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Mayor reflects on eight years of public service

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We recently caught up with outgoing Highland Village Mayor Dianne Costa, who will be stepping aside this May after reaching her term limit.

Costa was first elected Mayor in May 2006 and re-elected in 2008. She has served on the City Council since 2002, and during her tenure she served as Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and Mayor Pro Tem.

Costa is co-owner of Sharp Focus Centers for counseling, education and mediation, and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Studies, with a minor in Government, from Texas Woman’s University.

Costa, her husband Dennis, and their sons have lived in Highland Village since 1994.

CTG: What was your proudest accomplishment during your term?

Costa: It would be hard to pick any one accomplishment.  With the support of other councilmembers and staff, the visions that I had for the city could be brought to fruition. Opening the city government to the people it serves, such as having meetings out among citizenry, has united our community via interactive communication and helped create an atmosphere of cooperation.  This open communication has created a sense of unity between the citizens and our city government.  Another contribution during my tenure was establishing and nurturing relationships for our city on a local, regional and national level.  Highland Village has so much to offer and it was important that our community be recognized as well as have a voice in issues that impact our citizens.

CTG: How will the FM 2499 extension affect the city as it turns the area into a major crossroads?

Costa: We recognize that we are opening the doors to our city; however we have been proactive in our public safety programs to address the area.  Because we have been proactive, all those businesses that have invested in our city with the expectation of 2499 opening and have hung in there while the construction has been ongoing will flourish. The net effect is a win/win since the citizens will realize the sales tax growth and in turn we can rely less on property taxes to meet the needs of our citizens.

CTG: What are some of the things that you are most excited about regarding the future of the city?

Costa: As I leave, the city is in great shape.  We can now concentrate on more of a maintenance mode.  There are still some exciting challenges on the horizon: i.e. the development of Doubletree Ranch; transit-oriented development and the DCTA passenger rail.  Highland Village was only one of three cities that had the foresight to get in on the ground floor, thanks to the votes of our citizens.  I worked passionately to get our city’s name on the rail station.  I wanted to make sure that our citizens’ investment was recognized.  We continue to work with the City of Lewisville in a cooperative manner to address the final station development. 

CTG: What motivated you to run for mayor in the first place?

Costa: I saw significant challenges for our city on the horizon.  My previous four years on council prepared me with the knowledge base, commitment and love for my community to meet those challenges.  The goal was to secure our financial stability and create a live/work/shop environment that would allow our families the luxury of having all their needs met right where they live.

CTG: What are you planning to focus on now?

Costa: My goal is to continue to work in my mediation & counseling business, continue to have Mondays as my “Grandmother Day” with the addition of 2 new grandbabies, to seek council’s approval and appointment to the first alternate position on the DCTA board of directors, and be open to God’s calling.

CTG: Expound on how your faith guides you in your daily city responsibilities.

Costa: Being on council is a service position and volunteering, in any capacity, must come from a place of servanthood.  My heart has always been a servant’s heart and my time on council has reflected that position.  As councilmembers, we are charged with voting our conscience in any and all decisions we make.  Citizens may not necessarily know what my personal preference or opinion is on any given subject. And in voting my conscience I not only must seek the wisdom and knowledge on that matter but must consider what is in the best interest for the greater good. I recognize that not only am I accountable to the citizens of this community, I am accountable to my Savior.

Mayor-elect Dr. Scott McDearmont had this to say about Costa: “Dianne Costa and I walked the streets of Highland Village many hours campaigning in 2006. Dianne is a tough campaigner and has always fought hard for the citizens of Highland Village. After eight years on council, our city will miss her leadership and experience. Dianne served on council during a time of many changes in Highland Village. As a result of some of these changes, our retail tax base has grown and helped the city weather tough financial times. During our time together on council, I traveled with Dianne to both Washington DC and Austin and saw first hand her passion for issues from transportation to public safety. As this chapter of her service to the City of Highland Village draws to a close, I have no doubt that Dianne will continue to serve our community and stay involved in the causes she feels passionately about.”

McDearmont will be sworn in as Mayor of Highland Village at the regular city council meeting on May 11. Prior to the meeting, there will be a reception honoring Costa and council member Don Combs from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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