Job descriptionThe Council is the city’s governing body. Term is three years.
DutiesEnacts city laws and ordinances
Determines city policies
Adopts city budget
Appoints city manager to administer city government
Annual salary$25 per Council meeting attended; reimbursed for official city expenses.
MeetingsCouncil meetings twice monthly; special meetings called as needed.
City contact informationContact City Secretary
jengland@saginawtx.org
817-230-0327

Who’s Running?

Sheri Means Hart Email: sheri.hart@sbcglobal.net
Nicky LawsonFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nicky-Lawson-102841318572673
Email: lawson4council@gmail.com
Phone: 682-551-0583
Brack St. ClairFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/votebrack
Email: brack@st-clair.us
Phone: 817-717-6648

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
I have lived in Saginaw for over 20 years. I am aware of the issues and concerns of the people living here. I have had a couple concerns with fiscal responsibility and inaction when contacting the city for issues that I have encountered. I firmly believe that if you want to make a change you need to get involved. When a seat became available on the council this year I saw this as an opportunity to be a voice for my community and become part of the solution.
Brack St. Clair
I have been involved in what is happening in Saginaw and in the city government for many years. I began serving on the Parks Advisory Board in 2012 and continue to serve on the board as chair now. I also volunteered to be on the council appointed Bond Committee in 2019. These experiences have given me a unique view, in that I have seen firsthand some of the projects where the city can improve the level of service that it offers.
I seek win-win solutions and look for common ground even amid disagreement, both in my professional life and in my personal life. This is important for a councilmember, as most problems have multiple solutions, and the council must seek the solution that best suits the needs of the community while preserving individual rights and liberties.
2. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT NEEDS OF YOUR DISTRICT/AREA AND WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR ADDRESSING THEM?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
Rising crime is a growing concern. Police patrolling through the neighborhoods is not enough. We need to invest in technology that will deter and/or catch these perpetrators.
Speeding through the neighborhoods must be addressed. Speed limits of 20MPH is not being enforced. City council needs to look into solutions, whether it be speed bumps or increased patrolling.
We need to help the citizens during the process of obtaining permits and understanding ordinances. In addition there needs to be justification for any ordinances that are outdated or doesn't benefit the citizens.
Communication with the citizens is a major issue. With the current availability of multiple means to communicate, we need to utilize more than one communication tool to get the city communication out to the public.
Brack St. Clair
Infrastructure is the most critical issue facing city council. The efficient movement of traffic in the city is crucial to the well-being of the city’s residents, from allowing emergency services to respond quickly to providing commuters and shoppers access to their homes and shops. Overseeing the repair of the northern segment of Knowles and the western segment of McLeroy are important to that end. Whether the bond proposition passes or not, those streets will need attention.
On the east side of the city, there are several new developments that should see construction start soon. Splitting the cost of some of the needed infrastructure improvements with those developers is an effective way of encouraging essential infrastructure without forcing the residents of the city to foot the entire bill. As a council member, I would ensure that the city is taking advantage of those opportunities to maximize developer participation in those road and infrastructure improvements.
It is also important that the council maintain the small town feel and sense of community that drew many of us to Saginaw in the first place, while providing continuous improvement and progress. One of the practical ways that this can be accomplished is through communication with all segments of the city. As a board member of my homeowner’s association and in my serving on the various boards with the city, I encouraged and invited participation from the residents of each of those areas of influence, and that would continue were I elected to the city council. This will be especially important as the city seeks to update the city’s master plan. This plan will set the tone and pace of the city well into the future, and it is vital for residents to have their voice heard throughout this process.
3. THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE CITY’S BUDGET AND SERVICES, AS WELL AS THE LIVES OF RESIDENTS. HOW WOULD YOU GRADE YOUR CITY’S RESPONSE AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
Smaller cities like Saginaw are struggling. There isn’t a lot of available resources and the lock-downs made it difficult to balance concerns and needs. The city did the best they could in reacting to the conflicting and changing policies coming from the CDC. A response team that was dedicated Covid-19 issues would have been beneficial. This team could have coordinated with private organizations, such as churches, to provide a cohesive support network for the community.
Brack St. Clair
I give our city government high marks for their response to the pandemic. We have already seen an increase in revenue from sales taxes in the city for 2020, and I expect that trend to continue in 2021. Saginaw is a growing city, and there are several opportunities for revenue growth carrying us into 2021 and beyond. The city is on a strong financial footing, and it is important for the council to continue to make wise decisions that keep that financial stability intact, even during a crisis.
4. HOW SHOULD THE CITY ADDRESS THE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING? WHAT ROLE SHOULD CITY GOVERNMENT PLAY IN RESPONDING TO PANDEMIC-RELATED EVICTIONS?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
This is a complex scenario. First you need to determine who has been affected by Covid-19 and needs assistance. Second, if you do put in a mandate to stop evictions, you need a plan in place to compensate the landlords. The city should provide a conduit to the services that are available at the state and federal level as well as the many nonprofit organizations that are assisting the people who are struggling to meet rent/mortgage payments. The American people are the most generous people in world. The city should help in matching the citizens with these resources that provide help.
Brack St. Clair
The pandemic has caused widespread disruption of our established systems. To help combat widespread homelessness, the CDC has released an eviction moratorium, which has been extended through June 30, 2021. As well, there has been legislation at the state and federal level to help renters, landlords, and homeowners with pandemic-related difficulties in meeting their obligations, not only in house payments and rent, but also in utilities. The city has posted links to several of these services on its website, but more could be done by making sure that there are occasional posts on social media and inserts in the water bill. Furthermore, it is also important that city employees (and especially those at the city library) are informed about how to connect residents with these services, since people that are reaching out to the city and its library to fill out job applications may be in the position of needing that assistance.
5. HOW TO BEST ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY IS AN IMPORTANT TOPIC. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BALANCING THE FUNDING AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF BOTH POLICE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
Emergency services such as police and fire are the foundation of public safety. We need to ensure that the funding they receive is adequate to serve the community with the proper level of safety while holding them accountable for the funding they are provided. We need to take a wholistic approach to create a harmonious balance where our police becomes part of our community instead of an outside entity. There should be transparency and openness.
In addition to supporting the police, the city should also ensure there are adequate community services available to the citizens to provide emotional and physical well being. One example is providing an outlet to our youth which would contribute to lowering petty crimes and neighbor nuisances while enhancing their overall wellbeing.
Brack St. Clair
The Saginaw Police Department has a dedicated, full-time Community Services Officer. Having this position within the department allows for balance in community service needs and policing responsibilities. Programs such as the Citizen’s Police Academy, neighborhood watch, and National Night Out also help to enhance the relationship of police and citizens.
From a funding perspective, the city council needs to ensure that the compensation that our police officers receive is commiserate with other law enforcement departments in the area. This is important as we try to retain and attract good peace officers.
6. IN THE LAST TERM, WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT VOTE? WHY? HOW DID OR WOULD YOU HAVE VOTED ON THE ISSUE AND WHY?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
I have voted in previous elections. The largest problem I have had was knowing the details of the propositions and finding information on the candidates who were running. The current bond election in Saginaw is example of not enough data and information readily available for the citizens to make an informed decision. Questionnaires, like this one, that is made available to the public is a step in the right direction. Communication with the public is a major issue facing this municipality.
Brack St. Clair
I think one of the most important votes that the council had over the past few months was related to the Beltmill development. Projects such as these encourage retail and restaurant development within the city limits, which will provide more sales tax revenue, and ultimately allow for low property tax rates, while still improving the services that the city offers to its residents.
7. DO YOU THINK IT IS EVER APPROPRIATE FOR STATE LAWS TO OVERRIDE LOCAL CONTROL OF ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE CITY? IF SO, PLEASE PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE.
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
Yes, it is appropriate that state laws override local ordinances when addressing issues that affect interstate commerce or amendment rights. As people are traveling from one city to another there should not be conflicting rules of law.
Brack St. Clair
I believe that local governments know the needs of their communities better than the state, and so they are better equipped to provide a solution. I would be hard-pressed to say never, but those times should be rare, and the effect of those issues should be far reaching.
8. THE RECENT “BIG FREEZE” CAUSED MANY RESIDENTS TO GO WITHOUT POWER OR WATER FOR HOURS OR EVEN DAYS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CITY’S RESPONSE? HOW WOULD YOU WORK TO IMPROVE ELECTRIC/GAS/WATER INFRASTRUCTURE SO THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
Every city needs an emergency risk management plan that has been exercised and put in place before a disaster occurs. I heard there were some services being offered but it did not blanket the whole city evenly. The city could have driven around to check on the residents. I didn’t see any city vehicles out and about in the neighborhoods. The fire stations could have been used as a point for communication, services and distribution. The city should have been the conduit to match residents with services needed. For instance a big problem existed with pipes freezing and busting. The city could have established a list of residents who needs services alongside list of residents who were willing to provide the service.
Brack St. Clair
I thought the city did a good job of working through the disaster, managing crippled city services, while still assisting residents with their issues as well. The Saginaw Public Works Department was working almost literally 24/7 to help residents get through the disaster, and, although it was a difficult time, it was remarkable to see the city come together and help each other out.
9. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Sheri Means Hart
Nicky Lawson
I am very proud to be a Saginaw resident and love my community. I would be honored to represent the citizens of Saginaw as our council member. Please feel free to contact me for a personal or group visit. I am open to hear your concerns and issues.
Brack St. Clair
My Facebook page goes into more detail about who I am and what I am about (http://www.facebook.com/votebrack), and I am also available via messenger, email, or phone if any of you have questions or concerns.