transportation in our community, and my emphasis on roads, traffic and congestion strongly contributed to my being back as your Precinct 3 commissioner.

Not only am I back, but all three of my previous staff members also have rejoined me to serve you.

Since we’ve all been here before, we were able to “hit the ground running” on the first of January. I couldn’t effectively serve you without their dedication and hard work helping me do the best job I can in fulfilling all the responsibilities of this office. Without them, it would be impossible to do all the things I need to do as your public servant. Many of you probably remember them, but let me reintroduce them to you and to those of you that are new to Precinct 3.

There’s Barbara Smith, the glue of this office. Cheerfully answering the many phone calls, handling the numerous emails, and dealing with all the administrative responsibilities, Barbara skillfully triages everything coming into this office. She handles many of the issues herself, and helps immensely while handing off the rest to me or my other staff members.

There’s Bob Moore, who is constantly working hard in handling road, right-of-way and development-permit issues. He also helps me with emergency services, government and legislative relations and constituent issues as well as with my duties on numerous boards, committees and outside organizations.

Finally there’s Martin Zamzow, my “policy guy.” Weekly, he reads, analyzes and briefs me on all the agenda items for our Tuesday Commissioners Court meetings. He’s a liaison and researcher concerning all the county departments that comprise our criminal justice system. He also assists me in the year-round county budget process, so I can make informed decisions on county budgetary matters.

As before, I have an “open door” policy for you, my constituents, although with my busy schedule an appointment sure helps. Feel free to call my office at 854-9333 at any time with your concerns, feedback, suggestions, etc. We’ll do our best to help you in any way we can.

Last time I spoke to you in this format, I was saying goodbye and expressing the sentiment of the privilege and enjoyment I felt serving you as Precinct 3 Commissioner. And now I get to express another straight-from-the-heart sentiment … I’m glad to be back.

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