Two council seats up for grabs

October 13, 2020
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By Amanda Rogers

Mansfield Record

Early voting starts Tuesday for four seats on the Mansfield City Council, Place 1 (Mayor), Place 2, Place 6 and Place 7, with the general election set for Nov. 3.

Four candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the mayor’s post, including two current council members – Brent Newsom and Terry Moore – in addition to Michael Evans and George Fassett. See more about this race:

A special election is also being held for the remaining term of Newsom’s Place 2 seat with three candidates seeking that seat: Skeeter Pressley, Scot Bowman and Tamera Bounds.

Up for election this year are Place 6, currently held by Moore, who is running for the mayor’s post. Todd Tonore and Philip DeGroat are in the running for the position.

Incumbent Larry Broseh is running unopposed for another three-year term in Place 7.

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.

(Place 2)

Tamera Bounds, 61, Regional Rehabilitation Director of Clinical, Financial and Operational services for 17 years and in the field of physical therapy for 28 years

Community involvement:

Previous  Zoning Commissioner: I worked with other commissioners, citizens, staff and council  to research, scrutinize and discuss  zoning applications that  come before us to  push  quality construction, look at safety concerns, provide acceptable density; accurate site plans and projects that are good bones development to  compliment and sustain our  growing community. Worked with staff and council to update the zoning ordinances to reflect a higher quality of design and decision-making ability. I worked with staff for updating the zoning map to accurately reflect our land use currently in place, our percentages of development and what we have left to develop.

Previous Member of the Capital Improvement Advisory Committee: I worked with other members of this committee and staff to question, scrub or update our water, sewage and roads related impact fees to make sure we are getting sufficient dollars from new development that will pay for necessary infrastructure needs and related safety services. These fees are reviewed every 6 months for efficiencies.

Previous Member of the Construction Codes Board of Adjustments and Appeals: This board set standards to maintain our property values, protect the safety and welfare of our citizens through enforcement of applicable codes related to the upkeep and design of property , buildings and other structures within our city.

Previous Member of Mansfield Tree Board: I worked to set good policy with preserving our trees in Mansfield

Woodland Estates HOA president for over six years: I brought financial balance, structure and maintained good property value. Worked with city staff to renovate our community streets, Killian Park and remained a consistent vocal voice for this community in matters that come before the city.

Current board member for Downtown Mansfield Inc.: We work with historic downtown Mansfield merchants and city staff to collaborate needs for enhancement projects, improvements and have assisted with some downtown events

Current member of Census 2020 Committee: We work with the city to brainstorm strategies on community involvement to get the citizens to complete the Census.

Current Mansfield related affiliations and volunteer: Mansfield Chamber of Commerce; Rotary; Texas Land Trust, League of Women Voters

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

Good Infrastructure to meet the current and future needs of this growing city: Strategic planning to identify the SWOT of our city, Budgeting to plan for the expenses currently and future; working with staff and depts to ensure that the city is getting timely and cost-effective project management. Partnering/ networking with other regions or agencies to assist with money for the needs (roads, drainage, sewage). MEDC, Utility Funds, Sewage Funds, Seek County Commissioners assistance with pertinent matters.

Updated Landuse policy: We need to make good use of our remaining vacant land. Better alignment with the community values, what is actually permitted and current zoning districts in place.  Develop a committee to have meetings that include citizens and staff to do a comparative analysis of our city and provide input.  This could include aerials and actual physical review of our community properties. Revise outdated materials. Revisit the Planned Development concept and possibly redesign. Bring in line with what might be in conflict with state and local rules. Then use this as a tool when approving the highest and best use for our land

Recruitment of good sustainable business to Mansfield: What does Mansfield want to have here to offer our citizens? We need businesses that will give us a competitive edge over bordering cities, bring higher paying jobs and people to support our local economy. Have MEDC do a market analysis to uncover thriving companies and where they house their headquarters. Look at our land—what do we have to offer that will accommodate. Use abatements sparingly. Look for opportunity in other areas of the city where existing growth can support. What are other cities doing to recruit business?  Recruit! Recruit!

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

Continue Taxpayer relief: Foundation for taxpayer relief has been laid. But we are not done here. I want to see us reach the 20 percent home exemption cap and reduce the overall rate to .67. To do this we have to remain on target with processes put in place that includes maintaining and monitoring our budget, watch our debt and with wisely eliciting dollars for shovel ready projects and to meet the needs of our strategic five-year capital improvement plan

Landuse updates and driving the bus for quality land use projects that come to Mansfield. We are at least at a 73 percent built out with have minimal vacant land left. Without annexing other land, we must take a hard look at our master plan for Mansfield. We need to scrutinize and update our land use and bring it more in line with what is built here and how we want to drive the quality of new land use projects.

Infrastructure needs which include what our master plan calls for. Budgeting to plan for the expenses currently and in the future; working with developers, staff and departments to ensure that the city is getting timely and cost-effective project bids and management.

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

Mansfield is a great place to live, work and play! Our schools are great and families move here to attend them. The city council has spent many months changing and updating policies and have set our first homestead exemption ever! And reduced the tax rate as well. However, we are not done. These processes now have to be implemented and maintained to continue to provide taxpayer relief and run the city operations efficiently. This means providing sufficient funding for our infrastructure, police and fire. And make good land use decisions with the remaining land.

For nearly a decade, I have worked with Mansfield citizens, city staff, city council, multiple boards and commissions to look through the lens of opportunity for good solutions to our challenges. This has established good partnerships between all of us—the stakeholders! As we continue to grow and build out, it will be important to continue to work through these established partnerships to make sure we are making good decisions. We need to be inclusionary of our citizens so they have a voice in matters that are important to them and what our community wants to spend their tax dollars on. This transparency has been missing in the past. And while the city is working on this, we still have to keep that a focus for the future.

This focus on our future will be essential to the sustainability of our community and maintaining a balance for all that live, work and play here.

(Place 2)

Scot Bowman, 46, IT Professional (IT Manager of Application Development)

Community involvement: For the past few years, I have faithfully served the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation (Parks Board) as a board member. This experience has helped me understand the operations of the city, the budgeting process, and how to get things done.  This experience has also taught me the procedures that boards operate like the Texas Open Meetings Act and the ethics involved in holding a board position.  I am a member of the 10-Year Park Master Plan Advisory Committee and served as the chair for the “Parks & Facilities Sub-Committee.” Additionally, I serve at my church and as a driver for Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield? Managed and planned growth – Ensuring we are attracting the right businesses to the right parts of Mansfield. Adding the right retail/commercial business to our community will provide jobs for our residents and offset property taxes. Ensuring the city’s infrastructure can handle the rate of growth and not forsaking existing aging infrastructure as it needs repair. Providing various sizes and types of high-quality residential housing for people to raise families. A comprehensive city-wide master plan will help guide our steps for managed growth.

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

1. Continued tax relief to our residents and business owners – Continue the progress made by the current council and staff to reduce the tax burden on property owners and local businesses.  This will be obtained through a multi-step approach including:

A. Reviewing operating expenses to find ways to reduce costs.

B. Attract strategic businesses that contribute to the overall tax base.

2. Strategic and managed growth – We are less than 20 years away from what they estimate to be our final build-out for the city. That means in 20 years we will be at capacity for population, housing, businesses, and growth. This is an incredible opportunity we are faced with right now, making the decisions that will guide the future of our city not just for the next 20 years but for history.

3. Maintaining our existing and aging infrastructure. – As Mansfield grows our current infrastructure will age and need repairs. Providing roads, water, waste management, and other fundamental services will need to be addressed. I propose a comprehensive city-wide plan that will inventory these items and expected end of life to plan and budget maintenance.

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

I am a team player and I have a desire to serve. I am an IT professional with almost 30 years of experience and will provide a perspective the council does not currently have. I have no personal agenda and do not have a conflict of interest.  I look at big picture tasks rather than single-issue items. I have a track record of making good business decisions based on data, minimizing risk and opportunity. Being a father of five, I have a family perspective and desire for Mansfield to continue being a great place to raise a family.

(Place 2)

Skeeter PressIey,  49, vice president of CMS Services

Community involvement: Head usher at St. Jude’s church, HOA at Dover Heights, Knights of CoIumbus

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield? I feel the taxes.

What shouId be the city’s focus in the next three years? l believe the town needs to focus on our roads, traffic, police and fire, and bringing in large businesses.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better? l feel getting more invoIved with the city activities, having an open ear to the citizens that want to taIk and being a leader for the council to follow.

(Place 6)

Philip DeGroat, 46

I am currently the managing partner of a small, specialty liqueur company.  I received my bachelor’s degree in finance from Stephen F. Austin and a master’s in business administration from UTA. I spent over 20 years working in the financial services industry before taking a break in 2017 to spend more time with the family. My wife and I have lived in Mansfield for 15 years and have two children, 15 and 13.

Community involvement: My community involvement has been mostly with the Mansfield ISD.  I was the head of the Watch DOGS program at Nancy Neal Elementary school for several years, which helps get dads more involved with their children in the school setting. I am also a substitute teacher in the district, and I volunteer for chaperone duties on several school trips per year. I am also involved with my son’s Boy Scout Troop, which provides several community services throughout the year.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield? I believe the biggest challenge is managing the last 25 percent of space that Mansfield has for growth. We must be careful to control both the rate of growth and how we utilize the remaining land to get the best benefit for Mansfield residents.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years? Lowering taxes, focusing on infrastructure projects, and developing a longer-term growth plan for remaining land.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better? I spent 20-plus years working in the financial services industry before leaving the corporate world. During that time, I held several management and executive positions predominantly focused on audit and compliance for information technology. This involved analyzing detailed data to solve problems, minimize risk and make the most informed decision possible. I have experienced many different cultures, languages and beliefs during my career and consider that invaluable to my ability to work with people. I believe that my skills and experience will allow me to make decisions based on solid due diligence and good data analysis vs. opinion and any outside interests. I am not a politician and have no interest in pursuing that path. I do not own or develop any property in Mansfield that may affect my decisions.

(Place 6)

Todd Tonore, 58, business owner

Community involvement:  Serve on multiple boards – Methodist Mansfield Board, MISD Education Foundation Board, Why not bless.  Chair Private Fundraiser for The Caring Place, Multiple MISD objectives.

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

With limited land left to develop, it is very important that we get the proper businesses/developments into our city that will provide strong-paying jobs for our children and grandchildren. Corporate setting and high-end retail are important to draw those children back to the city that they grew up in. This will benefit our community tremendously from top to bottom.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years? Land development and growth management. We are a city of 82,000 people with a projection of 125,000 in five years.

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

Growing a city is a lot like growing a business, which I have tremendous experience. There are no better folks to recruit business into our community than business people like myself that are already invested here. We are in a situation that we need leaders with vision.

We need leaders that can bring people together for a common goal. I feel that I have those skills.

(Place 7)

Larry Broseh, 66, President/CEO  Drill King Intl.

Community involvement:  Deacon at Walnut Ridge Baptist Church, City Council member, Tarrant Regional Water District Board member, member of numerous sub-committees of council

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the City of Mansfield? Controlling the growth and development.  Infrastructure of public streets and thoroughfares is paramount to maintaining excellent services throughout the city.

What should be the city’s focus in the next three years?  Maintain the excellent status we currently enjoy. Beyond that, we should continue to construct new parks with available park funds and develop our industrial sector by utilizing our M.E.D.C. funding mechanism.

How can you contribute to make the City of Mansfield even better?  I will continue to work in the capacity that I have over the past years as a member of City Council.

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