- Rodney Fleming filed to run as councilman for Single Member District 1 at City Hall on Wednesday
- Fleming speaks of attending meetings and putting in extra hours to better understand issues
- SAPD budget and raises, as well as trash and water reign as most important issues
- City elections take place in May or this year
After a year serving an unexpired term in the seat left empty as former councilmember Paul Alexander ran for mayor, Single Member District 1 (SMD1) Councilman Rodney Fleming has announced his intention to run again for the SMD1 slot this year in the elections.
Fleming is anticipating a bit of competition this year, and officially filed his application for the spot on Wednesday in City Hall, the first day applications for City Council were accepted for the upcoming elections for three Council seats.
As a relatively new member to the Council, Fleming says he’s learned a lot about City operations and Council decision making over the past year, and has made an effort to put in the extra time and effort to fully understand the issues before they come to Council in the City Chambers.
“Honestly, my expectations [going into this] were that this was going to maybe take me about four to five hours a week…now I know that that’s not true,” Fleming said Wednesday. “I probably average about 20-25 hours a week on dealing with the issues that are coming up.”
As a council member, Fleming says there is a great deal of ancillary work not required of him that he’s taken on in an effort to better comprehend the issues, such as visiting the sites of zone change proposals and attending the recent Meet and Confer meetings dealing with the police department’s budget.
“The City workers, the City planners, bring us all the information and they show us on the slides and everything, but unless you’re out there and you truly see it in person, you won’t know what the situation is,” Fleming said, noting a prior concern the City presented to Council on the heavy foot traffic and safety issues on Gun Club Road. “Zone changes are a big deal. You need to make sure and go out to where the zone change is. …Gun Club Road—I’m trying to balance it with—I know what the Gun Club residents want, but I also know what the City wants and I’m trying to make it to where it will be as best we can,” he said.
Fleming also mentioned the SAPD’s request for a raise and the overdrawn budget as issues he feels are pertinent to the new Council, and areas he’s made an effort to be more versed in since the discussions began.
“I feel it’s very important because I’m the mediator…I like being in that meeting because I’m seeing how the police are acting and what they’re saying and I’m seeing what the City’s saying,” Fleming said. “I’ve got to come somewhere in the middle and decide—the Council will be the final decision on what the raise will be.”
Council Attendance at the Meet and Confers is not mandated, and Fleming says that he’s been told there has been a lack of Council members present for several years now. “To me, it’s required of me, I feel like it’s required of me,” he said. “If I’m going to do the job, I want to put 100 percent into the job.”
Apart from a willingness to do his due diligence, Fleming noted several issues he feels are paramount to the life of the city in the future. Among those issues are the ongoing Red Arroyo Project and trash and recycling arrangements that have gone to request for proposal for the first time in city history. But of all the issues that cross his desk, Fleming’s main concern is the one he ran on last time around.“The water is the number one issue,” Fleming said. “To me, the Red Arroyo Project, I wish that everybody would just start lining up in the streets banging their pots and pans over the Red Arroyo Project, because that needs to be done and it needs to be done soon,” he said.
On average, the city sees three big rainfalls per year regardless of drought situations, Fleming explained. Over 10,000 acre-feet of water runs through the bottom of the Red Arroyo annually, as compared to the average 16,000 acre-feet the city uses on an annual basis, he says. The purpose of the project is to capture some of this water for use in the city, however complicated legal concerns have slowed the movement of the project into action.
Fleming is convinced that the Red Arroyo and Hickory Projects, paired with the West Texas Water Partnership between San Angelo, Abilene and Midland is not only the City’s most pertinent issue at the moment, but that the three options, if implemented, may alleviate the water concerns. For this reason, he places a great deal of emphasis on the projects, he says.
Currently, Fleming is the only contender who has filed for SMD1. Last year, he says he has some stiff competition, but feels that then, as well as now, he is the right man for the job.
“I know the issues really, really well and what we’re moving into,” Fleming said. “Also, as people have learned, I am very boisterous and definitely let my opinion be heard whether they think it’s right or wrong, I will tell you my opinion on that. I feel like I’m following kind of in the footsteps of Dwain Morrison—I love Dwain, he’s taught me a lot and he’s showed me a lot in these first 11 months, and I feel like I can do a lot of good for the city still.”
Elections for City Council will be held on May 10, 2014. Those wishing to file for a place on the ballot may do so between Jan. 29 and Feb. 28. There are three seats up for election this year, SMD1, currently held by Rodney Fleming, SMD3, currently held by Johnny Silvas, and SMD5, currently held by H.R. “Winkie” Wardlaw III.
For more information refer to the City website.