Mayor John Thomaides was voted into office a year ago. With one year left, Thomaides looks back on the first half of his term while setting the city up for success.
The first task Thomaides was entrusted with was finding a replacement for the position of city manager, one of the most important jobs in the council. The nationwide search lasted eight months. The newly employed manager was Bert Lumbreras, a Texas State alumnus who interned with the City Council while attending school.
Second on the agenda was the establishment of a budget, a lengthy process done each March. In the last five years, San Marcos has been chosen three times as the fastest-growing city in the country. The fiscal budget operates from September through October.
“This year, we had a flat budget, which was difficult since we are a growing city. But after hard discussion, we were able to balance the budget and set ourselves up for an easier year. I am very proud of that,” Thomaides said.
The local development of the community was attended to with a new master plan for housing, as the current one was behind by many years. Thomaides was also able to pass a new bond, something that has not been done since 2005, focused on public safety. The proposition received 78 percent approval.
“The bond will allow for the expansion of the fire station, the police station and the library. The police station will also receive renovations, which hasn’t been done since the 1990s,” Thomaides said.
Thomaides also attended several conferences in the last year such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors and an inner city conference in Colorado with the Austin City Commerce Chamber, both from which he was able to bring back several innovative projects for the city.
“There were many workshops as well as mayors from big and small cities. It was wonderful and I learned a lot. It was very interesting,” Thomaides said.
For the remainder of his time in office, economic development will be a primary focus. Amazon and Best Buy Internet System have already set up offices and a call center in San Marcos, bringing in hundreds of jobs. Urban Mining, a recycling firm, is expected to come to town in 2018 and bring more opportunities for the people of San Marcos.
“(It’s) an interesting, rare recycling firm that is relocating to San Marcos from Austin. Currently, 97 percent of the company’s work is done in China and now, 3 percent will take place right here (in San Marcos),” Thomaides said.
As Thomaides enters his last year in office, he is most thankful for all of the experience and service he had already earned prior to this job, which comforted him as he approached the daunting task of being entrusted with the entire city. Despite the challenges that he and the council might have faced, every moment was enjoyable and unforgettable.
“I would run again for office,” Thomaides said. “This is the highest honor I have ever had in my life. I know I am not perfect, but I am still learning and I take this job very seriously.”