As Wendie Wigginton and Ben Hangartner advance into the next phase of going after a City Council seat, both are taking recent points of division among Celina residents into account.
Both Wigginton and Hangartner will move forward to a runoff race slated for Dec. 8 after neither candidate could win a majority as part of a three-person race for Place 4 on the Celina City Council. Hangartner and Wigginton both earned more votes than incumbent Carmen Roberts in the Nov. 3 portion of the race.
Wigginton said she thought the race resulted in runoff without Roberts because Roberts had been on the council for about 12 years.
“She brought in all the big development in the beginning, which was amazing,” Wigginton said. “It helped them begin growth, but I really think that this year above all others, we have seen things in the news, we've seen things relative to events that are occurring within the city that created a want by citizens to have some new blood in office.”
Wigginton said issues that had recently “popped up” had changed peoples’ perspectives. She mentioned issues related to water billing.
“This has been ongoing, and folks are saying there’s no transparency on the part of the city to explain why we have higher sewer and water billing than anyone else in the area of North Texas,” Wigginton said.
Hangartner also said the topic of water billing was dividing the city.
“I feel like someone with a leadership mindset needs to be able to come in there and not point fingers but be able to come in and say 'Alright, let's identify what the problem is and let's work towards a solution,' instead of causing division,” he said.
Going into the runoff portion of the race, Wigginton said she and Hangartner generally talk about the same topics, but that they differ when it comes to their candidacy.
“The difference in our perspectives is I think that growth and development is only one piece of what it takes to be a city council member,” Wigginton said.
She said she is able to look at city decisions independently and holistically because she doesn’t have a business that operates within the city. She also said development and growth was just one part of what the City Council handles.
Hangartner said his experience with the city resonated with voters who cast their ballots for him in November. He mentioned his 11-year tenure on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“So I've got a really good grasp of city government and kind of how things are progressing and how the city being led and the direction that we're going,” Hangartner said. “And so I think the folks that were kind of in our camp, I think they all recognized that experience and appreciated that and identified me as a strong candidate for city council based on my experience.”