Will and I recently stopped by the newest Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District's Dedicated Monitoring Well site on the ESD 4 property near Burnett Ranch Rd. As Commissioner, Will was instrumental in getting Hays County to partner with the HTGCD and other entities to get these monitoring wells drilled. These wells allow the district to gain vital information regarding water levels and water quality. I am honored to carry on these efforts to ensure our groundwater conservation districts have the necessary scientific data to protect our natural resources and our property rights.
“In the County Commissioner’s office, I work every day to reduce bureaucratic wastefulness, improve public safety, make our roads safer, and ensure that tax dollars are spent with the utmost respect for those who pay them.”
Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell
Lon Shell is a local small business owner and was appointed Hays County Commissioner for Precinct Three in October 2017. Prior to his appointment as commissioner, Lon served as Hays County’s Chief of Staff for seven years, where he worked closely with previous Commissioner Will Conley to coordinate major county projects throughout the precinct, including disaster recovery in the wake of devastating flood events in recent years.
As Chief of Staff, Lon put his business background to work for Hays County, spearheading efforts to pass conservative budgets and adopt the county’s lowest tax rate in over 20 years. He also led the effort to develop and pass a tax freeze for senior citizens and improve countywide emergency communications. Learn more about Lon.
On Tuesday, March 6th, we will have the opportunity to vote for representatives across multiple levels of government that will impact the future of our community. Over the last few months we have heard candidates express why you should vote for them. I believe you should be able to make your choices based on facts and the issues important to you. For this reason, I am humbly asking that you consider the following information as you make your decision regarding the future leadership of Hays County. I am Lon Shell, your current Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner. I also served you for 7 years as Hays County’s Chief of Staff where I worked on county operations and the budget. I am a native of Hays County, received a mechanical engineering degree from Texas A&M University, and worked in Houston and Dallas before returning home over 12 years ago to start my business and raise my family. I am proud of what has been accomplished in one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. I believe we must continue to responsibly plan for our future and manage growth by improving the safety on our roadways, protecting our natural resources, and ensuring we maintain our investment in public safety. We will continue to find ways to reduce the tax burden on our citizens by leveraging county dollars with funding from other sources, reducing bureaucratic waste, and finding efficiencies in our operations. Lowest tax rate in 20 years—Hays County has the lowest tax rate in over 20 years and of 25 taxing entities within the county including schools, cities, and emergency service districts, Hays County is one of only three to have a lower rate today than 10 years ago. When inflation is considered, I pay less in county taxes today than I did 10 years ago. My county taxes account for less than 25% of my total property tax bill. Brand new senior tax freeze—The County has no control over any other taxing entity and does not set rates or appraised values for those taxing entities. I support our state’s recent efforts to limit the ability for our local governments to increase our taxes because they are the right thing to do, and because in my tenure with Hays County, we have never come close to the capped amounts proposed by the legislature. I have spent the last seven years of my life working hard to make sure increases in your property taxes are not because of your county government. An example of this dedication is the senior tax freeze, which ensures any senior citizen over 65 or disabled citizen will never pay a dollar more in county taxes, regardless of the tax rate or the value of their homestead. Conservative governance—I am committed to providing the highest level of service for the lowest cost possible. We are proud of the accomplishments of our Veteran Services Office, park projects like Jacobs Well, and safety improvements to our roads. We have been able to provide these services and recover from the two largest natural disasters in our County’s history, with the average tax payer in Hays County paying approximately $1,000 per year in County taxes, a figure that also pays for law enforcement, local courts, and other core local services. High savings account—Hays County has a balanced budget, and never spends every dollar that is budgeted. Instead, these unspent dollars are allowed to roll over into our savings. This fiscal responsibility has resulted in the highest savings and the highest credit rating in our history. Hays County’s financial strength has saved the county over $25 million dollars in debt service costs. Of Hays County’s debt, the overwhelming majority has been voter approved. I am committed to never issuing any debt that has not been approved by the voter unless it is in the event of an emergency. Innovative cost savings—To offset some of our voter approved debt, $133 million in payments that has been pledged by the Texas Department of Transportation for improvements to state roads within the county. This year the State of Texas will reimburse the county $8 million, which is over 30% of our total debt service. I, like most of you, wish our county government did not have to finance work on state roads. However, without our agreement with the State and other voter approved debt, we would not have many of the improvements and projects in our community that many of us use and enjoy. Recovering to be safer and stronger—During 2015 Hays County was challenged with two devastating floods. I spent months within the affected areas assisting our residents and leading recovery efforts. During that time, I found my desire to serve this county to be stronger than ever. Our citizens, first responders, county leaders and thousands of volunteers dedicated their lives to the recovery efforts. The pride in watching our community come together in the wake of such tragedy will remain with me as long as I live. Because of our spirit and determination, I truly believe Hays County is safer and stronger than we have ever been. Endorsements we trust—I am endorsed by former Commissioner Will Conley, Wimberley EMS Director Ken Strange, Sheriff Gary Cutler, Hays County Veteran Services Officer Jude Prather, the Hays County Law Enforcement Association, the Hays County Fire Chiefs Association, Constable Ray Helm, and Congressman Roger Williams. Please visit votelonshell.com to learn more about me and the reasons why I am so passionate about serving my community. Serving this community is the honor of a lifetime and I would appreciate your vote and support to keep up the important work we have started. God bless, Lon A. Shell Hays County Commissioner, Precinct 3
As your Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner, I have worked hard to ensure your tax dollars are spent responsibly. I have served you with honesty and integrity and will continue to do so as long as I am able to serve. Unfortunately, along with the political season and current election comes the usual rhetoric and misinformation used by candidates for their own political gain. An example of this is can be found in my opponent’s recent comments regarding the Hays County Jail Project. His quote “the overpriced jail currently being built which costs the same as the Comal County Jail but is 1/3 the size” could not be further from the truth. Like most of what has come out of his campaign, this is another example of misinformation. Comal County and Hays County have two distinctly different projects. Comal County is building an entirely new jail and repurposing their existing jail into a public safety facility. Hays County is remodeling our existing jail along with an addition of new support service and detention areas. We are building a new public safety facility at a different site. Because of these differences Hays County’s jail cost will be less than Comal County, however Comal County will spend less for their Public Safety Facility. For the Jail Project, Comal County will spend $70 million for 585 beds with capabilities for future expansion to 900 beds. Hays County will spend $70 million for 613 beds, with capabilities for future expansion to 1100 beds. Also included in the Hays County Jail project is a fleet maintenance facility and a training academy. I wish we did not have to build a new jail, however law enforcement and the judicial system are two core responsibilities of County Government. The State mandates that we house inmates and provide a court system at our expense, and over 60% of your tax dollars go towards these services. I have worked hard to find efficiencies in our operations and will continue to do so, however I will not jeopardize the future and safety of our County in order to win an election. I am the only candidate to have the support and endorsement of our law enforcement community, the emergency service community, and other community leaders and public officials, including the Hays County Law Enforcement Association, Sheriff Gary Cutler, Constable Ray Helm, the Hays County Fire Chiefs Association, Wimberley EMS Director Ken Strange, former Commissioner Will Conley and Congressman Roger Williams. I would appreciate you support as well.