Pockmarked streets and a desire to create a more desirable image for outside visitors dominate the thoughts of all three candidates on the May 4 ballot for Madisonville City Council.
In short interviews with all three of the candidates – Dale Kovacs, Jessie Jaenicke and Brady Dion Taylor – each of them independently circled around similar infrastructure and repair issues that plague the city.
All were aware that the money to renovate city water lines, roads and other beautification efforts will be hard to come by, but are unanimous that continued focus on such matters will be essential through the next cycle of city government.
Early voting began last week for city and school board elections. General election day is May 4.
Dale Kovacs, the only sitting member of the Madisonville City Council on the May 4 ballot for city elections, keeps his vision his service as an alderman grounded. Even if that means underground.
“You know, we’ve got a lot of problems with our water lines,” he said. “But we’ve also got to improve more of our streets.
“It’s just all got to be in the budget.”
Kovacs, elected to the council in 2015, also has some visions for Madisonville that rise above the streets and underground infrastructure.
“I’m really intent on helping beautify our city,” the former member of the city’s Building Standards said. “I want people, when they come here, to want to stay.”
Kovacs pointed toward Lake Madison Park and its Splash Pad as the kind of improvements he’d like to see, though not at the expense of repair and reconditioning of city streets.
During his first four years on the council, Kovacs said he’s found simple pleasure in helping run the city, praising everyone from his fellow council members to city employees, the police department and the fire department.
“I’ve enjoyed working with all of them,” he said. “I like getting stuff approved.”
Jessie Jaenicke is looking for a promotion. The chairman of Planning and Zoning for Madisonville the past three years, he feels he can make a greater impact on the city’s senior panel.
“I just want to move up and get on the council and try to improve the city,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of bad roads with potholes and that should be addressed.”
For years, Jaenicke has helped the city with a unique volume: He runs the sound production for city events like the Fourth of July celebrations and even DJs for the Christmas parade.
“I just like to get involved,” he said.
Jaenicke, like the other candidates, looks at Madisonville’s crumbling infrastructure and wants to direct the focus of the council on improvements.
Jaenicke hopes that his city involvement over the past number of years might help him clear one hurdle that he wrestles with: He’s a Midway native, though one who moved 11 miles down Highway 21 years ago.
“I’ve got a lot of support, but the problem is it’s outside the city limits,” Jaenicke joked. “I know a lot of people. My wife knows a lot of people. I’m hoping my chances are pretty good from that.”
Brady Dion Taylor
After retiring for a spell from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Brady Dion Taylor spent five months working in the Madisonville Water Department, a stint that really opened his eyes to the city’s infrastructure issues.
“It did give me a new perspective on how things can be done better,” Taylor said.
Not that anything is new in regard to aging water lines having trouble in the city, he said.
“It’s kind of been an ongoing problem as far back as I can remember, and that’s way back,” the 31-year resident of Madisonville said.
Taylor left the water department after five months to return to the TDCJ in 2014 (he had retired in 2012 after 28 years on the job), though it wasn’t the city’s outmoded water lines that inspired the move.
“It was the pay,” he admitted. “It was just a little lower than I could get going back to the state.”
Like the other candidates, Taylor expresses a desire to make Madisonville a more attractive place for visitors and other outsiders, hopefully attracting a business or two along the way.
“I want to help oversee city projects for beautification, roads, pavement, all of that,” he said. “I want to improve the city, but really I just love helping people.”