Stephen Hunt Challenges Shane Price For Abilene City Council's Place One Seat
The small ballot with just two races for Abilene’s City Council has drawn few early voters this year. But those who are casting ballots in the Joint City General Election are deciding who will serve in the Place One and Place Two seats on Abilene’s city council for the next three years. Stephen Hunt ischallenging Four-Term city council member Shane Price.
Hunt first came to Abilene with the Air Force. Six years later he’s part of the reserves, attending Abilene Christian University, and running for a spot on the Abilene City Council, “I’ve been here the past six years, but now that I’ve gotten out [of the Air Force], and now that I’m an ACU student, I have a kid on the way, Abilene’s really going to be where I plant my roots for the forseeable future. And I’d like to make sure that the decisions being made now are going to be good ones in the future.”
Hunt has voiced some critiques for the current make up of the council, and says he thinks he would bring a different perspective because he’s at a different life-stage from most of the city council members. “If you just take a look at the council, they’re all a little bit on the older side, for the most part. And even if they have a background in the working class, they’re still a little bit divorced from that past.” And Hunt says he still works with his hands every day, “And I live right off of Ambler. A lot of the issues that people feel are not being addressed I live with.”
Hunt says as he’s talked to voters on the north side of Abilene one of the big concerns voters have expressed is about how long it takes to get a response from the police department when they call. And he has some ideas about how to address that issue, starting with a thorough review of Abilene police practices, “APD does generally a great job. But I do understand how certain parts of town have such high call volumes that it’s going to take a while for them to respond. So, I definitely would like to look into outside of the box alternatives. Maybe having reserve officers, or having foot patrols in these neighborhoods. That way we can move towards a community policing style program.”
The Abilene City Council does have some big-ticket items on their agenda this year. After the winter storm in February, some residents called on city leaders to add even more back-up power supply to the city’s water system. Hunt says maybe private industry could take the lead on responding to the issues that were revealed by the historic weather.
The city council is also considering issuing new bonds in order to take a more aggressive approach to fixing Abilene’s roadways. While he hasn’t looked closely at what the proposal could look like, Hunt has concerns about taking on more debt, “I know that we are $250 million in bonded-debt.” And Hunt points out that the city had to cut some programs in the past year to deal with a budget shortfall. He suggests Abilene take a lesson from some simple savings the state found when it faced a massive shortfall in the early 90s, “They were able to identify these small measures to save money.” Hunt says one way they saved money was by removing light bulbs from vending machines on state property around the state, “It saved the state somewhere in the realm of $200,000 a year. And all those little things that they did added up to where there wasn’t a deficit. There was actually a surplus. So implementing something like that in Abilene would be possible. It would allow us to fix our roads without having to go into any more bonded-debt.”
In the end, Stephen Hunt says his thirst for knowledge, his Air Force experience of learning to work with a variety of people to find solutions to problems by thinking outside the box, and his desire to create a stable future for his children and the rest of the next generation make him a good option for voters deciding who will represent them in Place One on the city council. Abilene voters will make that decision, and pick their next Place Two City Council member this Saturday during the Joint City General Election.
Find out more about Stephen Hunt on social media.