Early voting

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election runs from Oct. 13-30. In Coppell, Davin Bernstein is facing incumbent Wes Mays for Place 3 on the Coppell City Council, and Erin Bogdanowicz, John Jun and Jim Walker are facing off for Place 5. Below are the Q&A's from the candidates:

Place 3

Davin Bernstein

Product manager

Number of years you've lived in the city: 15

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

Davin Bernstein

Davin Bernstein

Maintaining quality services at a reasonable tax rate in a tough fiscal environment.

The last Coppell citizen survey showed that citizens felt their quality of life dropped 16% and fell below 50% satisfaction. This is my opponent’s legacy: city services expanded significantly (30% increase in the budget over his tenure), even though satisfaction is falling. Sales tax revenue is falling, and property tax increases every year, even in the budget just passed. Currently, there are 29 unfunded positions in our budget. New leadership is necessary to resolve these challenges.

We need to focus spending on critical services, and begin a conversation long overdue about optional spending on services that don’t improve quality of life. Let’s ask some tough questions about why the city has added over 100 positions to city staff over the last eight years, even though the population of the city increased by less by than 1,000 people.

Is the city spending money in the right places? Is there anything you would change?

If elected, I will bring focus to the essentials: primarily public safety, roads and parks. Any citizen who has used our parks has noticed that we have stone map displays that have no maps on them for years. The Parkway redesign was done well past the useful life of the road, our master plan for trails is long overdue for implementation, and other basics have been neglected. Citizens should not have to wonder when issues like these will be resolved – clearly we are not prioritizing the essential work citizens expect, and it needs to be addressed.

After that, only invest in projects that have broad citizen support. Engage the community to see if they want to invest in areas that would bring real quality of life improvements to citizens – otherwise, don’t do it. Remove the 29 unfunded personnel positions, and add them back as they are justified in the current tight fiscal situation. Also, we need a long term plan to bring our homestead exemption in line with cities around us, rather than taxing our residents at a much higher rate than all other cities in our local area.

What should the city do to prepare for the possibility of losing millions of dollars in sales tax money from a sales tax rule change proposed by the state?

First, the city wrongly used taxpayer dollars to lobby elected officials, rather than focus efforts on the comptroller office, which added a rule on internet orders that fundamentally alters sales tax dollars. As a result, the city’s strategy to grow sales tax revenue is in great peril. This strategic blunder should not be overlooked. The city should do everything in its power to delay or kill this change. The reality is that the strategy of segmenting funds into specialized buckets that artificially restrict funds from the general fund never made sense, and we should evaluate allowing all sales tax revenues to be used for primary city services.

What are your ideas in addressing increased traffic in the city and the region?

Our ability to influence regional traffic is limited. It is most important to a) minimize non-Coppell destination traffic through the city, and direct the flow of major traffic away from residential areas.

New development should not impact the quiet residential areas we all cherish in Coppell, but should be tied to the edges of the city.

What's your history of community involvement in the city/area?

I have been involved in a variety of city activities and volunteer activities:

• Coppell Economic Development Committee

• City of Coppell Allies in Community 2020, ongoing participant in interfaith group

• Leadership Coppell and Coppell 2040 Think Tank and workshops

• Chair, Architectural Review Committee for the Lakes of Coppell, Coppell’s largest HOA

• Volunteer at St. Ann’s Church in youth ministry, Scouting

• Member, Knights of Columbus

• Volunteer, Metrocrest Services

• Adjunct Professor, Gupta Business School at the University of Dallas

• Navy Veteran

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

With a background in government and an MBA, I will bring a businessman’s responsible approach to budgeting and all council decisions. I would be the only MBA trained businessman on council.

In addition, I will bring great integrity to City Council, having served my county in the Navy, as well as fighting for American values in every election, even when I’m not on the ballot. Friends know me as a champion of minorities and those without the “clout” to get things done in the back room. I am willing to support a decision even though it might bring attacks.

A special note regarding the unrest this country has experienced: I will not ignore it is happening, but will listen to those who respectfully want constructive change. Yes, even in Coppell this needs to be said. At the same time, I will not stand by and see public servants denigrated because they choose to protect and serve: I stand strongly behind our police force, but would willingly support holding someone accountable if they misuse their office.

Most important, I will bring an element to council that has been lacking: a real desire to represent citizen views to the city, and not promote the city’s message, which I have witnessed happening over the years. Obviously, there is a little of both in the role of council member, but since I would be elected by citizens and not paid by the city, I want to hear citizen feedback. Let’s focus on how Coppell can restore the quality of life we had before, and then improve it more.

Wes Mays

Profession: Engineer

Number of years you've lived in the city: 19-plus

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

Wes Mays

Wes Mays

The loss of revenue resulting from State Rule 3.334 from the Comptroller of Public Account’s office is, and will continue to be, our largest issue. For 2020, quite unexpectedly, COVID-19 also hit hard. Due to our conservative fiscal approach, we have been able to account 99% of the $9.2M revenue loss due to COVID-19 alone. These extraordinary results were accomplished by:

· Expenditure reductions

· Postponing of capital purchases and of capital projects

· The freezing of city staff positions

· Reduction in seasonal staff

· No salary increases for city staff.

Going forward, our 2020-21 budget represents a 13% decrease over our current year budget. This was a result of our careful planning and very conservative fiscal approach to our budget. We have experienced an unprecedented sequence of events that no one could have predicted but this shows that Coppell is well prepared and well managed.

Is the city spending money in the right places? Is there anything you would change?

The city spends its money in areas that citizens want. The 2030 plan and now the 2040 plan are wonderful examples of citizen led events that create a broad roadmap determined by the citizens themselves. The city simply implements what the citizens ask for. In addition to the 2030 and 2040 plans, we also have citizen’s summits to make sure that we are on the right track.

What should the city do to prepare for the possibility of losing millions of dollars in sales tax money from a sales tax rule change proposed by the state?

It’s not what we should do, it is what we are doing. The current opinion by the comptroller was finalized into State Rule 3.334. While that is binding, we still have options that we are pursuing thorough the Legislature, the courts and through public hearings. To conservatively prepare for the finalized rule, we already took a very risk adverse position by placing a moratorium on capital equipment purchases, placed a hiring freeze in effect and delayed the purchases of big ticket items. Following that, the city directors performed a bottom up budget review, and we have reviewed our guidelines on the replacement policy of city vehicles.

Our 2020/2021 budget represents a 13% reduction over the previous budget of 2019/2020. We expect to be able to compensate in the future with some reductions in services for non-essential departments, moving out replacement costs of capital equipment, delaying or deferring capital projects, and performing very tight fiscal control. One result of this year’s budget process was the identification of saving significant money in the re-development of Beltline Drive. This will be accomplished by shortening the schedule and eliminating one of the phases of the project while still completing all the required rebuilt of that roadway.

What are your ideas in addressing increased traffic in the city and the region?

Traffic will find the path of least resistance. If we build larger roadways, more traffic will use them. The state demographer has shown that the majority growth in North Texas over the next 30 years is

going to be north, along the I-35 and highway US 75 corridors. That will just bring more population to drive through our area. I believe that our roadways need to be managed though intelligent traffic control systems. That is one of the reasons that we created the Smart Cities board. We need to leverage technology to make traffic flow intelligent and more efficient. I believe that in the near future, our vehicles will have the ability to communicate with the traffic infrastructure to provide a vast improvement in vehicle flow.

What's your history of community involvement in the city/area?

I currently serve as a liaison to Metrocrest Social services, and the North Texas Council of Governments. I have also graduated from Leadership North Texas from the North Texas Commission.

Prior to my election I participated in Coppell's Citizen Summit in 2011 and has served as the president of the Arbor Manors Homeowners Association and the Westbury Manor Homeowner Association. While my children were in high school, I was active with the Coppell Band Boosters.

I have served the Boys Scouts of America as district commissioner, assistant district commissioner, committee chairman of Troop 842 and continue to serve as a Merit Badge councilor.

I am the chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board of the College of Electrical Engineering at the University of North Texas. I have advised for the solar car engineering team at Coppell High School and has served on the Coppell High School Engineering School advisory committee. I have also participated in the career expo at Coppell High School representing Peterbilt Motors Company.

I have been a member of my college alumni club, the Coppell A&M club for over 15 years. I currently serve on the board of directors as the Muster Chairman.

We attend the First United Methodist Church in Coppell and have held numerous positions with the church. I also play in the wind ensemble at the First United Methodist Church and the Coppell Community Orchestra.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

I listen to our citizens and value their input and feedback. I am a collaborator, not a destroyer. I work well with the other members of the Coppell City Council for the betterment of the city, not a select few. I am proud of our record in bringing Coppell to the top tier cities in Texas and America. My professional background provides me with a very solutions oriented and practical oriented approach to problem solving.

Place 5

Erin Bogdanowicz

Family lawyer, owner of Bogdanowicz Family Law

Number of years you've lived in the city: 22 years

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

Erin Bogdanowicz

Erin Bogdanowicz

The most important issue is the loss of sales tax revenue and decline in city revenue due to COVID-19.  The council’s recently adopted FY 20-21 budget does an amazing job addressing these fiscal issues without any increase to the property tax rate, a feat thought impossible at the beginning of this year.  I will continue to promote such conservatism. 

Additionally, our long-time citizens face the challenge of affordable housing in Coppell and I will work to build upon the ideas the current council has started to create solutions to retain our long-time citizens. 

Finally, as discussed in Vision 2040, Coppell is facing the reality that the baby boomer generation is rolling out of leadership roles and the next generations will be stepping in.  The younger generations look for real-time use of social media, electronic access to and participation in government, and other technological features that I would work to implement. 

Is the city spending money in the right places? Is there anything you would change?

Coppell’s Municipal Bond Rating, currently AAA from both Moody’s and Standards & Poor’s, speaks to the fiscal conscientiousness of the past councils. I believe that the city has done their best to listen to the citizens of Coppell and what they want to see money spent on when crafting the budget in the past.  There will always be factions of citizens that disagree with how money is being spent, which is the seemingly impossible balancing act the council is tasked with. For example, the new arts center is an issue of contention for many citizens, but what the public doesn’t see is the variety factors that went into that decision – things are not always how they appear. I do believe that given the implementation of my proposed changes to the council’s social media presence and the access to government that would provide, the citizens could better understand the decisions the council is making on their behalf.  Regardless, moving forward, we will need to reassess the restructured budget and expenditures due to the change in the sales tax definition and reduction in revenue due to COVID-19. At some point, the extreme measures that had to be taken in the FY 20-21 budget, such as vacant position freezes, freezes on city employee salaries, postponement of projects, etc. will have to be reassessed and re-implemented.    

What should the city do to prepare for the possibility of losing millions of dollars in sales tax money from a sales tax rule change proposed by the state?

There are several ways this has been successfully addressed in the FY 20-21 budget. The FY 20-21 budget mandates salary freezes for city employees, freezing of vacant city employee positions, delaying projects, increasing the cost of water service, and other prudent measures that had to be taken. All of these adjustments were necessary and warranted. These measures allowed the property taxes to decrease from $.584 to $.58, which is completely unexpected. It is true that the tax on average homestead and average homestead taxable value did increase with the FY 20-21 budget, but some sort of increase in taxes was expected upon the news of losing sales tax revenue. I think the FY 20-21 budget is extremely impressive and shows great bend on everyone’s part to meet this challenge. The city has truly banded together and worked as a community to address this problem. I am confident that the people of our community will also be able to meet this challenge in future years when the extreme measures taken in the FY 20-21 budget must be loosened and adjusted.

Additionally, our past councils have been extremely prudent in creating a reserve for this very purpose.  This is an unexpected event that this money was reserved for to help bridge this gap. Moving forward, I would encourage conservative use of those funds during this transition. Additional projects can be delayed five years and make a very large impact on the current spending. This is a short-term solution, as the infrastructure issues do have to be addressed at some point, but a delay will help the city get through this transition. 

With regard to the cost of water and revenue generated in that area, Coppell has maintained the same cost for water for many years, which happened to be substantially lower than the surrounding cities.  With the FY 20-21 budget, a large jump had to be made to bring that cost to a comparable level as other cities and account for the loss of revenue cause by 2020 events. Rather than maintain a static amount with a drastic increase down the road, I would propose that this amount gradually increase each year maintaining comparability with other cities so that the citizens do not experience another extreme increase in price in future years.

Finally, identifying the top business contributors to Coppell’s sales tax revenue will be very beneficial in determining the true impact of this change and allow us to focus our efforts on those entities. We should be approaching those top contributors to work with them to meet the new definition of “doing business” in Coppell. 

What are your ideas in addressing increased traffic in the city and the region?

Traffic flow is a challenge for all communities that are growing at the rate Coppell is. In the early 1980s when I first began residing in Coppell, we had approximately 3,900 people and very little commercial development. With the growth Coppell has seen since that time, traffic congestion is inevitable. The new DART station should provide some relief in this regard.  

In 2019, Coppell partnered with Lyft and the Denton County Transportation Authority to launch "Work Hard, Get a Lyft" for local Coppell employees. The pilot program started on October 1, 2019 and will be available for 12 months. Depending on the data from that program, I would expand upon the same concepts to encourage ridesharing and carpooling for Coppell employees and citizens, thereby reducing traffic.

Further, the Vision 2040 Plan set forth by the City Council anticipates a “smart city,” which, if implemented, should reduce traffic woes. A “smart city,” by definition, would use information and communications technology to collect data using sensors, devices, or other systems. This information would then be used to understand what current circumstances are creating our issues and be able to predict future problems. The Council should continue to work on timing the lights down Beltline to reduce the traffic and increase flow.

Additionally, the infrastructure work slated for Beltline/Denton Tap should include a widening of Beltline/Denton Tap because the reality of our city is Beltline/Denton Tap is used as not only an ingress and egress for Coppell citizens, but also a cut-through for neighboring cities. However, I believe that costly infrastructure work should take a back seat to the fiscal issue stemming from the loss of the sales tax revenue and revenue reduction due to COVID. Other ways of discouraging the cut-through use of Beltline/Denton Tap should also be explored.   

 

What's your history of community involvement in the city/area?

I have been involved in numerous factions of our community since the 1980s. I grew up in Coppell attending Pinkerton, West, and Coppell High School. During my youth, I participated in numerous different sports, cheerleading, and the Coppell Community Theater, as it was called at that time. One of my first jobs was waitressing at Local Diner, a Coppell staple. 

Since returning to Coppell as an adult, I spearheaded the Sandy Lake initiative, which petitioned the Council to take measures to make Sandy Lake safer after one of our dear neighbors was killed at the entry of our neighborhood on Sandy Lake near Coppell Road. Through that effort, I joined the neighborhoods in signing a petition, put together a comprehensive analysis of the issues and possible solutions, and spoke to the Council about the changes that were needed. 

I am currently an active member of GracePoint Church in Coppell, a church my grandmother also attended before me.  Through my membership, I am afforded the opportunity to serve our community through numerous ministries, community outreach volunteer events, and I provide pro bono legal services to individuals in our community.  

As a practicing family law attorney, I am extremely involved in the DFW legal community, including completing the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers 2012 leadership class, speaking at continuing legal education courses throughout Texas, having been published numerous times by the State Bar of Texas, and serving with multiple local bar associations.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

I am the best candidate for this position for a number of reasons. First, I am a small business owner; I solely own and manage a boutique family law firm, Bogdanowicz Family Law. This equips me with the knowledge and experience needed to create, run, and manage a budget, with the foresight to make prudent choices for the long-term of Coppell, not just for our immediate circumstances, and with the tenacity it takes to make hard decisions. My fiscal conservatism will promote thoughtful spending in the years to come.

Secondly, while all candidates for Place 5 are attorneys, I have unique qualifications that the other candidates do not have. I am Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Less than 1% of the attorneys in Texas hold Board Certification in Family Law and only 8% of Texas attorneys have a Board Certification in any area of the law. The process to become Board Certified is extremely difficult and takes a great deal of dedication and acumen. Additionally, I have been chosen by Texas Super Lawyers as a Rising Star and “top rated attorney” for seven consecutive years, an honor that only 2.5% of the attorneys in Texas receive. Texas Super Lawyers also named me as one of the top 50 up-and-coming women in the state of Texas for 2017, 2018 and 2020 and top 100 up-and-coming lawyers in the State of Texas for 2017. I was also recognized by D Magazine in 2020.

Next, my current stage of life brings a new and fresh perspective to the Council. In order to remain current and attract younger families that will grow Coppell and shape our future, the council needs to be in touch with what those individuals look for in a community. I can provide that insight and keep Coppell moving towards the future, not stuck in the past. Additionally, as a wife and mother, I offer a different perspective than the other candidates and many of the other current council members.

Finally, I am Coppell bred, which means I was trained and groomed by the leaders in our community – both Brad Hunt and Laura Springer, two of Coppell’s most prominent community contributors, were leaders at the Coppell schools I attended and I was fortunate to be guided by them. I am not someone that plans to move on from Coppell or takes Coppell citizenship lightly; I am here for the long haul. I want to make a difference in our community for the coming generations.

John Jun

Attorney

Number of years you've lived in the city: 21 years

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

John Jun

John Jun

The most important issue is finding a way to get the citizen’s confidence and businesses back to where it was before COVID, as close as possible, while dealing with the likelihood of losing a big portion of the sales tax revenue from tax collection policy change, along with local businesses impacted by COVID.

One of the ways to address the issues is to collaborate with Chamber of Commerce to host more events geared towards promoting local businesses and to evaluate current spending, reallocate if needed, cut spending if necessary, and look into increasing homestead exemptions. It also means that we have to be mindful and distinguish the “necessities” and “nonessential” services and take necessary measures.

Is the city spending money in the right places? Is there anything you would change?

Depends on who you ask. Coppellians with comfortable income believe the city is spending the money in the right places, and those with fixed income, such as retirees, senior citizens, and salary employees, believe otherwise. While everyone is likely agree on maintaining high quality of services from police and fire department as a must, we should evaluate nonessentials items/services having fixed cost, especially those that are not self-sufficient and not being able to cover its fixed cost. We should to distinguish and decide which are in the best interest of the community as a whole and take necessary actions. After all, any savings passed on to the citizens is a way of reducing the burdens they are facing in current situation.

What should the city do to prepare for the possibility of losing millions of dollars in sales tax money from a sales tax rule change proposed by the state?

There are three basic ways to approach this issue; 1) be more efficient with spending, 2) reduce expenditure, or 3) raise tax, which I have voiced against at previous hearings. The reality is that we must maintain services that are critical, such as police and fire department, and then see how the “nice to have” amenities can be fulfilled without affecting the overall operation/budget. This might mean charging service fees, with some exceptions, but ultimately cut spending if necessary. Also, we should look into having open bids on projects and constructions to get the most “bang” for citizen’s dollars, especially if it will yield citizen’s tax dollars.

What are your ideas in addressing increased traffic in the city and the region?

Coppell is pretty much maximized with the land development; however, the traffic congestion will continue to increase due to growing surrounding cities and pass through traffic. It is a reality without a concrete answer. However, Coppell should implement ideas such as “smart” traffic light from “timed” traffic light along highly congested roads to reduce prolonged stoppage time and have ongoing discussion with citizens for effective ideas and to better inform the community.

What's your history of community involvement in the city/area

I have been serving the community within and outside of Coppell since 2003. I spend half of my time serving as a volunteer because I have been blessed to be where I am today, doing what I am passionate about, and in a position to be able to give back.

Community servant

Coppell City Manager’s Advisory Group-2016-current

Coppell Board of Adjustment-2017-current

Coppell Library Cultural Fair Committee-2018-current

Coppell Census 2020 Complete Count Committee-2019-current

Coppell Citizen’s Police Academy-current

Coppell Lions Club-2018-current, Coppell Summit Organizer-2020

Coppell 2040 Vision, Executive Committee-2018

Coppell Allies in Community, Cohort 1, 2018

Coppell Leadership Alumni-2016

Coppell ISD iLead-2019

Coppell Special Council-2016

Coppell High School Golf Booster Club, president-2017, vice president-2016

Coppell High School Band Booster, volunteer-2015

Coppell Youth Soccer Association, coach, 2014-2016

Coppell Youth Baseball Association, coach/assistant coach-2015-2016

FBI Citizen’s Academy Alumni-2004-current

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Steering Committee-2019

Greater St. Louis Honor Flight, flight leader-July, 2019

Congressional Record from Congressman Sam Johnson, KAC-2016

Asian American Advisory Committee Member for Congressman Ron Wright-2020

Asian American Advisory Committee Member for Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson-2016-current

Korean Society of Dallas-senior vice president-current, vice president-2008-2009

Korean Trade Association of Dallas, secretary-2003-2005

DFW Asian American Citizens Council, 2020 banquet chair-current

Census 2020-DFW Complete Count Committee-2019-current

Literacy Achieves-ESL volunteer teacher-2019-current

Dallas County Vote Center Advisory Committee-2019

Korean American Coalition DFW Chapter, past president, board vice chair-2019-current

Korean American Coalition DFW Chapter, president, 2015-2019

-Founding member of DFW Chapter-2004

-National Collegiate Leadership Conference counselor/mentor-2016-Current

-Scholarship Committee

-Citizenship Drive organizer, 2004-current

-Voters Drive organizer-2004-current

-Candidate Forum organizer-2017-current

New Song Church-Homeless Ministry Service-2019-current

New Song Church-house church leader-2017-current

New Song Church-8th grade Sunday School teacher-2020

New Song Church-11th grade Sunday School teacher-2019-current

New Song Church-4th grade Sunday School teacher-2017-2019

New Song Church-welcoming committee-2015-2019

New Song Church-greeter-2015-2018

Professional

U.S. Navy, 1986-1990, U.S.S. John F. Kennedy-Aviation Machinist, Flight Deck Crew, Nuclear Weapon Loading/Unloading Team-honorable discharge

Texas licensed attorney-2012-current

The Jun Law Firm-owner, 2013-2015

Park & Jun Law office-partner, 2015-current

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, volunteer attorney, 2012-current

Dallas Bar Association, volunteer attorney-2012-current

Dallas Probate Court Attorney Ad Litem-2015-current

Personal

John F. Kennedy High School-Guam, USA-1985

Associates of Arts degree-Northlake College-2004

B.A.-Political science and public policy with minor in philosophy-SMU-2006

Juris Doctor-Florida Coastal School of Law-2012

Texas Attorney License-2012

Coppell resident since 2000

Married to Judy 25 years, four children-Ariel, Jessica, Jamie and Sam

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

There is no greater reason to run for an office than a desire to serve as a Servant, and I will serve city of Coppell as a Servant with a proven track of record.

Like 2018, I will not tell Coppellians only what they want to hear just to get their votes. I will be true and honest to earn their trust and friendship, and if given the opportunity, I will serve with the mindset of fiscal responsibility, family/community values, and independent thinking.

I am one of many immigrants living the “American Dream.” I emigrated from South Korea to Guam, USA at age 10, joined the U.S. Navy right out of high school and served on the carrier U.S.S. John F. Kennedy from 1986-1990. After Navy in 1990, I worked odd jobs here and there, and I decided to get an education to be a better servant while serving as a volunteer.

I’ve had difficult moments going back to school almost 20 years after being out of high school with four young kids, however, I was blessed in many ways along the way, and I made a covenant with the Lord to stay true to my original intention of getting an education: To be a better servant.

Moreover, I have led and served as a representative of a non-profit, non-partisan organization for over 16 years, and I worked with various organization representative, local, state and federal elected officials. My experience will serve Coppell well, especially given the fact that Coppell is becoming more and more diverse.

Lastly, I applaud all candidates for their willingness to serve Coppell, however, my track of record of serving within and outside of the community consistently for over 16 years will serve as a valuable tool in dealing with issues on multiple level.

Jim Walker

Attorney

Number of years you've lived in the city: 21

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

Jim Walker

Jim Walker

Our state government has steadily diminished Coppell’s authority to govern as a Home Rule City. First, the Texas Comptroller declared that sales taxes will be collected based upon the destination of the goods sold, instead of where the sale originated. This change was imposed with no legislative input or meaningful public discussion. Second, the Legislature eliminated our Planning & Zoning Commission’s authority to regulate materials used in the construction and remodeling of homes and commercial buildings. Coppell’s distinctive building standard as an expression of self-governance has been eliminated by our Legislature. Now it appears the Legislature will consider removing Coppell’s authority to regulate short-term rentals. This decision is best made at the local level where the short-term rentals will operate. If I am elected, I will advocate for changes to these laws and regulations to ensure our citizens retain control over the laws that affect their quality of life.

Is the city spending money in the right places? Is there anything you would change?

Coppell’s citizens have long benefitted from the prudent financial stewardship of our tax dollars by our City Council and staff. We have expanded our hike and bike trails, expanded and renovated our library, replaced curbs and repaired streets all over town, substantially improved our public park facilities, upgraded our medians and landscaping, and we are close to completing our new arts center and adding a new firehouse.

We are also in the process of upgrading certain of our pump stations, water main and waste water infrastructure. Still, the state comptroller’s recent change in the collection of sales taxes prompted an intense review of our city budget by our council and city staff resulting in approximately $8 million in spending cuts in a single year. At the same time, Coppell has just adopted a tax rate of $0.5800 per $100 of assessed valuation, which is $0.004 cents lower than last year’s property tax rate. I will be surprised if one or more cities in north Texas can match this fiscal feat within the context of the comptroller’s recent sales tax ruling and the adverse financial effects the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought. In fact, over the previous ten years, Coppell’s tax rate has been reduced by a total of 10.646 cents. If elected, I intend to continue this bias toward lowering tax rates over time.

Further, I believe we should take advantage of our coveted AAA bond rating and re-finance our outstanding debt to longer terms in the current low rate environment to minimize our borrowing costs going forward. Finally, everything we do in this regard must be entirely transparent and include the voices, concerns and priorities of our citizens at every step.

What should the city do to prepare for the possibility of losing millions of dollars in sales tax money from a sales tax rule change proposed by the state?

Fortunately, Coppell’s City Council and Staff have been preparing for such a change for several years. The city has developed strong reserves that will help our community through the transition to any new sales tax regime, depending upon what the comptroller, and perhaps even the Legislature in the 2021 Session, might ultimately implement. Coppell maintains a GF fund balance which it has carried year to year for many years. The 1986 Charter shows the requirement for a 5% reserve. The 1995 Charter update increased the requirement to 10%. Regarding the current 15% policy, I believe this was adopted by Coppell’s Council in 2009 and was first implemented in the FY 2009/2010 budget. The GF Fund balance projected for September 30, 2020 as of June 30, 2020 is $68,442,572, with an unassigned portion in the amount of $33,263,268. The actual GF Fund Balance as of June 30, 2020 is $94,179,356. Further, the GF Fund balance projected for September 30, 2020 as adopted in the FY 2019/2020 budget is $64,016,510, with an unassigned portion in the amount of $28,711,250. Certainly, this reflects Coppell’s long-established practice of “saving for a rainy day.”

Although the current situation remains fluid, and the Legislature is now reviewing this issue, there are important actions Coppell can take to address any ultimate change in the collection of sales tax. First, we will have to continually review every aspect of city spending. Coppell has just adopted a tax rate of $0.5800 per $100 of assessed valuation, which is $0.004 cents lower than last year’s property tax rate. I will be surprised if one or more cities in north Texas can match this fiscal feat within the context of the Comptroller’s recent sales tax ruling and the adverse financial effects the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought. In fact, over the previous ten years, Coppell’s tax rate has been reduced by a total of 10.646 cents. If elected, I intend to continue this bias toward lowering tax rates over time. The current non-essential hiring freeze our City Council and staff implemented earlier this year proved to be a good first step toward lowering the tax rate. In addition, we should continue to review all capital expenditures and capital improvement plans to see which of them may be deferred over a greater time period and if any of them may be reduced or eliminated.

As an example, we should consider revising the time period we view as an acceptable “shelf life” for the equipment we purchase, such as police cruisers, HVAC systems on public buildings, and similar high cost items.

Second, Coppell enjoys a AAA bond rating from both Moody's Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings. Coppell is the smallest Texas city with this coveted bond rating, and one of only eight Texas cities with this favorable designation. I believe we should carefully review and consider re-financing our outstanding debt to longer terms in the current low rate environment to minimize our borrowing costs going forward. Just recently, as an example of why this will be effective in limiting costs, Coppell refinanced certain bonds at 1.33% - the lowest rate we have ever seen. Overall, this process must be entirely transparent and include the voices, concerns and priorities of our citizens at every step.

What are your ideas in addressing increased traffic in the city and the region?

I generally support the Mobility 2045 Plan approved on June 14, 2018 by the Regional Transportation Council of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. North Central Texas covers almost 9,500 square miles composed of 12 counties with 255 cities and towns. Within this context, Coppell’s location is effectively the geographic center of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Our regional population is projected to increase from 7.4 million people in 2018 to as many as 11.2 million people in 2045. No single city or town is an island when it comes to the scale of traffic planning and congestion management that our growth patterns in North Central Texas clearly require. As the RTC has stated “Mobility 2045 is a blueprint for the region’s transportation system that aims to respond to the regional mobility goals and guide the expenditure of federal and state transportation funds.”

From the possible use of autonomous electric vehicles for travel within Coppell, to the DART Silver Line that will travel along our southern border, to the maintenance of our local roads and infrastructure – increasing mobility without aggravating congestion and the adverse health effects and economic losses it can cause will be important to the region in which our community is situated and directly relevant to our community.

What's your history of community involvement in the city/area?

I have been regularly involved in some type of community service since shortly after my family moved to Coppell more than 20 years ago.

My civic experience may be summarized as follows:

• Member, Coppell Economic Development Committee;

• President, Coppell Economic Development Foundation;

• Commissioner, Coppell Planning & Zoning Commission; • President, Coppell ISD Education Foundation (two terms);

• Member, Coppell ISD Bond Oversight Committee;

• Member, Coppell ISD Bond Committee;

• Coppell Special Counsel;

• Co-chair, Coppell Beast Feast (five years); and

• Coach, Coppell Cowgirls (U4 through U10) for Coppell Youth Soccer Association. Outside of Coppell, I am an active member of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations and a graduate of Leadership Dallas.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

Our community is facing challenges that require experience in all aspects of city governance. I have been fortunate to have worked over 20 years with our elected and appointed community leaders on behalf of the city and our school district. As a result, I have been involved in a broad spectrum of the administration and governance of our city and school district. This experience is important because Coppell has long benefitted from an excellent working relationship between its City Council and the CISD Board of Trustees. It is important that we continue this strong working relationship for the benefit of our citizens.

Outside of serving on our city and CISD committees and foundations, I served as co-chair of the Coppell Beast Feast during its five-year history. Karen Hunt and I started this effort to raise funds from Coppell citizens, supported by the generosity of Coppell’s restaurants (principally, Victor’s Wood Grill and J. Macklin’s Grill), to donate the proceeds raised to 6 of our largest churches to be given to Coppell citizens in need.

Due to a wonderful outpouring of generosity from our community, we were able to donate more than $220,000 to our fellow citizens to meet their short-term, financial needs over a five-year period. This was an immensely rewarding event that brought out the best in Coppell’s people and businesses, and I was blessed to have been a part of the effort. If I am honored by Coppell’s citizens with their trust and their vote, my experience and love for this community will enable me to “hit the ground running” in service on our City Council. My prior experience has prepared me for this next step and I will work hard to justify every vote if elected.

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