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Denton City Council Place 6

City Council at large member, place six (6), shall be a resident of district three (3) or four (4).https://library.municode.com/tx/denton/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICH_ARTIITHCO_S2.01NUSETEhttps://www.cityofdenton.com/en-us/residents/make-a-difference/votehttps://www.cityofdenton.com/CoD/media/City-of-Denton/Residents/Make%20a%20Difference/CityCouncilVoterDistrictsNov2019.pdfAt large election even years

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  • Candidate picture

    Jim Mann

  • Candidate picture

    Paul Meltzer

  • Candidate picture

    Liam York

Biographical Information

What are your qualifications for this office?

What strategies will you use to ensure open communication between City Hall and residents?

What are your top environmental and land development concerns and how do you plan to address them?

What is your vision for transportation infrastructure in your community and how will you advance it?

What is your vision for the future of your municipality and how would you achieve it?

COVID-19: What actions can the city take to address the health and economic impact caused by COVID-19?

Open Government: How will you ensure government transparency (open records, open meetings) is maintained during a state of emergency?

Budget: How will you address any budget deficit caused by COVID-19?

Two Minute Video Option: Comment on the recent civil rights demonstrations. (Video cannot be more than two minutes. If the video is not hosted on YouTube include the full URL to the video in the Text Response box. Do not include any other comments in the Text Response box.)

Campaign Phone (940) 594-3501
Education B.A., ORU MDiv. and Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Experience Founding and Lead Pastor of New Life Church for 21 years Associate Professor of New Testament for Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity and Colorado Christian University
Born and raised in Denton—and having raised my own kids in Denton—I have seen our city grow from a small town to a booming suburban city. This growth has brought tremendous opportunities and some challenges. As founding and lead pastor of New Life Church for the last 20 years, I have served and helped families across the city from all walks of life, ethnicities and economic and social experiences. This has enabled me to witness how city government can work for the people and how it can be used to push policies and agendas that are detrimental or neglectful. I will bring a perspective born of real-life experience and heartfelt compassion to the council to help lead Denton and to ensure that the policies approved and implemented promote a safe and vibrant environment for our citizens.
My longtime relationships with many civic, business and religious leaders in Denton give me access to a broad perspective from diverse constituencies and communities. I also will develop new relationships in the role of a city council member. I personally will engage in outreach with these individuals and constituencies in order to receive first-hand information on the impact of city policy and how we can improve on the delivery of essential services and the overall quality of life in Denton. I am an advocate of transparency and openness believing that “light is a great disinfectant.” I have a close working relationship with several non-profits in Denton and will build on those in relation to our homeless and poverty issues.
Denton is a high growth community. While I welcome growth that provides a strong jobs base and keeps taxes low, I also believe we have room to provide quality parks and green spaces. I love trees (planted ten at my home in south Denton) and green space (walk my dogs in one nearly every morning). These are important to the quality of life for Denton families. I commend previous Councils for the foresight to create a healthy park system with large areas (North and South Lakes and Clear Creek), dog parks, and numerous smaller parks throughout the city. On the Council, I will ensure that we maintain a good balance as Denton expands to the north and west.

Common sense must prevail. I oppose efforts such as expanding the gas well setback in such a way to hurt nearby property owners and diminish the value of their homes. We must ensure eminent domain is handled fairly with early and proper notice to the families and businesses impacted, and fair compensation provided where land is claimed.
Staying ahead or even abreast of the growth in the area of transportation infrastructure is a major challenge. The city has nearly half a billion dollars in road and infrastructure projects scheduled and/or in active construction for this year and beyond. More will be needed as we know more growth is coming, and we know generally the areas of the city where it will occur. I will be proactive in engaging with the planning and transportation staff and other key public and private stakeholders to prepare to meet the demand. While addressing growth areas, however, we must not neglect existing infrastructure and the conditions of streets in older neighborhoods. The reconstruction projects on Scripture Street, Hercules Lane and Thomas Street are good examples of updating older areas.
As a lifelong resident, I can attest that Denton is a great place to live and raise a family. We have economic opportunity, good schools and safe neighborhoods. I’m running for City Council because I want to keep it that way. Too often, as cities grow, various advocates arise who espouse zoning and regulatory policies that stifle business operations and growth, presume the people are accountable to the government rather than the government accountable to the people, and desire to import ideas that expand city government beyond its proper role. Texans prefer less government to more government! The City Council’s focus is economic development, safety, roads, zoning and capital improvement—that’s the core function of a city government. Again, common sense must prevail!
The Council should work with county and state authorities to expedite the full reopening of businesses so they can recover from the lockdown. The Council should encourage high risk populations to take adequate precautions and businesses to accommodate with curbside pickup, distancing, etc. until the virus case count is negligible.
We have local and state laws related to public records and meetings and I will follow them as well as help ensure they are complied with throughout city operations. I commit to ethical and moral dealings in all my activities, both in and out of office.
I will not support tax increases on residents many of whom already face extra financial stresses due to the Covid-19 disruption. The proposed FY 20-21 budget contains many sound cost-cutting measures to bridge the gap as the economy revives. Thankfully, Denton continues to be an attractive location for residential and business development, and I anticipate even more relocations as people leave other high-tax states and cities looking for freer and safer opportunities. The growth will expand our revenue to cover possible shortfalls and meet future needs.
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Campaign Phone (940) 222-2027
Education BA, Wesleyan University MBA. Tuck School at Dartmouth College
Experience Council Member At-large Place 6, 2018-present Chair, Oak Gateway Area Plan, 2018 Vice-Chair, Downtown TIF Board, 2017 Active community volunteer - 2012-present, incl. Service Project Chair, Denton Rotary Club, VP, Thin Line, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Red Cross, Communities in Schools, VITA SVP Product Management, Insight/TWC, 2007-2012 Director then VP Digital Products, Cablevision, 1998-2007 7 years in packaged goods mgt., divisions of General Foods, General Mills, Campbell Soup Company
Served in this office two years+ and presently. Part of a council that made big strides in many areas: Green Space-- instituted ten-minute walk to green space goal, used tree fund to purchase 70-acre treed parcel on the east side, got $5 million for parkland on the bond ballot. Homelessness - Funded expansion of MKOC from 3 nights a week to 7 with case managers, about to close on new facility on 288 for more shelter space with Our Daily Bread co-located. Taxes-Voted not to increase property tax 2nd year in a row. Streets - tripled street repair activity--working off a big backlog. Public Safety - Funded Fire Station 8 and (through bond election) Police substation that will cut 10-15 minutes in response time to west side. Moving toward 1 in 8 calls to be handled by civilians including mental health professionals. Accessibility - Championed ADA projects eligibility for Downtown grants. Only MBA on council. Large organization senior-level leadership experience.
The City itself does many more community meetings (virtual for now) than in the past and publishes the Resident Update. Best of all is the Engage Denton App that lets you report any kind of issue and have it routed to the right department. Hundreds of resident issues are handled every month that way. For me personally, I'm reachable 24/7 at 940-220-2027, on Facebook and at paul.meltzer@cityofdenton.com. I assure you constituents reach me all the time and get response on personal issues. I've done town halls, often bringing city staff with me, at North Branch Library, South Branch Library, the American Legion Hall, Fire Station 7, and a couple of times on Facebook Live. I was slated to have one at Robson Ranch the night the shutdown went into effect.
We have a much improved tree ordinance that will increase tree canopy overall but still at the peril of much of our older growth, and with a massive loophole regarding areas already zoned for single family. There's only about 1700 acres of original Cross Timbers left, with its great carbon-sequestering properties. The code currently allows as much as 70 percent of upland habitat environmentally sensitive areas to be destroyed by industrial development. We need to protect greenways along our four major watersheds--Cooper Creek, Clear Creek, Pecan Creek, and Hickory Creek. This should become part and parcel of our parkland acquisition strategy as well as the subject of intelligent zoning -for-preservation swaps where possible.
We need to stay ahead of growth, get into a mostly-just-maintenance position with established streets, and be multi-modal friendly. That means widening roads ahead of our needs where we clearly have to, but not necessarily carving a path to uneconomical growth in areas where the intention is to preserve a rural fringe. We have a big backlog of street repair work from the years following the 2008 recession. We'll need to continue to surge street repair work to get from about 25% poor and very poor segments to a more livable 10%. And as we bite off the most used streets first, the overall impression of okay streets will improve. We need to keep building out safe sidewalks to schools then to other areas frequently needed by wheelchair users. We need to continue to build out our network of off-street bike trails that casual riders will feel comfortable using. And at DCTA we need to advocate for supplementing fixed routes with on-demand to increase ridership, not reduce service.
My vision for the future of Denton is that, with all the growth we're experiencing, we end up being not just bigger, but even better than now because we nurtured and built on the great qualities we already have. We will have not just a vibrant, diverse culture fueled by the presence of our colleges and universities, but also careers for our graduates in innovative and creative fields. We will have not just a walkable, colorful square but a bigger walkable downtown with public, family-friendly spaces among the well designed shops and office spaces between Locust and Elm. We will have not just a storied underground music scene, but the steady presence of performances across the arts in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. We will be a model for care of the marginalized and for equality before the law. Everyone will live within a ten-minute walk of green space, with hike and bike trails connecting them. It sounds a bit dreamy, but it's all within our power as we set goals and plan.
Despite setting aside significant emergency funds, at peak the economic needs were on such a scale that they could not in any way be covered through city resources alone. Fortunately the federal government acted fairly swiftly and, at first massively, with the CARES Act. That still left a void primarily in the areas of connecting shocked workers and business owners with the resources that were available. The city worked closely with both the Chamber and United Way to get the information to the individuals in need. Personally I successfully advocated for the United Way to assemble a group of expert volunteers like those who help with taxes to help people file for unemployment. I also advocated for our utilities customer service to be able to make a direct hand-off of customers in need to resources who could take their information and get them covered. From a health point of view, the city's main role was to facilitate containing spread through careful closures and our mask rule.
Our processes haven't really changed in those regards, other than having virtual meetings. They're still able to be viewed live or later and still allow for public comment as before.
We have an extremely talented City Manager in Todd Hileman. He acted swiftly to provide incentives for employees who wanted to leave voluntarily. allowing the city to then truly organize in a zero-based way, sharing resources and management across silos, and then adding back positions only as needed.
My citizenship.
I would move to get our website cleaned up. There's very little organization and SEO so finding something like a council voting record for specific categories (ie. infrastructure or public safety votes) is impossible. I'd also like to see an extra Saturday per month to open city council for citizens to come and present their issues. Right now the regular time to do that is on a Tuesday so I'd like to see more access for constituents to directly talk to their elected officials.
I have a policy of sorts that's more like a mindset I call Plant Trees Not Statues. I think taxed money should not go to funding things like festivals, statues, public art, and the like. Nature is a whole lot more beautiful and is rarely objectionable or politicized like statues.
I'd like more things like the Veoride bikes in Denton such as Bird Scooters. I'd also like to see more bike lanes and if we're going really far out I think a hyperloop would be worth it. There's one being talked about that would span from Dallas to Austin to Houston and Denton could be on that too. But that's a long shot and if the opportunity arose I'd say hell yeah.
Repaired roads, electrical grid update, booming businesses, cleaner water, a more well managed landfill, decriminalizing cannabis, ending prison slavery, more emphasis on natural beauty, weekly police situational training and exercise requirements, a better managed city website with an easier user experience, and Jobs Of The Future (renewable energy, technological advancement, space industry, etc.) tax breaks. Those are my biggest concerns that all fall within my "safety, public services like water and garbage disposal, schools, and infrastructure repair and creation" ideal.
Allow all businesses to reopen and lower any and all taxes we can. I want to get the economy back up and running here and the best way to do that is in making it as easy as possible. Cut fees for permits, cut corporate, residential, and sales taxes, and put emphasis on expanding our economy past a service industry plurality we have now. Four job sectors make up 40% of the job market here and we need to expand that in case of another recession. A table is less wobbly when there are more legs so let's get some!
If you cut local government to the fundamentals of safety, public services like water and garbage disposal, schools, and infrastructure repair and creation the bureaucracy would have a much harder time being opaque.
Cut Denton government safety, public services like water and garbage disposal, schools, and infrastructure repair and creation. Hard to have a budget deficit that way. Also decreasing taxes will increase consumer spending which increases tax revenue within the margins. It also encourages more jobs to come into the city and more people employed means jobs have to compete in wages rather than employees having to take what they can get. I'd like to see us back on that track.