Visit my BLOG section to view almost a dozen videos where I take a stand on the Issues. Below are my top three priorities.
While there are numerous important issues facing the City of McKinney, I have outlined my top three priorities below:
1) Promote fiscal responsibility in the budget process. The city’s budget has increased significantly over the past several years. The current FY 2017 Budget for McKinney – according to the first page of the budget on the McKinney website – increased 9.91% over the previous year, which includes new home sales. The budget and tax rate adopted by the City Council last year increased property taxes by 7.19%. I certainly understand and appreciate that a growing city will have growing needs, including staff, infrastructure, and capital improvements, but almost double digit increases are unsustainable and risk taxing homeowners out of their homes. At a minimum, I will advocate that any future budget increases be tied to either inflation or population growth over the previous year.
Here’s the facts: According to the City of McKinney, our population grew by 3.1% last year, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI, a leading inflation indicator) grew by 2.7% for our area. Our budget is significantly outstripping our growth, and I simply want to control the growth of government.
It should be noted that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has made tax relief a top priority for the 85th Texas Legislative Session currently underway. The Texas Senate has recently passed S.B. 2, a bill that will reduce the current rollback rate from 8% to 5% and require any local tax increase above that percentage be submitted for approval by the voters in an automatic “rollback” election. Given this reality, it is imperative that the City of McKinney act now to bring our revenue increases in line with the anticipated new rollback rate and seek to control future growth of government to be consistent with population or inflation increases.
2) Increase our commercial tax base. The latest figures released by McKinney show that the commercial versus residential tax revenue ratio is 19% commercial versus 81% residential. This is the lowest commercial revenue percentage of any of the five big cities in Collin County. It is a necessity that we grow our commercial tax revenue relative to our residential tax revenue!
McKinney has a well established reputation across Collin County as a city that’s difficult to do business with, whether we like it or not or agree with that assessment. While I believe this reputation is starting to change and improvements have already been made by the current council and new city manager, I do not want to be complacent and assume all our issues are resolved. I will advocate for a complete top to bottom review of our policies, procedures, and ordinances as they relate to McKinney’s ability to quickly respond to current and future development opportunities. It is ultimately the responsibility of the city council to attract and retain new business. I want to streamline our process, identify policy or ordinance deficiencies, and equip our staff with the resources they need to move projects forward and respond quickly to new opportunities.
3) Respect and protect private property rights. From the proposals regarding U.S. 380 to the lawsuit filed by the City of McKinney against Arch Resorts and Collin County, I believe that we must respect private property rights and do all we can to get homeowner feedback on issues facing the city before votes are cast at City Council. The failure at the ballot box in late 2015 of Proposition 5, the bond proposal for a parking garage in downtown, is a great example of the city’s failure to get buy-in from historic district property owners or downtown business owners before pushing through a doomed bond election that never had a chance to pass. It is never easy to properly communicate complicated and multi-faceted policy and project proposals to an expanding electorate, and we can never make everybody happy with a decision of the council. Having said that, I will work with our council, city manager, community leaders and citizens to disseminate valuable information on upcoming initiatives as much as possible, and strive to get feedback from those most effected before I cast my vote at Council on a project or policy decision.
Of course, there are other important issues facing the city in addition to the ones I have outlined above. A number of other issues I am focused on are as follows:
• Downtown Parking: McKinney must expand downtown parking significantly, adding at least 500-750 additional spaces, preferably the bulk of which coming in the next 2-4 years. We need to have parking garage and lot options competitively bid and seek citizen input *before* putting proposals to a vote at Council.
• Roadway Expansion. McKinney must expand existing roadways and construct new roadways to address increased traffic and congestion. Any road expansion or building project must be weighed against any negative impact the project may have on private property owners, and the cost and benefits of each project compared with other possible routes and proposals.
• 380 Bypass. There are currently three proposed 380 bypass routes, and I am on record as opposing all three routes. I am an ardent private property rights advocate, and the fact is that all three routes would significantly impact the home values along the proposed routes, specifically in Heatherwood, Walnut Hill, and Tucker Hill. We are growing, but we must do so in a responsible manner than does not infringe on the rights of private property owners or devalue their homes.
• Aging Infrastructure and System Water Loss. The City Council and city staff has already identified the fact that are infrastructure and water lines are aging and in need of repair and replacement in multiple locations. This is a high priority and I will continue to monitor and promote a systematic process to address this problem.
• Budget and Taxes. There is no candidate more committed to holding the line on taxes and actually *reducing* your overall tax burden than me. I have the track record to prove it, and I am the only candidate that has vowed to vote against ANY tax increase and work to adopt an effective tax rate (no annual tax or tax rate increases), in addition to cutting wasteful spending that will actually reduce your property tax bill.