JONES CREEK — As Terry Jeffers seeks his second term as mayor, Alderwoman Nicole Hardesty would prefer she serve her first.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Hardesty, 50, lives in Jones Creek with her husband of 13 years, Tim Hardesty, and their 14-year-old daughter, Sierra. She is a shelter director at the SPCA of Brazoria County and has been and alderwomen since 2019.
Her experience working in a nonprofit organization has taught her a tremendous amount about the responsibility of managing taxpayer dollars, she said. Her strong leadership skills, as well as her communication skills, have given her the relevant experience needed to fulfill my duties as mayor, she said.
Hardesty began Animal Awareness Day in Jones Creek and continues to serve on its committee, chairs the beautification committee, and is PTO president and past volunteer of the year at Stephen F. Austin STEM Academy. She is also the co-club leader for the Jones Creek 4H Shooting Club and served on the SPCA board from 2018-20.
Jeffers, 67, was born in Freeport and raised in Clute before making his way to Jones Creek in 1974, where he lives with his wife Mary. The pair has four children together, Cory, Janna, Tammy and Brandi.
Jeffers is an HVAC business owner and has been a maintenance supervisor in the petrochemical industry. Before becoming mayor, Jeffers was an alderman for nine years and served as mayor pro tem.
His community involvement includes multi-term past president of Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 3111 and the organization's past District 2 president. He has received many outstanding service and outstanding citizen awards for his work with ”People helping People” charities, he said.
He is a lifetime member of the Eagles, NRA and Brazoria County Fair Association. He participates in all community affairs, including Christmas in the Creek, Pie Day, Animal Appreciation Day, City Wide Garage Sale, National Night Out, Veterans Day Parade, Prayer Day and BCCA.
Each candidate was asked to respond to a set of identical questions specific to the office they seek. The answers were limited to 200 words each and are presented alphabetically with minimal editing.
Early voting continues through Tuesday. Election Day is May 7. The winner will serve a two-year term.
Several businesses proposed for Jones Creek were rejected on the grounds they would change its “small town” feel. What types of business do you think are best for the village?
HARDESTY: The “small town” feel of Jones Creek is what is so appealing to most residents. There is a feeling of community throughout the village. We have industry moving in all around us, yet we have been able to keep our small-town appeal.
Businesses coming to Jones Creek is not the issue, it is the type of business we need to evaluate. We do not want to introduce businesses that will infringe on our rural lifestyle; however, quaint shops, restaurants and other family-friendly businesses would add to our charm.
We need to create a plan for growth that will allow desirable businesses to thrive within our community. This plan needs to be structured to allow for the protection of our rural landscape and protect our water and air quality. We need to think about what could bring tourism to the area to attract investors to make an investment in our community.
JEFFERS: First, let me say this: Everyone that lives in Jones Creek lives here because they do not want to live in a bigger city, such as our surrounding cities. I aim to keep it that way. I'm all about less government encroachment and being harmful to our community industries.
As a Home Rule city, we have to abide by the state laws and rules. However, we do not have to and should not pass any ordinances that are stricter than state laws.
As for the best business for the village: We could use an old-fashioned hamburger place and the existing stores need to start carrying a little produce and/or meat. And maybe a barber shop or hair salon.
What areas of the city need to be focused on when it comes to drainage and sewage and why?
HARDESTY: I know all too well how important drainage is in Jones Creek. Our home, along with many of my neighbors, flooded during Harvey. This was one of the main reasons I ran for council in 2019. We formed a drainage committee and they have pinpointed and prioritized the areas that need to be addressed most urgently. These areas have been worked on over the last three years and work continues as the drainage committee makes recommendations to the council.
We work closely with the West of the Brazos Drainage District to clean and maintain the various outfalls that allow water to flow away from the city.
As for sewage, there are no plans for city sewage.
JEFFERS: We do not have any major sewage issues. Everyone has their own sewer systems and is encouraged to maintain them.
As for drainage from rainwater issues, we have already addressed many and are currently focused on Robinhood Lane and a few Courts (Nelson Court) in the Terrace, and Live Oak Drive. We are still working on flooding issues and a way to keep the Brazos River in its banks and out of Jones Creek.
A proposal for a new community center and renovated city hall in recent years didn’t get much traction. How much of a need is there for improved facilities for local government? What would you like to see done?
HARDESTY: I am in favor of the city building a new city hall and community center. Our city has grown substantially over the last several years. The activities and responsibilities of our employees have grown as well.
The small office space currently being shared by City Hall, the Marshal’s Department and the Village Court are becoming cramped. There is little storage space available for the large amounts of necessary paperwork they must keep in the offices. We also need a more secure area for our court officers and employees.
In addition to the benefits for the employees, the community would benefit from a large facility to hold community events such as National Night Out, Christmas in the Creek, Animal Awareness Day and Pie Day. These events have increased in size, and a larger city hall and community center will allow us to expand our events. A larger facility will also allow us to accommodate more community-oriented events.
I would love to see a museum incorporated into a new city hall facility. Jones Creek is so rich in Texas history, and it would be wonderful to showcase that history to encourage tourism and education.
JEFFERS: I think you have been misinformed about the traction. The village has purchased 5 acres with the intent to build a new city hall and community center. We have had many yards of fill materials hauled in and are currently getting ready to spread these materials. We have a meeting scheduled this next week with a metal building erecting company in order to get an estimated cost for a new building so that we can then appropriate funding.