I’ve already prepared the staff and City Council for long agendas and meetings, which will be our new normal. State law prohibits the council from meeting outside of an official open meeting, so when we do assemble, I intend for us to take the opportunity to address as much as we possibly can. I’m excited that finally every member of our city council is aligned with the majority of citizens of M-C. All of us are solidly committed to limiting the size and scope of our city government while preserving our wide open spaces and more rural lifestyle that most moved here to enjoy.
On March 3, our city received a request (which is actually just a state-mandated legal formality) to create a $41 million Water District for property that exists in our city’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction [ETJ], which began a 90-day clock for the city to respond (June 3 deadline). As a “General Law, Type A City,” we have absolutely no ability to stop or control developments that may be built in our ETJ. In fact, our city’s zoning rules and ordinances have no teeth, especially when a developer creates a “water district,” which provides the water supply and sewer treatment infrastructure necessary to sustain high-density housing, which includes apartments and businesses. Though all of our ETJ exists inside our fire district, those properties pay no city property taxes. Currently
The first city council meeting has been scheduled for this Saturday morning at 9 am. If I was uninformed about all of the facts that have led us to schedule this meeting for that time, I’d be a bit confused as to the reasoning. So to try and mitigate misunderstanding, here are the facts that led to this decision: First, it is important to understand that McLendon-Chisholm is a “General Law Type-A City,” which means that, unlike our neighboring cities that are “Home-Rule,” we are governed by the laws of the state, while they make many of their own rules through a City Charter. Therefore, state law dictates the manner in which we conduct city council meetings. State law establishes that our two newly elected
Voters also approved the sales tax-rate increase, bringing our rate equal to that of all our neighboring cities. While it’s not a huge benefit to the city revenue, a consumption tax paid by those both in AND OUTSIDE our city lifts some of the burdens off the backs of property-taxpayers. It can also bolster the city council’s ability to lower the tax rate, as property taxes continue to climb. This ballot measure demonstrates my commitment to letting the people give consent before raising taxes.
The Central Appraisal District has done it again! Most properties in Rockwall County saw another marked increase in the assessed value, which means another big jump in property taxes hence, more revenue to the County, City and School District. However, as Councilmen Wayne Orchard, Jim Herren and I have been emphasizing, our goal is not to grow our city government, but limit its size and scope. A government can’t grow when (1) funding is limited and (2) elected officials prevent deficit spending by staying on a budget. Thanks to Councilmen Orchard & Herren, we successfully changed inspection service companies, which will not only save the city money, it will actually increase revenue to the city as new homes continue to be built! For these reasons and more,
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!