1) To maintain and improve the quality of the development in Mansfield by establishing a vision for what our citizens want. This will require a published plan for achieving that vision. The published plan will provide our citizens a method to measure our progress on achieving that plan and holding us accountable.
2) We must restructure how we fund the capital growth initiatives of our city. Currently we fund all projects like roadways, fire stations, police stations through our general revenue fund. This fund is comprised primarily of property and sales taxes. To have more we must maintain the tax rate as high as possible. With recent reductions in tax rate the funds available will decrease and must be offset other ways. We must move towards Bond Package initiatives just like the MISD. Bond Packages allow our citizens to participate include in the process and possible approval. It provides our citizens the ability to hold us accountable to the vision we develop and work to implement.
Let me start this list by saying that during the candidate forum sessions some candidates have discussed the potential for significant tax rate reductions referencing tax rates from other cities that are much lower than Mansfield’s. Currently Mansfield funds all roadway, and facilities capital expansion projects with General Revenue Funds. This limits the city to whatever tax revenue that is above and beyond the operational cost of the city for these projects.
1) Future funding is our biggest challenge. With the implementation of the 10% Homestead Exemption, the .02 cent tax rate reduction, and the promised additional 10% Homestead Exemption for 2021 we have created an expectation by our citizens. Candidates for this year’s election have promised even greater reductions. We must establish a balance in what our citizens expect and what is required to build the city that is seen in our vision. We have fallen behind on the construction of new roads and park facilities. Our Library and City Hall need expansion. We are building a new Fire Station and Police Station. City Staff indicates we need an additional Fire Station in Southern Mansfield. We must find a balance between what level of tax reform our citizens expect and a plan for funding future capital projects.
2) Stop the trend towards higher density lesser quality development. Better educate our developmental partners as to what Mansfield is, what we plan to become, and how they can help us achieve that goal.
3) Develop a vision with a plan and a strategy to achieve this vision for the City of Mansfield for attracting the
type of growth (residential, commercial / retail / industrial) that we desire for the next 5, 10, 20 years and beyond.
4) We must develop a new means of financing the capital infrastructure needs of our city that include Bond Packages.
5) Catch up the infrastructure needs of our residents to what the city can deliver. This includes, roadways, parks, police, fire, sewer, utilities, etc.
6) Establish a partnership between the City Council and City Staff on the governance of our city.
1) Complete the leadership transition of City Staff
2) Implement the changes to Staff benefits and compensation ensuring our employees of our commitment to them and their families
3) Develop and implement a Mansfield Vision Plan
Why 3 years? That has been the mentality of Mansfield for far too long. It is the length of a term of an elected official. It politicizes our outlook making our thinking short term in nature. We need to think in terms of 5-10 years. We need to think in the terms of a team. A team of 8, 7 Councilmen (and women) and the City Manager. We need to conduct a new Council member orientation / training. We need to conduct a retreat of the Council and City Staff to build a working relationship, a better understanding, and goals for our tenure as elected representatives of our citizens.
We must establish a vision and implement a plan to achieve this vision.
We should change to a long term planned bond-based system of funding capital improvements within our city. It eliminates the need to rely solely on property and sales taxes for funding capital improvement projects. By changing to voter approved bond projects it allows our citizens to participate in the decision-making process. It holds the City Council and City Staff accountable to the citizens of Mansfield to deliver the vision with their approval.