San Marcos City Council elections are quickly approaching. The University Star sat down with Place 6 candidate, Melissa Derrick to discuss her campaign.
Born: August 9, 1967, Morgantown, West Virginia
Occupation: Administrative assistant for the Center of International Studies at Texas State University, Co-owner of San Marcos Computers
Education: B.A. in Journalism from then-called Southwest Texas University
Alexa Tavarez: Where do you call home and why?
Melissa Derrick: San Marcos, because I’ve been here for the better part of the past 26 years. I just love the city. I graduated from Texas State and I never wanted to leave and I wanted to raise my children here.
AT: Why did you decide to run for public office?
MD: I’ve lived here long enough to have participated in city government as a citizen during Citizen Comment and I’ve paid very careful attention to how the city is growing and a lot of the things that we as (San Martians) value are the same things that the students do—the river, of course, being primarily what draws people here. It’s a fun and exciting town, and I’m seeing a lot of decisions being made to the detriment of the river and to the established neighborhoods that actually make this more than just a college town but a staple, thriving community.
AT: What issue is at the heart of your campaign?
MD: Growth… the growth of the city. We’ve been named, for several years running now, the fastest growing mid-sized city in Texas. With growth you find a lot of challenges, and San Marcos is not really used to having as much growth as it has been experiencing. We just need made a new master plan, which is the constitution of the city where we would like to see development, and make room for stable family neighborhoods and where we should put certain types of developments.
AT: What are your thoughts on the amount of development San Marcos has seen in the past years?
MD: I really think we need to be more mindful of where we place these developments. We all love students. I’ve worked at the university for 20 years and mentored a lot of students… But when I was a student here, my 49-year-old self would not want to live next to me when I was 21. It’s not a suitable mix. So when they’re putting these thousand-bedroom student cottage-style apartments with a giant swimming pool and they have big parties—it’s not a good mix when the neighbors have 3-year-olds that need to go bed and need to get up to go to school the next day. Students are going to do what students are going to do, and I think they would be happier outside of the neighborhoods as well.
AT: Do you feel the city has handled economic growth well?
MD: In the past it hasn’t been handled well, but now we have worked a new, fantastic contract with the Greater San Marcos Partnership that we’re seeing some better things come. We’re all very excited to draw Amazon to San Marcos because it puts us on the map and it pretty much ensures other companies like Amazon to come take a look at us.
AT: In regard to the never-ending drought, what role should the city play in regulating water consumption?
MD: Right now we are in a position where we have purchased rights to water we do not currently need. We’re selling that water to other users who did not plan as well as we have… For instance, the city of Buda is slated to be out of water in a year. A lot of people think that because we’re selling water that we should be able to use that water to water their lawns but I disagree with that. I think that we’re already used to regulating ourselves and protecting the water we already have, and then to change that culture to an overuse of water—it wouldn’t be right at this time… I think overall people just need to get used to the fact we’re going to be in droughts. This is how it is.
Follow Alexa Tavarez on Twitter at @lexicanaa.