Top Ten Priorities
Adopt the Effective Tax Rate to keep your taxes flat for at least two years to get a handle on the out-of-control tax and budget increases (40% on existing homeowners in the last five years; 50% on all property types)
Critically evaluate the budget to drive maximum value and eliminate waste (e.g. Public Works spending increased only 24.1% in five years while Public Works “Administration” grew by 163%)
Allow the Plano Tomorrow Plan to be voted on by the people, as they lawfully petitioned for years ago
Preserve and enhance our suburban quality of life by responsibly managing our growth and development to ensure population growth is modest (we are already more than 10% over-populated according to the max population called for when the city was built out)
Extend dedicated left- and right-turn lanes where feasible to alleviate turning traffic spilling into and blocking the main thoroughfare
Re-time our traffic lights at least annually (ours have not been re-timed for more than three years, despite increased traffic and evolving traffic patterns)
Drive implementation of bio-filtration coupled with ozonation in ALL water stations in the North Texas Municipal Water District, as was done in the Dallas Water District, to eliminate the need for the annual “chlorine burn” and give us clean, safe, pure water at ALL times
Publish ALL relevant financial information on the City Budget Portal—including Income Statement, Balance Sheet, etc. so that all Plano citizens can easily understand how their tax dollars are being used
Publicly release city council meeting agenda and materials a full week in advance rather than the Thursday night before the Monday council meeting
Create a city council voting record web page on the city's website so anyone can look up any council member’s vote at any time, with links to all relevant information provided for the vote, to provide far greater transparency and voter information
The property tax issue in Plano--and the rest of Texas--is out of control. Plano's city property taxes on existing homeowners increased 40% in just the five years from 2014-2019.
In 2020, new legislation passed by the Texas Legislature will limit the extent to which local taxing authorities (cites, counties, school districts, etc.) can raise your taxes without you being able to vote on it; for cities, that's 3.5% per year, but I'm proud to say we didn't wait for January 1. As one of my first acts in office, I'm proud to have kept taxes flat for the first time in 24 years. That's right--no new taxes!
Get educated in the future. Some boast about lowering the tax rate while in reality, your actual tax burden has increased. Do you care about the rate, which is just a ratio? Or do you care about how much of your actual money is going to the tax man?
When questioned, cities point the finger at the School Districts, saying, "They take even more in taxes," and the School Districts points the finger at "Robin Hood," which takes 1/3 of the School District tax revenue, and everyone points the finger at the County Appraisal District whose only job is to try to figure out the market value of your home.
Most advocate taking ever-more of your money--money you could use for your children's education or your own retirement--but few champion responsible stewardship of your tax dollars to drive maximum value. I do.
The #1 job of any city is public safety, and I'll make sure our brave men and women in Police and Fire have both the coverage and the equipment they need to continue to make Plano one of America's Safest Cities. I started this year by voting to approve full funding of Police and Fire, with a pay increase.
Population Density & Urbanization
Plano already has the 2nd highest population density of any city in Texas our size or larger. You can feel it in the worsening traffic, and greater density means greater strain on city services. This came to a head with the contention over the Plano Tomorrow Plan--the comprehensive plan which has been tied up in a lawsuit for the past four years.
One of my very next acts on council was to push for a new comprehensive plan, dubbed Plano United 2050, which is now in the works, including the creation of an ad hoc citizen committee to ensure the plan is reflective of the people of Plano.
We want Plano to continue to be a beacon to people all around the world, and rather than give the signal of "Full steam ahead!" to increasing urbanization and growth, I will work to ensure the growth we do have is measured and carefully managed to ensure that whether you've been in Plano all your life, or are new to the Plano family, the attractiveness of our community and the quality of life that you came for to begin with are preserved and enhanced.
The chlorine burn comes every spring. A 2019 Herald Banner article says, "While a nuisance and possibly worse for those with a high sensitivity to chlorine, NTMWD officials maintain that the chlorine levels are well within safe standards”
I don’t expect my water to be “a nuisance or possibly worse.” I expect it to be clean, pure, and safe at ALL times, and I will fight hard to make sure the North Texas Municipal Water District implements bio-filters in a timely fashion and is subject to the stringent oversight for which the area City Councils are responsible.
Transparency & Accountability
Citizen participation in local government is alarmingly low. Part of this is because it's difficult for citizens, with our busy lives, to follow what's going on--especially with budget and taxes. I want to foster as much citizen engagement in our local government as possible, ensuring everything is out in the open, and closed meetings are strictly limited to the provisions in the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The City Council's #1 job is oversight, and when it comes to taxpayers understanding where their money is going, I'll work to make the process as transparent as possible, so the people can hold their elected representatives fully accountable.