Candidate Q&A: Lewisville mayor, city council

Election Day for the Lewisville City Council will take place May 5. Early voting runs from April 23 to May 1. Go to votedenton.com for voting locations. Below is a questionnaire for the mayoral and council candidates:

Mayor

Rudy Durham (incumbent)

Tim Phillips

Chief appraiser Denton CAD

More than 60 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

To work for Lewisville by continuing to move forward with the vision 2025 plan and working on transportation issues.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

To give back to the community.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same? Why?

The rate should be reviewed annually based on need, residents’ wishes and valuation fluctuations.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

Through the budget process, spending is allocated to various departments and projects. This is all subject to approval of bonds and emergencies.

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

Starting in 1989 with various committees, including the Planning and Zoning Commission, then in 1994 to the City Council until 2015 when I became mayor.

Why are you the better candidate for this position?

I have the history and knowledge of working with the city of Lewisville and wish to continue giving back to the community.

Winston Edmondson

Innovation consultant

29 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

Crime is a problem in our city. When I speak to the brave men and women on the police force, I hear the same thing over and over: Lewisville needs more police officers on the street. The national average for cities our size is 1.9 sworn officers for every 1,000 residents. That means Lewisville should have at least 200 police officers. Unfortunately, the City Council only provides the police department enough money for 158 officers. As mayor, the first step I’ll take is to look into establishing a Lewisville Police Reserve Force, to help put more officers on our streets and more resource officers in our schools. I’ve spoken to a number of retired law enforcement officers who would gladly volunteer their time to help make Lewisville safer if we had a reserve force, like they have in Frisco, Richardson and many other cities.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

I want to be the type of mayor who is an active and positive presence in the community. Leadership like that truly makes a difference. Just ask residents who lived here when Bobbie Mitchell was our mayor.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same? Why?

I would love to reduce our tax rate. In order to do that, we need to increase our sales tax revenues. As mayor, I want to help bring in new businesses to Lewisville. I recently met with an entrepreneur to help refine his idea for a sports complex. He’s now considering launching his business in the vacant Albertson’s building across from Lewisville High School. The mayor can make a positive impact on our efforts to attract new businesses and increase sales tax revenues.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I’m excited about our vision 2025 plan. I believe we’re spending money appropriately to make that vision a reality.

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

I currently serve on the Lewisville Zoning Board of Adjustment. I serve on the board of directors for the Wellness Center for Older Adults, a nonprofit organization that provides supportive services for seniors. I’ve served on several committees for Lewisville ISD, including the Strategic Design Committee, which developed the district’s new core beliefs, vision, mission and goals.

Why are you the better candidate for this position?

I’m the only candidate with a specific plan to reduce crime, increase civic engagement and make residents feel connected, like Lewisville is where they belong. You can learn more about my platform at ElectWinston.com. If you want a mayor who genuinely cares about your ideas and concerns, and who will be an active presence in the community, I’m asking for your vote. I need you to speak to your family, friends and neighbors, and get them to vote for Winston Edmondson for Lewisville mayor on May 5. Thank you.

Penny A Mallet

CEO president CKM Foundation, LLC

More than 20 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

As mayor, my objective is to provide transparency to the residents, help retain current business owners, create new businesses and create a new environment of entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to succeed in our community for years to come. Growing our Old Town area with both customers and activities year-round and keeping our city clean and beautiful. With the help and support of you, our community along the way, we’re sure to become #One Lewisville #One Community strong.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

I believe that a City Council should look like the community it serves and support.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same? Why?

No tax rate changes. The residents are dealing with enough now with health insurance and school security.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

Marketing within the Metroplex and the state and the country. Eat/shop/live

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

CKM Foundation, LLC

Keep Lewisville Beautiful

Lewisville Chamber of Commerce

Why are you the better candidate for this position?

After seven years, the residents need a change of growth and development plans to include small business owners and no the blue coin is not our solution to our current problems of growth. Increasing our current household income so that big businesses want to open stores in Lewisville and marketing to the new residents moving into North Texas that Lewisville is your unique city with a beautiful lake and low taxes.

Place 2

Ronni Cade

AMANDA RIDDLE

Owner of a construction estimating company for the last 21 years

47.5 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

There are numerous important issues that face Lewisville today. One that really stands out is the redevelopment of our older areas. This is a very critical time for Lewisville. We are facing the annexation of Castle Hills and reinvestments in Old Town. With the adoption of the 2025 Vision Plan it is extremely important to see that the foundation is properly set for that plan to be implemented correctly. We have crumbling infrastructure in our older areas that need attention and older strip shopping centers that scream enhancement.

Solving these issues will be paramount by working in a good faith partnership with the residents and business owners. The council can not have tunnel vision in any one area that needs addressing but must work together in a concerted effort as a team to see that the 2025 Vision Plan is carried through in a cost effective, expedient manner that is best for Lewisville as a whole.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

Lewisville is in a major transition right now and needs a strong, impassioned council member that is in it for what is truly best for Lewisville, not one’s self. Officials are not elected to be in power, they are elected to serve the people. I have a long history of serving Lewisville for well over 25 years in many capacities…not just an elected one. This is my family’s home – past and future. I am committed to Lewisville and will serve you with integrity and a genuine love for our city that runs six generations deep.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same?

I am pro effective rate or lowing it more. With property rates continuing to climb we have an opportunity to ease the burden of property taxes currently.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I feel like Lewisville has been quite lean in their spending. Each project needs to stand on its own merit and be carefully weighed.

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

Lewisville City Council 1994-98

Mayor Pro-Tem, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem

North Texas Central Council of Governments: Regional Conservation Council

National League of Cities

Women in Municipal Government

Lewisville Police Department Strategic Planning Committee

Graduate of Lewisville Citizens Police Academy

Access Lewisville 911

Old Town Historical Committee

Fire-House Fixin’s Host

Lewisville reserve firefighter

Interagency Task Force on Juvenile Crime

Greater Lewisville Community Coalition

Community Relations Committee

TIRZ 2 Board – chairwoman

Denton County Community Planning Committee on Crime

Denton County Health Advisory Board

Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County Board of Directors

LISD Adult and Community Ed Advisory Board LISD Criminal Justice Program Advisory Board

LISD Special Education Advisory Board

LISD Blue Ribbon Board Committee

Initiated Lewisville Teen Court

Denton County Substance Abuse Coalition

Member of Northview Baptist Church

Northview Baptist home team leader

2010 committee and 2025 vision committee

TIRZ 2 Board – chairwoman

Implemented the largest senior citizen tax cut in the history of Lewisville

Why are you the better candidate for this position?

Having been raised in Lewisville and being part of a family that goes back six generations here, I have a unique perspective that the other candidates in this race do not. I understand and have lived steeped in the traditions of Lewisville.

R Neil Ferguson

Self-employed information technology consultant; private mortgage note and real estate investor.

Over 28 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

Growth drives our most complex issues: available housing, rising housing costs, vanishing low cost housing, homelessness, pending Castle Hills annexation, traffic, long commutes, parking, more people creating more reported crime while per capital numbers drop, crowded classrooms, long lines, many anxious for changes while others oppose change, demand for immediate fix, knowing there is no single quick fix.

The solution? Combine knowledgeable city staff, resident-staffed boards and open resident input with City Council members who listen, then perform their own research to become fully knowledgeable and prepared, so each independently identifies their best course of action. Every council member must study what works and what doesn’t, both here and elsewhere, include legal and best practices, avoid wasted time, resources and mistakes, and define achievable results. Council’s final action then integrates all this information, filtering out skewed bias and “group think” and ultimately votes, selecting the most successful plan for implementation.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

A toolbox of directly related knowledge and experience, flexible time to dedicate, six years of perfect attendance that proves I will always be there, the opportunity to be part of a caring group choosing to give time to make Lewisville a better city and seeing the positive and lasting results are everything that drives me. What I do not have is any personal, party or political agenda axe to grind, notion there might be some sort of financial gain, an ego-driven desire for imagery power of public visibility or any other inappropriate objectives. Ask around, and anyone who knows me will confirm this is the truth. I do it for love of seeing the results. This alone is all the reward I need. I believe I bring much value to the table, do the job well and ethically.

In particular, my skill set includes a working knowledge of real estate, legal issues, retail site selection, technology, geographic information systems, network infrastructure, security issues, gas drilling, landfills, the full spectrum of the arts, large workforce management, very large budgets, reading construction and engineering plans, in-depth understanding of maps and aerial images, information platforms and databases, imaging technology, product and entity branding (including our city) and the list that goes on.

I provide the kinds of knowledge and resources that combine to create a decision maker made for this job, as well as a logistics planner, problem solver, idea creator and most importantly, innovator – someone who takes their ideas and converts them into functional solutions. I have a solid proven record of following through, not just talk that leaves everything for someone else to resolve.

Working on City Council, there is great personal satisfaction in making things happen and knowing the impact on the city and its residents, including myself, is meaningful, positive and lasting. This job costs me financially much more that it can possibly pay and requires considerable time out of my schedule I could use otherwise, but the payback is an enormous satisfaction of knowing, in return, I made my city of Lewisville better for everyone. That satisfaction keeps me highly motivated to keep going and continue to do more.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same?

Our current tax rate, which is one of the very lowest in all of DFW, provides a huge return on investment. City staff has consistently been lean, yet able to achieve the high productivity that offsets the cost of extra personnel. There are always requests for the city to do additional projects or extra work, but typically none ever account for any added cost, not realizing it means “paid for by added taxes.”

We could expand city services to do all kinds of projects, but it would require money. Nothing is free, and the city operates as a business, but must always run a balanced budget every year. So, the question becomes, “What else should we really be doing, and do we push taxes upward toward average DFW rates to take on more projects?” My first response would be, I am not for big government – I am for residents taking responsibility when it can satisfy a need. Keep Lewisville Beautiful is a prefect working example of exactly that. If only other people would not litter in the first place, which would solve the problem at the source.

The remaining answer lies in the pages of the resident-created and recommended 2025 plan. As long as we can address what residents told us we needed in that plan, we are on the right track with our tax rate. If we can’t address what residents told us to do within the tax rate while continuing all other basic services, then the tax rate must be reconsidered. However, at present, we are making great progress in accomplishing 2025 goals as described in the recent 2025 annual report sent to every address in Lewisville.

We are also fortunate to have healthy income from sales tax revenue and also from various fees and municipal fines and we are very fortunate to have our hotels that generate occupancy tax revenue, used to pay for large portions of festivals, concerts and other events like Colorpalooza and Western Days, further supplemented by significant business sponsors. That has allowed Lewisville to create destination activities we might otherwise not have.

Even so, there could be unexpected reasons the tax rate would need to be re-evaluated. A large natural disaster would result in big expenditures from cash reserves that must be kept available for that very purpose and are part of why we have achieved double AAA bond ratings. Were a disaster to drain those reserves, they cannot simply sit empty. Yet another disaster could come at any time. This is the same mistake that, along with poor city management, has sent other cities into bankruptcy. But unless, and until, that should happen, we have an adequate reserve fund specifically to address the unexpected.

The resident Blue Ribbon committee that produced recommendations for capital projects and bond funding noted that a small increase in property taxes could be necessary to pay for all of the improvements needed to keep the city in good shape.

That has yet to happen and will require keeping an eye on fund balances. But there is no need evidence this should have been done already. Only time will tell if it is needed, or collected revenue is adequate by itself.

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

As an elected official, it has included:

· Lewisville City Council Member – Place 2

· Past Lewisville Mayor Pro Tem

· Past Lewisville Deputy Mayor Pro Tem

· Current chairman: Crime Control and Prevention District Board – Place No. 3

· Current chairman: Fire Control, Prevention and Emergency Medical Services District Board – Place No. 3

· Current member: Lewisville Local Government Corporation – Place No. 1

· Current member: Lewisville Parks and Library Development Board – Place No. 4

· Board of Directors and city council representative: Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce

· Co-chairman: 2018 Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Gala

· Current chairman: Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce Large Business Retention Committee

· Regular attendee and city representative: Greater Lewisville Association of REALTORS – Governmental Affairs Committee

· Regular attendee and city council representative: Main & Mill Association monthly meeting

· Current vice-chairman, immediate past chairman and long-time member: Greater Lewisville Arts Alliance

· Current Board of Directors, past chairman, vice-chairman and secretary: Lewisville Lake Symphony

· Repeat testimony representing the city of Lewisville: Texas State House Committee on Environmental Regulations Regarding Camelot Landfill

· Lewisville City Council representative: Quarterly DFW area landfill meeting

· Lewisville City Council member: Washington D.C. “fly-in” meetings with key members of the House of Representatives

· Annual attendee: Texas Municipal League Conference

· Annual attendee: National League of Cities Congress of Cities

· Annual attendee: North Texas Commission Water Summit

· Annual attendee: Brown and Hofmeister “Hot Topics for Texas Cities” briefing on municipal legal issues

· Annual attendee: area State of the Cities presentations (2012-18)

· Grassroots organizer: Lewisville Neighbors for Responsible Urban Drilling

· Lewisville City Council representative at these and other events:

o VietTV anniversary celebration

o Barton Springs Watershed and Aquifer tour and lectures

o Lady Bird Johnson Center sustainability tour and lectures

o Lewisville Police Department’s annual awards ceremony

o Lewisville Fire Department’s annual awards event

o Lewisville staff awards ceremony

o Lewisville police and fire annual Battle of the Badges Softball Tournament

o Lewisville Fire Department’s annual “Keeping Tradition Alive” (KTA) City Hall event

o “Chalk This Way” annual Lewisville arts festival – an event I brought to Lewisville

o Dozens of chamber area business groundbreaking & ribbon cutting events

o Master of Ceremonies: Multiple MCL Grand concert events throughout the year, Including Texas Tunes series and Lewisville Lake Symphony concerts

A more complete list can be found in a calendar of activities identifying over 1000 events I have attended in the last decade by visiting my website at: electferguson.com/activities/

Why are you the better candidate for this position?

If you want results, chose a candidate who has been getting results. Anyone who wants to do this job should begin by demonstrating to voters their willingness and availability to dedicate a portion of the time actually required to fulfill the obligations of the elected office on a regular basis, and for at least a year if not longer. This will be proving both to yourself and the public that you are committed to making part of the sacrifice required.

I have been and will continue to be at all official city meetings, not to mention countless other meetings and events, to consistently represent residents every time, without excuses or business conflicts. I have been at every regular and special session council meeting, plus every workshop session, for six straight years. Without that ongoing detailed interaction with every facet of the city’s complex and fast-moving business, never missing a beat, it would be impossible to understand the full rationale behind critical decisions, the details of city plans and agreements and all work in progress leading to final decisions on pending actions.

Only regular attendance at council meetings for at least the past year, including all workshops, retreats and budget meetings, can give anyone a sample of that insight, so they could hit the ground running and be productive if elected. And it further proves a candidate has the passion to do this job to their fullest to start by giving up a part of the time they will be required to once elected, but do it before they run, and not simply the desire. Even if you miss a few, at least be there for all of the budget meeting, all of the retreats in local cities and the majority of workshops and council meetings. Otherwise, you are more a burden to progress than a contributor.

If you cannot do that already, don’t expect voters to believe you understand what it takes to do this job today and that does not begin to include taking time to research and prepare on your own. Think of it basic training. If you can make that level of commitment before running for office, you may be ready to keep it afterward. As is often said, past behavior is the best indicator of future actions.

The other reason is, I began producing lasting and significant results years before I was on City Council, followed by serving on boards and commission, then finally stepped that up several levels by being elected to City Council Place 2. Since being first elected, I have watched the city and the council shift into a new high gear with more complex operations and projects, driven in part by the 2025 plan and in part by the increased complexity of everything that affects life in a city our size.

In short, I have delivered real, tangible changes for the better while on council, some of which are listed above, and many with long-term impacts like the city authority over Camelot Landfill expansion and the new Performance Dashboard. I am also unafraid to state a dissenting opinion when I believed in it, and vote no.

As I stated up front, if you want results, chose a candidate who has been getting results. We all have ideas. I get new ones constantly. The question is, what do you do with them? For myself, I am very hands-on, working them to achieve visible results that directly affect quality of life Lewisville, keeping my pipeline of initiatives and projects constantly moving forward.

Mary Smith

13 years in Lewisville

What is the most important issue facing your city and how would you solve it?

An important issue facing Lewisville, from my perspective, is the number of homeless and at-risk teens. Many of our teens are falling into the pressure of doing drugs, which often leads to addiction. This critical issue isn’t something that can be conquered by a small group of people; we will need the entire community working to ensure no teen is homeless. If selected as the City Council Place 2 representative, I would propose collaborating with existing organizations such as Kyle’s Place or Safe Haven to expand their efforts. We will also need to utilize the City Council platform to educate parents and friends on warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse, types of drugs or what to do if your friend is homeless. It’s in our best interest to give our existing organization, homeless and at-risk prevention programs, a louder voice.

What is your motivator to want to serve on the City Council?

My motivator to serve on City Council is to provide a new voice and help facilitate the necessary to enhance the lives of individuals in the community and future residents.

Do you feel the city’s tax rate should be raised, lowered or kept the same? Why?

Kept the same, but we should revisit the subject as the city grows.

Is the city spending money in the right places? What would you change, if anything?

I believe the money is being spent in the right places, but I would also work to include funding for preventing teen homelessness. Our budget currently allocates money for Denton homeless issues, but there isn’t funding for homeless teen’s issues.

What’s your history of community involvement in the city?

· Lewisville Housing Finance Corporation Place No. 4

· Lewisville Industrial Development Corporation Place No. 2

· Lewisville Independent School District Facility Advisory Committee

· Lewisville Independent School District Back to School Fair Volunteer

· New Beginnings Feeding the Homeless Volunteer

Why are you a better candidate for this position?

Through my time as a resident of the city I have developed a unique ear for the community needs and wants. Interacting with people of different social and economic statuses daily, understanding their stories and reasons for residing here. Using that unique information and my social ability combined with an enhanced platform, I have no doubt we can provide consistent change to the community.

Source Article