The Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee presents the
2013 Voterâ€™s Guide November 5, 2013 SPECIAL ELECTION City Elections District 3 Kurt Johnson Bill Nash
Place 7â€”At Large Max Coleman Jeff Copeland R.J. DiLena Charles Womack
Crime Control and Prevention District Election On behalf of the Grand Prairie City Council, the Grand Prairie Crime Control and Prevention District Board is asking voters whether or not to approve using excess Crime Control and Prevention District sales tax collections to hire more police officers, and pay for their salaries, benefits and equipment. Visit www.gptx.org/crimecontrol for more information.
Early Voting begins October 21 and runs through November 1 Election Day is November 5, 2013 We invited our candidates to provide a brief biography and to address a few issues. We have shared their responses on the following pages. The Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce did not edit for spelling, grammar or content.
City of Grand Prairie
Special Election District 3 Kurt Johnson My name is Kurt Johnson; I’m a native of Shreveport LA. I have been a residence of Grand Prairie for almost 15 years. I’m also a retired Navy Lieutenant Commander of 25 years. During this period I successfully completed my Bachelors of Business and Masters of Business Administration degree. Since then I have obtained two additional Masters in Kinesiology and Sports Management. My awards and decorations while in the Navy include the Meritorious Commendation Medal, Joint Service Commendation Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and United Nations Medal-Haiti. I’m also affiliated with numerous civic and professional organizations such as the Commission on Aging City of Grand Prairie, NAACP Veterans Affairs Chairman for the State of Texas, Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program, and President of Grand Prairie Weed and Seed Program. As a spiritual man and servant leader for Jesus Christ, my goals are to support my loved ones and my community. Given the opportunity to serve as the District 3 City Council member, I will serve my community as I have diligently served my country for the past 25 years. Questions: 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office? I’m qualified because I feel it is important that our communities have representation on the views and concerns for the people of Grand Prairie. I was a graduate of the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Leadership. While involved in this course it provided insight on the wonderful things that Grand Prairies has to offer, the goals that have been accomplished, and the improvements could be implemented as we evolve in this next decade. While in office, my goal is to accomplish the following: Maintain Property Values – By ensuring code enforcement has the tools needed to perform their jobs and guaranty the continued beautification of our city. Increase Public Safety – By utilizing our excessive crime tax to fund a phased in approach to increase the law enforcement of Grand Prairie. Economic Development – Create and support business retention and development through outreach and relationship building to strategically provide the resources and the climate to promote local business.
City of Grand Prairie
Special Election District 3 Kurt Johnson, Page 2 Support for the School District – the school district need more support and as we grow there needs to be more discussion about increasing the number of elementary schools. 2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? -Housing and Community Improvement Commission July 2010 - Present - Disabled Services Commission August 2003 - July 2007 -Founding Member and Former President of the Grand Prairie Unity Coalition - Grand Prairie Rotary Club -Former President, Grand Prairie Weed and Seed -Former President, Grand Prairie NAACP and Lifetime Member -Former Chairman Veterans Affairs, Texas State NAACP -Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity -Volunteer for Meals on Wheels -Recognized by the New Orleans City Council for volunteering during Hurricane Katrina I have had the privilege to serve on Disabled Servicing Commission, this is very near to my heart because I’m a disabled veteran and several of my friends were also wounded while serving our country. I’m presently on the Housing and Community Improvement Commission. 3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? The economic development in Grand Prairie has had wonderful growth within the last few years. The impact of Highway 161 and the various road expansions has provided our city with tremendous growth. I feel the challenges that Grand Prairie is being faced with are the following: ·
There is undeveloped land in the far southern section of the city that could generate more income if there were more road expansions, it could ensure property values are maintained. We must market that area to increase retail development. I would like to empower the citizens to vote for to possibly rezone that area for more restaurants and outdoor activities.
Increase the city’s online database to incorporate for social media to get more feedback and assistance from the citizens. This would enable them to have more of a voice.
Continue downtown revitalization by partnering with neighboring cities to increase our infrastructure and add municipal transportation.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election District 3 Bill Nash I, BILL NASH will be working very hard. I have many friends and family members. We will be walking, knocking on doors, I want everyone to know why Iâ€™m the best candidate to represent DISTRICT 3 and all the citizens of this GREAT CITY.GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU BILL NASH.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election District 3 Lila Thorn As an active participant of the First Baptist Church, Lila Thorn is dedicated to the families and businesses that call Grand Prairie home. A licensed realtor since 1972, Lila has been a member of the Grand Prairie Board of Realtors since 1995 and served on several committees, acting as chairman of the TREPAC committee. She joined the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce in 1995, becoming a member of the board of directors in 1998 and the executive board in 1999. Lila eventually served a year as chairman of the board of directors in 2006. She's also been a member of the chamber's Women's Division and the Branding Iron Committee since 1995. But Lila hasn't spent her life acting solely for the businesses and homeowners in Grand Prairie. She's a past member of the Grand Prairie Soroptmist Club and has served on Board of Directors for the LifeLine Shelter for Families, Inc. since 2008, acting as president in 2009 and 2010. Lila isn't a stranger to serving the city of Grand Prairie. She was appointed to the Commission of Aging in 2003 and the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals in 2004. In every organization she's been a part of, Lila has been recognized for her dedication and service. In 1999, she was named Affiliate of the Year by the Board of Realtors. The Chamber of Commerce awarded her the Branding Iron of the Year in 1999, Chairman's Award in 2008 and Citizen of the Year in 2010. She was also named Volunteer of the Year in 2003, Woman of the Year (Athena Award) in 2004 and International Woman of Distinction (Ruby Award) in 2011. Questions: 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office? Bill's legacy of excellence for the City is reflected in the growth and progress during his tenure on the City Council, and I will continue that legacy. My involvement with the City through Bill's tenure and with the boards, commissions and committees give me a unique perspective of how our city operates. I am prepared to represent the residents of District 3 by listening to your needs, helping to facilitate job growth, continue providing world class service to our citizens and focus on expanding infrastructure that supports our growing transportation needs. Economic Development â€˘ Continue support Grand Prairie's reputation of being a City that is cooperative to work with. â€˘ Listen to concerns and needs of businesses that are currently doing business in Grand Prairie and help coordinate solutions
City of Grand Prairie Special Election District 3 Lila Thorn, Page 2 • Be attentive to the needs of our Economic Development Department Streets and Transportation • Keep abreast of the status of our service roads on 1-20 which is already funded • Keep our constituents informed as to the Camp Wisdom Road improvements that will be a joint effort between the City and the County Public Safety • It is imperative that our City use its excess revenue to hire additional police officers. As our City grows, so does the need to have additional officers and tools to keep our citizens safe. 2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the city of Grand Prairie? * License Realtor since 1972 * Affiliate Member of the Grand Prairie Board of Realtors since 1995 and served on various committees * Member of Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce since 1995 * Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Board since 1998* Member of Grand Prairie of Chamber of Commerce Branding Irons * Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Executive Board * Appointed to the Commission on Aging for City of Grand Prairie in August 2003 * Appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals in August 2004 * Lifeline Shelter for Families, Inc board since 2008 * Lifeline Shelter for Families, Inc Board President 2009 and 2010 3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? Let's look at what we have accomplished: • Earlier this year we opened the new sub courthouse located at 106 W Church St. This two-story 32,000-square-foot building houses the local county government which includes District 4's Truancy Court, Justice of the Peace Court, tax office, Juvenile Probation and Constable offices. • Revitalization of Main Street • Our new outlet mall is becoming a destination and the surrounding restaurants are enjoying the effects of increased business. • Highway 161 is a definite plus to help relieve our traffic rushes. Certainly this is of benefit to our growth. • Looking ahead, the upcoming public hearing on proposed improvement to SH360 is set - just another step of our infrastructure to support our growing transportation needs. • As many of you know, Bill was an active participant in Tex-21, which is the statewide association promoting highway and street programs that speak to the rapid growth we are experiencing in Texas. Fortunately, I accompanied him to most of the conferences and therefore am willing to continue the participation and work in this area. It seems to me that we continue to accomplish much with working together as a team. I hear frequently how "user friendly" our City is to work with. That's a big plus to continue our growth.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7—At Large Max Coleman My Dad, Max Coleman: A Life Dedicated to Grand Prairie -By Alicia Coleman, Phd Max arrived in Grand Prairie, Texas, in 1954 with his family when his father became an employee of Chance Vought Aircraft, Inc. Relocating from Tennessee, his family lived first in Avion Village, then later in the Inglewood addition. The future entrepreneur attended school at Crockett, Milam, and Lee , and spent his free time swimming at cottonwood park and building a three wheeled ice cream cart to sell ice cream. In high school, Max worked for several well-established Grand Prairie businesses, such as Rocky Stone Pest Control and Eddlemon’s, before he graduated from Grand Prairie High School in 1967. Following high school, he married his high school sweetheart, Sylvia McIntyre and attended UTA as a business major. While his wife Sylvia raised Great Danes In the early 70’s, that gave Max the idea to open John Paul’s Pet Grooming salon in Marshall Plaza which he later sold in 1974 and is still here in GP at Marshall and 8 St. In 1975 Max began working at Green Thumb INC. ( Division of Ralston Purina). As there regional sales manager, Max was over greenhouse’s, trucking and sales associates for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. In 1978, Max and Sylvia had their first daughter Alicia. In December 1980, they welcomed their second daughter Danielle. On April 1 1980 Max started his own plant business, Green Foliage & Supply, INC with a $1500 loan by Jim Swafford from Midway National Bank. In the mid 80’s he started Interiorscape Service Company which he later sold to Roxanne Mankin and is still in business today. In 1984 after obtaining an interstate authority Max diversified into hauling fresh and frozen meat. In 1987 their third daughter Colleen was born. In 1990, Max started a dry van division with one truck and one trailer and grew to 28 trucks and 125 trailers. In 2009 Max sold his trucking company keeping the freight brokering, safety divisions and commercial real estate which he manages today. th
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large Max Coleman, Page 2
Questions: 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office? I have experience in taking complex concepts and breaking them down into understandable tasks. Those tasks become the puzzle pieces to reaching attainable goals. City government is complex and I have already taken steps to understand how it works and I know how to lead us to a successful future. For the past few months I have spent my time talking to citizens of Grand Prairie learning what they expect from our City. Thought we have been extremely successful at a number of things, there are times when we have not met the citizenâ€™s expectation. As a representative of the City at large I see it as my responsibility to either meet the expectation of our tax payers or to make certain they have an understand of why the expectation cannot be met. I have also availed myself of the opportunity to sit in on City Council sessions and our council is a very congenial group and I have to wonder how they so readily agree often voting together on issue. This creates the appearance that decision making is not transparent to the citizens. You would think that if each item were considered by each individual council person, we would have varying views on issue and therefore votes reflect that individualâ€™s thinking. While in office, before voting on issues, I will listen to my constituents. My focus will be to make certain citizens understand the reasoning behind every vote I make. I will serve my district and represent the voters. I will make every effort to bring YOUR vision to the forefront. 2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I have paid business taxes, real estate taxes, and provided jobs for the citizens that have worked in the companies I have built. I think that while I was in business that was the strongest commitment/contribution I could make to the City. After much success this area, I find it is now time to engage in different ways and to give back to the city that has been a great place to raise a family, to live and to play. So I started looking for opportunities to serve. I found myself first in Leadership Grand Prairie learning about the different aspect of how the city functions and was struck with the conviction that I could do more, so I started volunteering at the chamber of commerce and in so doing was able to assist a events that allow the chamber to be a resource for the business community. I have met State representative, County Commissioners and Senators that represent Grand Prairie.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large Max Coleman, Page 3 I have also started to meet with various business people in Grand Prairie to determine how I can best serve my City. Then I met with the Small Business Development Center that services Dallas County and learned that there are a number of businesses that Grand Prairie should be pursuing to come make their home here where they can create jobs for our citizens and support our city through their economic impact.
3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? Grand Prairie has a unique opportunity in that we are not close to being built out or land locked. We are centrally located for commerce in the U.S .and with plenty of real estate to build on and an abundant work force of young qualified workers to offer new and existing businesses we are in a great position for expansion. As a City, we have been preparing for the anticipated growth on Hwy 161 and the 360 extension to 287 for a long time, so the infrastructure that is in place, or in the process of placement has us poised for explosive growth.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7—At Large Jeff Copeland I have been a resident of Grand Prairie for 36 years. I graduated from South Grand Prairie High School where I played football and was Student Body President my senior year. As a proud SGP alumnus, Grand Prairie’s original crown jewel has always been, and forever will be known as The Gopher Bowl to me. Some of my best memories are walking down the Gopher Bowl’s tunnel on the night we played Grand Prairie High and seeing the stadium packed for another cross town rivalry game. We won one of those games, and lost one, and I feel blessed to have gained perspective from both outcomes. My mother Sandi Morrison raised me as a single mom and has worked in the title insurance industry in Grand Prairie since 1975. She has been very active in the community as is her mother (my grandmother). Mom was awarded “Woman of the Year” by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce. Both Mom & Granny are active members of 1st Baptist Church in Grand Prairie. I attended the University of North Texas on a football scholarship and graduated with a BBA in Marketing in 1989. I have been married to my high school sweetheart Melanie for 23 years. Her mother and father both worked for GPISD. Melanie earned her BBA from Dallas Baptist University in 1989. I followed my mom’s footsteps into the title insurance industry and began my career with Fidelity National Title in 1989. I worked as President of the El Paso operation for two years, Executive VP of Fidelity’s D/FW operation and later President of the Fort Worth operation. I resigned from Fidelity in 2000 and took 6 months off to travel with my family. I spent 18 months as a mortgage loan officer before returning to the title industry in 2002. I was Executive VP for Safeco Title which later became Title Texas. Title Texas sold to Heartland Security Insurance Group in 2006 and became known as Federal Title Inc. I was named President of FTI in 2007 and remain in that position today. I am also on the Board of Directors of Heartland Security Insurance Group based out of Tyler Texas. Heartland is a Christ based, family owned, $65 million debt free, highly diversified insurance holding company. I am proud to say that I led Federal Title, Inc. through some of the hardest times our industry has ever seen. Although we had a couple of years with losses, we have been able to manage two years of profits through very tough times. I have been active in the community, primarily as an auctioneer for more than 7 years now. I have been awarded the following by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce: 2007 Chairman’s Award, 2009 Citizen of the Year, 2011 Man of the Year.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7—At Large Jeff Copeland, Page 2 My wife Melanie and I have two children. Our son Curt is a senior at Texas A&M majoring in mechanical engineering. Our daughter Hayley is a senior at Bowie High School. We are active members of The Church on Rush Creek Mira Lagos in Grand Prairie, and share the duties of leading a Home Team Bible study group. We have a Christ based marriage, and we have no greater joy than knowing that our children are Christ followers.
I was a football coach in the Grand Prairie Youth Football Association both before and during my son’s youth football days. While attending South Grand Prairie High I was head coach of a little league baseball team. I’ve always been passionate about being a positive role model to the youth of Grand Prairie. I’m an avid outdoorsman and my family shares that passion with me. I also enjoy dirt track racing though my heavy auction schedule has not allowed time for racing the last two years. I want to give my areas of expertise to a community that has the vision to convert an old K-Mart into a state of the art headquarters for our Independent School District, and had the courage to convert an old Food Lion into a beautiful convention center. Grand Prairie is my home and I have seen firsthand where we have been, where we are currently, and my desire is to be a part of Grand Prairie’s future.
I love our home town, and my goal is to keep Grand Prairie on the right path, through continued economic development, safe neighborhoods, beautiful parks and recreation along with strong Fire and Police service. I stand ready, willing and able to serve and ask for your support. Questions: 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office? I have been the President of Federal Title Inc. for the last 5 years, which is an independent title insurance agent licensed to do business throughout Texas. During my tenure as President, real estate became ground zero of a global economic collapse. Like every title insurance company during those times, we saw our revenue decrease by almost 60% within a matter of months. I was able to lead my company through a devastation that was not of our doing, and beyond our control to stop. Many life lessons were learned during this process, and many of them will apply towards the leadership that is needed for Grand Prairie. Real estate taxes are a huge portion of the city’s budget, and through my career I’m uniquely qualified in both real estate as well as multi-million dollar budgets. I am blessed to be endorsed by the MetroTex Association of Realtors. These are the Realtors that help people buy and sell property all over Grand Prairie. Realtors have a pulse as to what Grand Prairie is all about. To have such an in-tuned, prominent group take a long look at each candidate in this race, and choose to endorse me speaks volumes towards my abilities to both lead, and serve.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7—At Large Jeff Copeland, Page 3 Through my business experience, I have learned how to stretch a dollar and avoid wasteful spending. I have learned to look at every expense item to determine its value towards the over all good. I’m capable of making the tough decisions that sometime have to be made, despite not being the most popular decision. I will communicate with potential new business owners from a position of “been there and done that.” It’s imperative that we make Grand Prairie business friendly, so that we can create new jobs within our city. New jobs mean new houses. New houses mean new citizens that will support Grand Prairie businesses. I have also been endorsed by the Grand Prairie Police Association, as well as, the Grand Prairie Firefighters Association. These are the fine men and women that keep our neighborhoods safe, and stand ready to serve our community at all times. I am blessed that our everyday heroes feel that I would offer them the most support on our City Council. To gain the respect of these men and women that put themselves in harms way on our behalf is incredibly humbling to me. 2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I served a stint on Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as an alternate for about a year. I went on the committee being a strong advocate of property owner’s rights, and remain one today. However, after hearing so many cases you begin to understand how certain property owners can over step their boundaries, while remaining inside their property lines. A great example is the gentleman who built a four story “storage shed” in his back yard in the middle of a subdivision! For the safety of everyone involved we had to remove that building. My point is that each case is individual and must stand on its own merit. A good leader must approach each situation with an open mind, listen to the experts, feel the pain of those passionately involved, and then make the decision that is best for the community. The majority of my service to Grand Prairie has come as a charity auctioneer. I’m blessed to have been able to help many Grand Prairie charities raise money to better serve our citizens. I was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award in 2007. The Chamber of Commerce then honored me as their Citizen of the Year in 2009. Most recently in 2011, the Chamber of Commerce named me their Man of the Year. Each of these awards was very humbling because they certainly were not my goal as I set out to help my community. I’m blessed to use my God given talent to serve our community and honored to be recognized.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large Jeff Copeland, Page 4 3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? A rising tide floats all ships! As the southern section of our city continues to grow, so does our revenue stream from additional property taxes. We must spread the new revenue throughout our city to improve existing infrastructure. I plan on being very active with land developers and home builders to create exciting and dynamic new communities throughout our city. Iâ€™m excited to talk to potential new business owners about moving their headquarters to Grand Prairie, and creating new jobs for our residents. With the opening of 161 we have a tremendous opportunity to impact our city for decades to come. I feel we need the right mix of both residential and commercial development along 161 in order to give our citizens a balance they deserve. More great shops and businesses coupled with beautiful parks and recreation, safe neighborhoods, quality city services, and increased fire and police protection is the direction I feel we need to keep Grand Prairie headed.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large R. J. DiLena -- Reynold James DiLena M.D. --Archbishop Stepinac High School- graduated 1970 --Manhattan College (#1 in college class)- graduated with B.S. Chemistry1974 --Georgetown University School of Medicine- graduated with M.D. -1978 --OB/Gyn residency- Walter Reed Army Medical Center- 1978-1982 --Army Medical Corp.-- Rank-Major-- Co-Chairman Dep't OB/Gyn, Nurnberg, Germany -1982-85 --DFW Medical Center- Grand Prairie- (Department Chairman)--arrived July 1985 --Office at Mid Cities Medical Center Building- Grand Prairie- 1985- Present --Married and living in North Grand Prairie (Nottingham) --Wife -Shelby DiLena and 2 daughters -Natalie 6 y.o. and Chloe 5y.o. -- Hospital AffiliationsTHR- Arlington Memorial Hospital MCA- Medical Center of Arlington Texas General Hospital- Grand Prairie Questions 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office? I am qualified to serve on the City Council as I have been a resident and a business owner in Grand Prairie for over 28 years. I am an OB-GYN physician, with a large racially diverse practice and I have helped thousands of people and their families benefit over the years. My job as a private doctor and as a hospital surgeon involves a level of public service and compassion that are important attributes for being an elected official. A large hospital is like a small city with the same essential structure of staff, management, budgets, public policy, infrastructure, utilities, capital investment, security and public safety. Perhaps the most important element of all is leadership, trust, and exemplary customer service. My goals to accomplish in public office are to keep Grand Prairie growing in a fiscally conservative manner and to continue to improve economic development opportunities that result in a better quality of life for its residents and businesses. We need to make sure we take care of all the basics like sewer, water, streets (fixing our potholes) and public safety for our current residents. At the same time we need to make sure that Grand Prairie is a good place for new private investment and for opening new businesses, and for growing our existing business and property tax base. Attracting private investment in new neighborhood retail, restaurant, art and entertainment mixed use, is
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large R. J. DiLena, Page 2 important for the betterment of our neighborhoods; as is reduced transportation, improved air quality and a better quality of life. My role as the Councilmember at large is to be a "go to" public official who will be able to help all current citizens and our new residents work with city staff and city management to find solutions, cut through red tape and get things done. As a physician and part of the national healthcare system, I am uniquely qualified as an expert to cut through red tape and institutional complexities to help people get the services and the benefits they need. I am a financially fiscally conservative candidate who understands how the property tax base needs to grow, how new sales tax revenues need to be generated, and how new jobs help drive the economic engine of our city. We want Grand Prairie to be as attractive a community for investment in existing and new businesses, and also to be as attractive a place for new residents as anywhere else in the metroplex. Logistically we sit in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth and we are surrounded by some of the fastest growing communities in the United States, with one of the most stable and diversified regional economies in the nation. Working together with other public officials and staff, I hope to better leverage these core assets into strategic, positive, and dynamic improvements for Grand Prairie.
2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I have served the city of Grand Prairie as a medical practitioner for almost 30 years. I have devoted my professional career to a large and racially diverse practice, helping tens of thousands of people and their families benefit during this time. My career as a doctor and as a hospital surgeon involves a high level of trust, public service and compassion that are essential attributes for being an elected official. A large hospital is like a small city with the same essential structure of staff, management, budg-
ets, public policy, infrastructure, utilities, capital investment, security and public safety and perhaps the most important element of all is LEADERSHIP, TRUST and EXEMPLARY customer service. I believe that I am uniquely qualified to serve on the Grand Prairie City Council, so I am asking for your vote on November 5, 2013.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large DiLena, Page 3 3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? Economic Development is critical for Grand Prairie, and not just for infrastructure purposes, but for the overall city's future and for maintaining our quality of life. Attracting stable and sustainable business investment and real estate investment to Grand Prairie is critical and we should continue to market our city to the real estate investment community. Corporate relocations, existing business expansions, new housing, retail, office and restaurant, and entertainment investment- are all critical to our community. New investment increases the property tax base which generates new revenues for the city of Grand Prairie. New sales from these businesses generate new sales tax revenue for the city of Grand Prairie. New jobs and additional purchasing power drives additional new investment and new housing, property tax and sales tax, and thus, the economic development cycle is complete. This type of smart growth, well managed investment in sustainable development, and the creation of new businesses is what will generate critical new revenues for the City of Grand Prairie. These new revenues must be properly budgeted and strategically allocated to better improve our existing infrastructure and to improve our city services (water, sewer, roads, sanitation, parks, public safety, health and community affairs, among many others). In addition, these resources must also provide for the proper planning for future public investment in our future infrastructure needs, and other public improvements. Economic Development is critical to the future of Grand Prairie and I will work tirelessly with our city manager, Tom Hart, our economic development director, Bob O'Neal, our excellent city staff, and with other elected officials to make Grand Prairie one of the most attractive communities in the metroplex, for both real estate investment and new business investment. There is an endless array of available economic development tools and we will use "every tool in the toolbox" to create the best business and community investment platform possible. So please vote for me.
City of Grand Prairie Special Election Place 7â€”At Large Charles Womack My name is Charlie Womack and I am a life long resident of Grand Prairie. I attended Grand Prairie public schools and graduated from Grand Prairie High School. After high school I served in the United States Army as an infantryman in Vietnam, and I was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. After the Army, I attended the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated with an Accounting Degree. I went to work for a large, industrial equipment distributor in Irving, but after several years in the corporate world, I started my own business. I have been a small business owner for more than 30 years including, most recently, Johnson's Lawnmower Shop that I sold in 2011. My wife Debbie and I are the proud parents of Jonathan, and we share our home with 2 dogs and 2 cats. In what little spare time I have, you might find the family and I enjoying some time fishing on Joe Pool Lake. Questions: 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? What do you hope to accomplish while in office?
I have 30 yrs. experince of operating a small business in Grand Prairie, and I know the importance of planning, budgeting, forecasting and good customer service. Financially Grand Prairie is in a very postive position and as a City Council Member, I will continue to have a positive effect on the economic development of the city. 2. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? During my 30 years of 10 hr. days, six day work weeks and raising a family I had little free time to volunteer but I supported the city by donating to any civic cause when asked. For many years I sponsored athletic teams who were able to take advantage of the wonderful parks here in Grand Prairie, and on a lighter note, I have also trained every black bass in Joe Pool Lake not to be fooled by whatever bait I put in front of it.
3. What is your view on the economic development of Grand Prairie and its impact on infrastructure? The construction of the service roads on I-30 and I-20 will allow for new business development along these corridors and we need to make sure this project stays on schedule. Grand Prairie has primarily a retail/warehouse tax base, but sales tax revenue was up by 9% in 2012-2013. It is important that we continue this trend as one million dollars of property value taxed at our current rate of .67 per hundred dollars only generates $6,700.00, but one million dollars of retail sales generates $ 20,000.00 for the city. The 1/8 cent sales tax dedicated to Qwik Trip Park and the 1/8 cent tax dedicated to the Summitt will payoff in 2015, and the resulting 1/4% reduction in sales tax will give Grand Prairie an advantage to attract shoppers to our retail stores. Alternatively, the existing sales tax rate could be put to the voters to use for other economic development opportunities along the Highway 161 corridor and/or the new service roads.
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Donâ€™t let your voice be silent. Early Voting begins October 21â€”November 1 VOTE November 5, 2013