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 Helotes Election May 1, 2021 - Where Do Each Of Them Stand?
The Helotes Mayoral/City Council Election is Saturday, May 1, 2021. There are three contested seats: Mayor and Council Places 3 and 5. Please see the questions and answers from each candidate.
Q1. If elected, would you recommend, encourage, and/or support closing the Helotes Dispatch Center located in the Helotes Police Department? If so why? If not, why not? How would your decision affect the citizens of Helotes and the current dispatch employees?
Mayor Tom Schoolcraft, Incumbent
Q 1: Definitely Not! Ever since our dispatch center went live on October 4, 2010, our mission has been to provide exceptional personal service to our citizens and guarantee that our first responders would always have their own dispatchers dedicated to keeping them safe. It was never intended to be a “profit center” any more than any other City department. Eight highly trained, dedicated, and committed dispatchers work in shifts answering our calls for help. Keeping our Helotes Dispatch Center operational is critical to maintain the safety of our first responders, citizens, businesses, and visitors. Visit my website at for more information.
Q 2: Yes. We have used 380 agreements very successfully in the past. They are good programs because the City is not obligated to disperse funds through grant payments of sales tax until it receives sales tax revenues from a project.
Bert Buys, Place 3, Incumbent
Q 1: Why fix something that is not broken? I would never recommend, encourage or support closing our Dispatch Center. We have a first-class dispatch center with 8 fully trained, experienced and dedicated dispatchers that know our city very well. They not only dispatch for our police, fire and EMS they also dispatch for our public works, code enforcement and animal control. I have a friend that does live in our city call 911 because he thought his wife was having a heart attack. He was put on hold during the call for help. Would you want this for your family? Q 2: I would fully support offering a 380 agreement. You still have to weigh the options of the agreement to make sure it is the right thing to do for our citizens. We have done this already
with others and it has proved to be very profitable for our sales tax income.
Paul Friedrichs, Place 5, Incumbent
Q 1: I would not support the closing of the Helotes 911 Dispatch Center. The Center is important to this community and closing the Center would create greater dependency on San Antonio. The claims that closing the Center would financially help the budget are incorrect. Helotes would be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for substandard care. Dispatch Services do not cause a drain on our budget. We need to keep this vital public safety infrastructure local. Q2: The City of Helotes has used 380 agreements to attract business and development to our neighborhood. The agreements are a engine of economic development and have provided significant tax revenue to the community. These
agreements create a business friendly environment that spurs enterprise and helps keep taxes lower for the Citizens of Helotes. I support these agreements because they are a win win for industry and the community.
I Spy With My Little Eye... Contest
Q2. As an elected official, would you support the offering of 380 agreements or other incentives to developers or new businesses considering Helotes as a viable location to build if the incentive would be a deciding factor in their decision to locate in the City?
Rich Whitehead, Challenger
Q 1: I would recommend the closing of Helotes Dispatch after a cost/benefit analysis because we can get a technologically better service, integrated with the surrounding mutual aid communities we work with, along with staffing that can handle heavy call loads, providing BETTER service to our citizens for several $100,000 LESS per year. This allows Helotes to afford full staffing of our police and fire, to be able to fully respond to emergency calls. Current employees will have multiple options to work for Bexar County 911 or other dispatch centers which always have vacancies. We can NOT afford to continue to pay $522,000 per year for a service that only costs a small fraction of that from state of the art facilities elsewhere.
Q2: Its important to remember that 380 agreements include provisions for the city to recuperate their money if projects don’t perform as expected. That said, 380’s are a case by case scenario and must be properly written and should be used only in the rare case.
Matthew McCrossen, Place 3, Challenger
Q 1: This question presumes there are only two outcomes on the topic; remain open or close. My position can be summarized in a few paragraphs, but certainly not a few sentences. Readers looking for a direct answer now; I support periodic review of any government operation, asset, or contract. My due diligence will result in actionable data ranging from citizen input, response times audit, technology review, financial audit, and many more questions to help inform my vote as a councilmember if elected. Please visit my campaign’s website, for my full response. Q2: Iaminsupportofusingincentivesavailabletomunicipalities
such as Chapter 380 agreements. How and when to use these tools is dependent on each situation presented to Council. My due diligence, inputs from city staff, the Helotes Economic Development Corporation and other stakeholders will guide my votes.
Matthew Merchant, Place 5, Challenger
Q 1: I would ask for an independent comparative analysis of our system and a comparable, available system before making any recommendation. Fiscal responsibility is important, as is public safety. Last year the citizens of Helotes paid $522k for dispatch service. If similar services were readily available at a lesser rate, the savings (potentially substantial) could then be spent on improved first responder training, increased competitive pay & benefits for our first responders, resulting in enhanced service to all, without having to maintain and upgrade a complex dispatch system. Q 2: Development agreements should create a mechanism for the City of Helotes to ensure that growth occurs in a manner
consistent with the needs, wishes, and wants of the citizens. Business incentives like “380 Agreements” should maximize the benefits for all involved: business, citizens, and the city. Deadline is March 10 .
We hope you’ll have fun with our version of a mini-scavenger hunt within our pages. Good Luck!
             BEy Alissa Reinhard
ach month, we will introduce a character who is hidden somewhere amongst the pages
of Highlights. Look carefully, search each and every page, up and down, left and right, front to back, and then back to front.
Don’t give up! If you can find the hidden character, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $50! In this month’s issue, look for Spring musicians.
Just email the page number and location where you spotted Spring musicians to
   Congratulations to our March
I Spy winner Gene Festa
April 2021

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