Four vie to be Mansfield mayor

October 13, 2020
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By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

After a dozen years, Mansfield is about to get a new mayor. Early voting started Tuesday with the general election set for Nov. 3.

David Cook, who has been Mansfield mayor since 2008, is stepping down to run for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, leaving his unexpired term. Four candidates are seeking his seat, including two current council members, Terry Moore, Brent Newsom, George Fassett and Michael Evans.

We asked the candidates to respond to questions to give voters a chance to get to know them a little better. Listed below (in alphabetical order) are their responses.

Michael A. Evans, Sr., 53, Clergy

Community involvement:

A. I have worked with the former and current city manager and staff on matters of economic development, community revitalization, summer youth job creation, (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement/TCOLE) Law Enforcement Advisory Task Force, senior adult programs, educational enrichment and counseling services just to name a few.

B. County liaison and co-chair of the Tarrant County Blue Ribbon Committee on Health Care for Precinct 2 (Appointed by Mayor David Cook and Commissioner Andy Nguyen)

C. Elected Three Times to the MISD Board of Trustees and served as the board president for two terms; Recognized as a Master Board Member by Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

D. Elected to the Board of Trustees for Tarrant County College; member of the Audit and Finance Committee.

E. Chosen as a Regent for Baylor University; Member of Audit and Finance Committee and Academic Affairs Committee; just to name a few.

F. Member of the executive board for Tarrant County Habitat For Humanity; the group has built 15 homes in Mansfield.

G. Founder and President of the Historic West Mansfield Texas Community Development Corp. The HWMT CDC built the $19.5 mil., 135,000-square-foot Independent Living Senior Adult Apartments, “Bethlehem’s Pioneer Place.” The property has zero vacancies with a waiting list of more than 800 people.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield?

A. The high property tax rates.

  1) Seek an additional 10 percent Homestead Exemption after working with council and city  

      manager on agreed upon budget augmentations.

  2) Promote the city’s economic development strategy by encouraging a more symbiotic

      relationship between the chamber and MEDC.

B. The need to employ more law enforcement and first responders.

 1) Work to maintain competitive salary and benefit packages for our police and fire, EMTs.

 2) Prioritize funding to meet the future needs of the city by working with the city manager

C. The need to develop an agreed upon “vision statement” and “smart growth strategy” for smart

measured growth and economic development by engendering buy-in from the Mansfield community.

1) Work with the city manager, council, local chamber and MEDC on preparing and executing a joint

business strategy and a mission statement that will allow the two entities to work on joint projects to

promote the city.

2) Invite the citizens to participate in surveys and community listening sessions that will allow the

mayor, council and city manager to hear from the citizens concerning what they may want to see as

a good “land use” strategy moving forward.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years?

A. Developing a vision statement in order to guide the growth of the city going forward.

B. Economic development to include investing in the “Main Street” district (downtown), balancing retail, grocer and restaurants in all sectors of the city; encouraging a medical support infrastructure with regional hospitals. Recruit data and technology companies to encourage white collar employment and manufacturing.

C. Invest in the infrastructure of our city in order to assure present and future citizens of safe roadways and attract retail and grocers to the “Reserves” as well as grocers to the Debbie Lane and FM 1187 corridors as we build out the Texas 360 and US 287 frontage.

D. Increasing law enforcement, first responders and city services as the city grows; this will include building a law enforcement center.

E. Develop a “Rainy Day Fund” for small businesses that could be adversely affected by natural disasters, health emergencies and economic downturns.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better?

A. I love the city and the citizens of Mansfield, Texas. I want to preserve a way of life that promotes a safe, secure environment for both the young and the seasoned citizens of our city. I want to develop a regional strategy that promotes Mansfield as a great place to live, learn and play.

B. I want to advocate for smart, balanced growth and encourage robust economic development that will help to lessen the tax burden on our citizens.

C. I am seeking the office of mayor in order to serve with a council that will assure the citizens of our city that their voices are heard and that the level of fairness and integrity is something that they can expect.

George C. Fassett, 46, CEO of Mebuis Business Advisors

Community involvement:    

1- Fort Worth Civic leadership – I worked alongside Mayor Betsy Price on business initiatives in the city that supported young professionals’ association and bridging the gap between business and government in Fort Worth.  

2- Spiritual Care Network of Tarrant County – I served as the first director of SCN and continue to support the organization on an annual basis. I frequently act as an advisor and advocate for SCN and its Executive Director.

3- Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce – I launched one of the chamber’s first small business network lead groups. Served as the major sponsor of the chamber’s first technology publication. I developed, sponsored and led the Leads Explosion program for four years as the master of ceremonies (connecting business throughout Tarrant and Dallas counties). I launched one of the chamber’s technology publications.

4- Additional organizations I have been a part of are Veterans Resource Center, 2016; Samaritan House, 2002 – Present; Lighthouse for the Blind, 2007 – Present; Hope Center for Autism, 2014 – Present; Presbyterian Night Shelter, 2010 – Present.  

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield?

The biggest challenge facing this great city is lowering property taxes for our residents and our businesses. To do this we must prioritize our spending in Mansfield.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years?  

The focus has to be on passing property tax relief. Until my efforts to rally our community this year to see a change in our property tax rate, Mansfield had been one of the few cities in North Texas that has not provided property tax relief for families. Some homeowners are paying a city property tax bill that is twice what they paid 10 years ago. As mayor, I will use my business expertise to bring upon a fiscally conservative culture at City Hall. This will prioritize and maximize spending effectively so we can finally provide substantial property tax relief that Mansfield families desperately need and deserve. The next logical step has to be to build on the City Council’s June 23rd decision, which approved and passed the homestead exemption bill, because I want to see our city grow and prosper in the years to come. 10 percent is just a start, I would like to see us get that to 20 percent as quickly as possible. We need to get our infrastructure, roads, fire and police the budgets they need. We are spending money on luxury items before giving relief and getting our core services the support, budgets, vision, and strategies they need to ensure not only what we have now is brought up to where it needs to be, but also have vision and strategy to staying in pace and ahead of our growth so we can properly scale our core needs in the city.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better?  

I can contribute to making Mansfield better by being themore effective leader I know I am compared to the other candidates. Voters should know that I deeply care about their welfare and  can provide much needed leadershipto the Mayor’s office because of my more than two decades of working and leading companies. I want voters to know that I have a proven record of finding and cutting wasteful spending with the ultimate goal of increasing efficiency to bring a more fiscally conservative culture at City Hall and provide the great residents of this great city with property tax relief. As a leader I plan to engage our citizens in targets advisory groups to help us with decisions and our future. We need to embrace our downtown and hometown feel. We need to bring more business, corporate investment, salaried jobs, while also working to get those unique small businesses in our historic areas that brings people to our town thru making good deals with our landlords and building corporate sponsors and enticing business in Mansfield.

Terry M. Moore, 61, Cardiovascular and Organ Failure Life Support Sales

Community involvement:

City Councilman Mansfield - 2017 - present

Chairman Mansfield Public Memorials Committee- Veterans Memorial

Mansfield Veterans Memorial Foundation Board Member

MISD School Board Trustee - 2006-2015

MISD Education Foundation Board

Mansfield Cares Board Member

Mansfield Sunrise Rotary

President of the North Texas United States Air Force Parents Association

Walnut Estates HOA President

Mansfield Citizens Police Academy

Mansfield Citizens Fire Academy

Mansfield Arts Association

Mansfield Historical Society

Mansfield Friends of the Public Library

Mansfield Heritage Foundation

BSA Registered Leader (20 years)

BSA Pack 1993 - Founder, Committee Chair, Cubmaster, Den Leader

BSA Troop 1993 - Assistant Scout Master

Salvation Army Advisory Council

Football Booster Chair

Band Booster VP - Fundraising

Mansfield Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year

Honorary PTA Life Member

Cross & Flame Award Recipient

Chairman - Put It Down Save a Life Program (alcohol abstinence for high school students)

Founded Dad’s Clubs at Boren, Asa Low, Wester and Mansfield High schools

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield?

Funding is our biggest challenge. With the implementation of the 10 percent Homestead Exemption, the .02 cent tax rate reduction, and the promised additional 10 percent 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 is in need of a redesign and expansion to meet the needs of the future. We are in the midst of building a new fire station and police station. City staff indicates we need an additional fire station in southern Mansfield. We need to find a balance between what level of tax reform our citizens expect and develop a plan for funding future capital projects.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years?

Why three 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 seven councilmen (and women). We need to think in the terms of a team of eight like the MISD does. A team of the council and city staff, the city manager representing the staff as that eighth team member.

With that said, we should establish a vision and implement a plan to achieve that vision.

We should change to a long-term planned bond-based system of funding capital improvements within our city. This allows the citizens to participate in the vision. It holds the city council and city staff accountable to the citizens of Mansfield to deliver that vision with their approval in steps along the way.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better?

Through my answers above I have shared ideas of my plans as mayor of Mansfield. These ideas do not currently exist within our city. For this reason, I feel my goals will make the City of Mansfield better. My goals include developing a vision and a plan for the future of the City of Mansfield. In addition, we need to develop a plan on how best to engage our citizens, a broad-based representation of the various geographic areas and demographics of the city of Mansfield. We need to change the way in which we fund the future growth of our city. This needs to include the approval of our citizens through voting. We need to improve the manner in which we identify, negotiate and fund public/private projects to include citizen involvement in some form.

Brent Newsom, 49, assistant vice president at a local bank

Community involvement:

• Mansfield City Council

• Mansfield Rotary Club

• Leadership Mansfield

• Habitat for Humanity

• Revitalize Historic Downtown Mansfield Committee, Chair

• Adopt a Street program

• Mansfield Animal Care & Control Liaison

• TIRZ Board #2,Chair

• Subcommittee for City of Mansfield/MISD relations

• Code Enforcement Committee, Current Member and Past Chair

• Hotel/Motel Tax Committee, Current Member and Past Chair

• Health Insurance Committee

• United Way Board Training

• MISD Day of Service

• Veterans Day Parade Committee

• City of Mansfield Budget Committee

• Mayor Pro Tem, Multiple Terms

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield?

Managing the growth is the single biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield today.

This challenge will touch all parts of the city. We will need to hire personnel for police, fire and other departments. We will need to build roads, improve facilities and add physical infrastructure such as fire stations, a police station, library, parks and adding on to the Mansfield Activities Center.

In the past these needs largely relied on taxes from homeowners. Now, the planning of the present and past councils have started to pay off.  The planning allows our budget to not only rely on homeowners’ taxes, but our expanded commercial, sales tax, industrial and retail growth. As a result of moving toward more balanced growth in Mansfield, the council I am a part of was able to pass the first ever Homestead Exemption of 10 percent and a tax rate reduction.  Both happened while still hiring police, fire, building our fifth fire station and adding to our police station. We have a responsibility to help give back to the homeowners that have given so much. Mansfield citizens have a high expectation for what we get for our tax dollars and we should! This is an exciting time for Mansfield. The planning that I have helped put in place with my fellow council members will continue to benefit the citizens of Mansfield for many generations. We have a plan and budgetthat continues the expansion of services, like Wi-Fi in our parks and downtown, roads construction and library improvements. All this while increasing our homestead exemption and reducing the tax rate.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years?

Our focus is and should be doing what is right for the citizens of Mansfield while supporting all the employees of Mansfield that deliver the excellent service and standards Mansfield has come to expect. The challenges discussed previously are ones the council has planned and plans for well outside the three-year window we are now discussing. There are a number of areas that we can work to accomplish improvement in the short term. One is communication. We need to work on a program that helps to engage our citizens. It is imperative for a citizenry that deserves the best. We have an opportunity to engage in ways we have never before. We must also start that engagement at a much earlier age. The program needs to demystify city government. Local government is too important and impactful to not get the word out. As mayor, I will organize a Student Mayor’s Council that will work with the students of Mansfield ISD. The Student Mayor’s Council will help facilitate the engagement that is so direly needed. I will commit to work with our local citizen groups like HOAs, other member organizations, and senior groups to be proactive, not reactive. These are just two programs for communication that I believeshould be implemented year one.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better?

I will work to collaborate with my fellow council members and staff to develop innovative ways to move the City of Mansfield forward. Over the past eight years, I have earned the respect of my fellow council members and our current and past city management. This respect and experience is imperative for a mayor. Our city staff and the employees of the City of Mansfield are experienced and extremely qualified to do their job. As a mayor and council members we represent all the citizens of Mansfield and need to ensure that the voice of our citizens are heard and  guide the direction of what is to come for the future of Mansfield.

Get the word out!

Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.

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