As an outspoken advocate for representative government, I generally support an appointment over either a special election or leaving a vacated seat empty. That’s because representative government means that those who are elected make decisions on behalf of the citizens that elected them, rather than a direct democracy, where the people vote on every issue that requires government action. More importantly, I believe that those elected should truly act as representatives of the people whose actions reflect what they believe the majority of citizens would do if the opportunity to decide went before voters. However, most elected officials act more as trustees, doing what they think is best, regardless what the majority opinion of the people who elected them think. Exceptions to this Fundamental I’ve been outspokenly unambiguous to highlight
This morning, as one of my first official actions as mayor, I attended Rockwall County’s annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, which coincides with the National Day of Prayer. One of my long-time political colleagues, Kelly Shackleford, who is the CEO of First Liberty Institute, which is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. He shared stories about the growing encroachment of local governments and schools that have been trying to restrict the religious liberty of citizens. The event is privately funded.
Recently I’ve received questions from concerned citizens who live both inside and outside of the Sonoma Verde [SV] development, much of which stems from fundamental misunderstandings regarding the development’s Public Improvement District [PID] and the annual tax bill SV homeowners receive from the Rockwall Central Appraisal District. In an attempt to circumvent further misunderstandings, which have led to simmering disharmony between some, I’ve posted a Q&A under the “Answers” menu option (third, after “Home” & “About”) regarding the SV PID to ensure that the fundamental facts regarding it are not overlooked.
Tonight, by unanimous consent of the council, I was appointed to fulfill Nathan Hodges’ unexpired term as Mayor. I will immediately begin working to set an agenda that will propel our efforts to limit the size and scope of our city government, more about which I will be sharing details in the coming weeks and months. I have already decided to run next May to keep the seat, because much of what needs to be accomplished will take more than a year.
The current sales tax rate in McLendon-Chisholm is 7.75% (6.25% goes to the State and 1.5% goes to the City of McLendon-Chisholm). The survey results showed overwhelming support for the city to increase the sales tax rate, which is why the City Council voted unanimously to call a Special Election to propose a ½ cent increase that would make the City’s sales tax rate 2.0%. If the proposition is approved, the sales tax rate in McLendon-Chisholm will be 8.25%, the same rate charged by all other cities in Rockwall County. This fulfills my campaign promise that any increase in taxes should only come with the expressed consent of the people. That’s representative government!
Immediately following last night’s public hearing where there was no opposition to my proposed change to the city ordinance, which will free homeowners who successfully complete a TCEQ class, from the unnecessary burden of paying for an annual contract with a septic company to “maintain” their system, passed unanimously. In my March 27 post, Let Homeowners “Maintain Their Own Septic System, I explain why the only impact that this ordinance will have is on the pocketbooks of citizens who take advantage of the exception, as they will no longer be saddled with the obligation of paying for something that they can easily do themselves. I wish to express my sincere thanks to citizen Herb Harker, for bringing this issue to me and for the considerable amount of time he invested to research
It’s an incontrovertible fact that Sonoma Verde is a beautiful planned development in McLendon-Chisholm. I have supported the efforts to make the development the best that it can be and the fact that I think it should never have been built in our city doesn’t change that. Recently, however, three of my key supporters who live in Sonoma Verde made me aware that my ongoing fight against those city leaders that approved the development, among their other actions, can come across as animosity towards those who live there, which for me is a most regrettable consequence that is not a true reflection of my heart. My frustration was, and has always been focused on those current and former city leaders who, even after their attempts to mislead and deceive citizens failed to stop
Before the close of Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Mayor Nathan Hodges, who was elected last May, announced his resignation as Mayor of Mclendon-Chisholm, effective April 4. The announcement came as a surprise to both the citizens present and the City Council. Reading from a prepared statement, Hodges cited the expanding workload at his dental practice as the factor that prompted this decision. I know that I am not alone in extending my gratitude to Mayor Hodges for his service to the city of McLendon-Chisholm over this past year.
First, if I didn’t have a septic system, I might look at my proposed amendment to the current city ordinance as crazy. My amendment will allow homeowners, who have successfully completed the basic TCEQ course, the option of maintaining their own septic system and thereby be exempted both from contracting with a licensed maintenance provider and providing maintenance reports to the city. Some bristle at the thought, presuming that homeowners who opt-in would not fulfill the obligation of regular “maintenance” on their systems. However, I will explain how the current requirement does not accomplish what it was intended to do and how this deregulation will have literally no negative impact, though it will save homeowners who take advantage of this, a lot of money! The problem with the current ordinance
Citizens who have had to endure the sounds of heavy trucks and construction continuing at all hours of the night and morning can now rest a little more peacefully. During last night’s city council meeting a new city ordinance was unanimously approved, which limits construction times, especially in residential and planned developments. This also means that heavy trucks can’t drive through your neighborhood and sit idle waiting for 7 am to roll around. If violations occur, it’s best to get a picture or license number of the vehicle(s) and notify the city of the offense. Violators can be fined $500 per offense. The new ordinance will soon be available to review on the city website.