Race for Wichita Falls Mayor: Stephen Santellana

Updated: Oct. 31, 2018 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Two candidates have their sights on the Wichita Falls mayor seat.

Incumbent Stephen Santellana and former police officer and veteran Lowry Crane.

Stephen Santellana has served as Wichita Falls mayor for the last two years.

He grew up in the area and is now raising his children here and running his businesses.

“25 years of business experience that I'm applying everyday,” said Santellana.

He said that makes him the best candidate for dealing with the city’s finances.

“A lot of people say I’ve signed the back of a check as well as the front of a check, and I’ve been able to do that,” said Santellana. “When you have employees there’s tons of employee issues that lend to that wealth of knowledge that you can bring.”

His goal is not to run the city like a business, but to run it business like.

A reason raising taxes is something we have not seen him do.

“We don’t plan on raising taxes, we’ve been very good stewards of taxpayer money," he said. “I think we can hold the line on taxes another year, that would be four years in a row.”

He adds that a lot of years considering the city has not been growing.

“That just shows the amount of effort we put in to really tightening our belts,” Santellana said.

However, some say his support for passing a bond election last May that gave residents seven bond propositions to vote on tells another story.

“My opponent would say I had a 23-percent increase out there, well sure if you do the math there's a 23 percent increase, but it's not like I built the buildings and raised taxes 23-percent,” he said.

He said what he did do is ask the citizens what they found worthy to move forward with and did not expect all seven bond propositions to pass.

“Not everybody voted for everything, and much like myself we weren’t in there just punching the ticket on every single one of these items,” said Santellana.

He said he and city councilors had to pick and choose according to their own family budget.

He adds the bonds were an effort to promote growth, something the city has not seen in 50 years.

What is it going to take to make that happen?

Santellana said bringing people in and getting people to stay by enhancing quality of life, adding jobs and improving schools.

“It’s really a collection of things that we have to do, and that’s why we’ve gone through a year and a half long in depth economic study,” Santellana said.

City leaders used that study to see what they need to do, and Santellana said they are now doing those things.

Like helping downtown, Sheppard Air Force Base and Midwestern State University continue to grow by meeting with them, collaborating on projects and supporting them.

“We want to help them grow, we want to be able to grow with them,” he said.

Mayor Santellana said he is not done working to better Wichita Falls, and feels he is the right person to lead the city.

“If you take from the time I’ve graduated from MSU, all my community involvement, my business experience, my time on council, I think it really lends to me being the best candidate for mayor,” said Santellana.

We reached out to Lowry Crane’s campaign team and were told to send in our questions and they will get in touch with Mr. Crane to check his schedule. We will have those answers for you when they get back to us.

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