Candidates for College Station Place 1 concerned about city budget

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The race is in high gear for candidates seeking the College Station city council Place 1 seat.

Bob Brick, Ph.D. is a former Texas A&M Faculty member. He hopes to fill the seat of his wife, Blance Brick, whose is term limited.

His opponent Elianor Vessali serves on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission. She's also an Aggie and a realtor.

Here's what they had to say about challenges the city is facing.

"I see the city as having been rather underfunded for quite some time. And since about the year 2000 we've grown by 50 percent or so and given the increase in costs of infrastructure that we're now looking at something on the order of $300 million total," said Dr. Bob Brick.

"I see that as a major challenge for the city. The city cannot deplete its general fund in order to fund the new growth," he said.

"The budget and the finances. How to fund the improvement, capital projects that we have already identified. Those are some big things. Infrastructure and core services, so those are the main things," said Elianor Vessali, College Station City Council Candidate.

"And then of course a hot topic which has been police and fire and specifically the number of officers we have on staff," she said.

News 3 also asked why they are running for office.

“Well, I’ve obviously had a chance to watch what was happening during the last several years while my wife has been on the council," Brick said. He said that he's become very interested in the issues and the way the council operates, especially the way it responds to the citizens bringing petitions to the council.

"It struck me that I was interested in trying to have a hand in working with those issues," he added. His opponent has seen how parts of the city government work up close.

“I’ve been involved with the city through community service and most recently through the Planning and Zoning Commission," Vessali said.

"It’s with my work on Planning and Zoning where I’ve learned a lot and kind of gotten, as I say, a peak behind the curtain of what goes on at the city," Vessali continued.

They do have differing opinions on impact fees for new development.

"What concerns me is, I would say, they are pretty recent, a couple of years old. Some of them are just going to kick in at the beginning of next year, but yet we've had all these projects that are not new and even the impact fees in and of themselves don't fully cover those costs," she said.

"I think that we cannot avoid looking at every possible source of revenue that the city has available to it including impact fees and others to cover this huge cost of infrastructure that we have," said Brick.

"We cant simply let the older part of the city deteriorate in order to finance the new part of the city," he said.

Early voting ends on November 3rd. Election Day is November 7th.