Weatherford Democrat

February 20, 2014

MEET THE CANDIDATES: The race for Precinct 4 County Commissioner


Weatherford Democrat

— The WD recently sent questionnaires to the candidates in contested county races in the March 4 primary elections. The candidates were asked to provide background information and answers, in 300 words or less, to questions posed to them. Early voting begins Feb. 18. Today we look at the Republican primary candidates for Parker County Commissioner, Precinct 4. There is no Democratic opponent.

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Name: Steve Dugan

Occupation: foreman, Parker County Precinct 4.

Age: 56

Family: wife, Kelley, married for 35 years; son, Brian and wife, Christie; daughter, Emily; grandsons, Brennan and Kyran; and granddaughter, Stevie.

Education: graduate of Weatherford High School; attended classes at Weatherford College.

Professional affiliations: received Certified Jailer License Cultural Diversity certificate; TEEX certificate in traffic control and safety, drainage and pavement management.



What are your top three goals should you be elected to serve? Please be specific.

1. To locate and purchase a 10-15 acre tract of land suitable to relocate some of the precinct’s operations. We are the only precinct operating our office, parking equipment, storing road material, hosting a recycle center and holding county clean-up day on 4 acres.

2. To broaden our working relationships with the towns and cities in Precinct 4, as well as the other precincts. Last year we leased the City of Weatherford’s hot crack seal equipment and they leased our reclaimer. A great benefit and savings to both parties. It is important to maintain a good working relationship with the other precincts to ensure efficiency and stability within the county. With eight and soon-to-be nine towns and cities in Precinct 4, working together will save taxpayers money and lead to better roads.

3. To be a good representative for Precinct 4, not only in road and bridge, but to be a good steward with the General Fund. A lot of department heads and elected officials count on the court to listen to their needs as their responsibilities grow. The taxpayers depend on the court to adopt a budget that will provide needed services with the lowest amount of taxes.



The transportation bond projects approved by voters in 2008 are nearly complete. What is your opinion on what has been accomplished and what, if any, are the next steps the county should take?

A lot of great improvements came from the transportation bond. Most importantly it was approved by the voters. I know a lot of businesses suffered during construction and I hope that this could be better addressed in any future bonds. With the growth steadily coming to Parker County, I think we should continue preparing a plan for future bonds, assessing the cost, and present it to the voters for their approval.



Earthquakes — and their possible link to injection wells used tor fracking waste — have been an issue for some Parker County residents recently. Do you think the Texas Railroad Commission should increase the monitoring and reporting done at these wells?

When you have citizens concerned for their safety and their property, then YES, it should be examined. I don’t know how much the Texas Railroad Commission is doing now, but certainly we need to know if there is a link to the earthquakes and fracking.



Please comment on the $1.3 million road & bridge fund deficit brought to light in this year’s budget talks and the court’s decision to give up individual fund balances.

Not being in attendance at budget workshops and sessions with the court last year I can only say that there should not be any surprises and it is fortunate that the precincts had enough fund balance to cover it.



Do you have any strategies to limit tax increases as the county grows? If so, what are they?

Welcome positive growth. With positive growth coming into Parker County, so does increased tax revenue. The trick is to make it balance. I will continue to work directly with our road crews to ensure efficient and conservative solutions to meet today’s challenges. I will work with and support all county officials and department heads that show the same commitment and conservative values.

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Name: Fred Hammons

Occupation: King Ranch, transportation specialist; major restaurant franchise; general manager.

Family: single parent of three grown children; sons Michael, 27, and Jason, 23, and daughter, Angela, 25.

Education: graduate of Burleson High School. Attended Tarrant County Junior College and continuing education courses through Texas A&M University; graduate of Fort Worth Police Academy and licensed Texas peace officer, firefighter and EMT.

Professional affiliations: Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association; vice president of the North Texas Association of Public Employees; National Rifle Association; lifelong conservative Republican.

Community involvement: volunteered more than 13 years and 25,000 hours to the citizens of Fort Worth as a reserve police officer; volunteer Texas firefighter and EMT; actively involved in the Walsh Foundation for the past 12 years; FEMA disaster specialist; Hurricane Ike strike team member; Hurricane Katrina victim relocation team member.



What are your top three goals should you be elected to serve? Please be specific.

1. Ensure a smooth turnover of responsibilities of the Pct. 4 county commissioner’s office.

2. Meet with Pct. 4 staff.

3. Identify available resources and prioritize pending projects.



The transportation bond projects approved by voters in 2008 are nearly complete. What is your opinion on what has been accomplished and what, if any, are the next steps the county should take?

Like it or not, growth is inevitable. As a longtime resident of Parker County I, like many others, have particularly observed the rapid growth in East Parker County. I believe we have done an adequate job of being proactive in keeping up with the increased demands on our infrastructure but there are always ways to improve and be more efficient with our taxpayer dollars.



Earthquakes — and their possible link to injection wells used for fracking waste — have been an issue for some Parker County residents recently. Do you think the Texas Railroad Commission should increase the monitoring and reporting done at these wells?

With all the research done on the recent earthquakes in areas close to fracking operations, it’s easy for one to conclude there may be a link caused by wastewater injection.

With that said, further research indicates that new regulations are to take affect in 2014, which hopefully will soon provide more definitive causation of the earthquakes.



Please comment on the $1.3 million road & bridge fund deficit brought to light in this year’s budget talks and the court’s decision to give up individual fund balances.

As a fiscal conservative, my foremost thought is how can I be more efficient with our hard-earned taxpayer dollars and how can we mitigate the tax burden placed on the current generation of taxpayers and future generations.

Having worked many years in major construction/infrastructure projects and also as a heavy equipment operator, I know full well the amount of wear and tear placed on our roads and bridges.

Furthermore, I’ve often found that if we do not properly maintain our roads and bridges we are likely to cause an undue burden of reconstruction and rehabilitation costs onto future taxpayers and that failure to be proactive and act is not fiscally responsible.



Do you have any strategies to limit tax increases as the county grows? If so, what are they?

While out on the campaign trail meeting my constituents, I’ve heard all too often about alleged inefficiencies, waste, fraud and abuse of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

With my track record of managing personnel, managing budgets, intrusive leadership and taking a fledgling major local franchise, operating in the red and now in the black with sustained increased profits for over a decade, I have no doubt I can turn things around, increase productivity and reduce budget expenditures and inefficiencies.