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Meet the Candidates: Copper Canyon

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In Copper Canyon, four candidates have filed for three open Council Member positions on the May 8th ballot.

Two long time incumbent Council Members filed for re-election – Dan Christy and Steve Hill.  And two new contenders have filed – Reid Rossmann and Dave Svatik. 

The Town does not designate Council seats by position, so all Council member seats are “at-large”.  The three candidates with the highest numbers of votes will be elected. 

After personally drawing for a position, the four men are listed on the ballot in the following order and that is the order their interviews are reported here: Dave Svatik, Steven Hill, Daniel L. Christy, and Reid Rossmann. 

Dave Svatik:
“The day before the election is my 50th birthday.  Nothing would make me more proud than to be given the opportunity to celebrate a successful campaign and to serve the citizens of Copper Canyon as a member of the Town Council.  My name is Dave Svatik and I have been a citizen of Copper Canyon since May of 1998.  Prior to living in Copper Canyon, I lived in Highland Village.”

“By way of introduction and background, I have been married for 20 years this May to my wife Dale Svatik.  My wife and I are blessed with a son, Christopher Svatik, who is 15 and an active member of the Neighborhood Watch program under the excellent guidance and direction of   Ray Fouse and Butch Mallam.  Dale and I love to travel all over the world with our son Chris.  It gives you a whole different appreciation of the world and where you live.”

 I too have been active in the community. I have been a member of the Copper Canyon Planning and Zoning Commission since 2008.  Recently, I volunteered to spend several months with nearly 40 of my fellow citizens on the Copper Canyon Long Range Planning Task Force for Roads.  As I am sure that the Copper Canyon Town Council can attest, I have also attended at least 85-90 per cent of the Town Council meetings for the past two years.  (Although, I admit I haven’t been as diligent at entering my name on the sign in sheet each meeting.)”

 (NOTE:  In 2008 Dave was very active in helping the Town Council bring a home business on Estates Drive into compliance with Town ordinances.  The business owner had parked two 18 wheeler trailers on his driveway for storage and parked a huge commercial dumpster at his residence for trash.  The barn was full of packing boxes and employees came to the home regularly every week day to work.)

“In a relatively recent conversation with Mayor Sue, I mentioned that I am an amateur radio operator (“Ham Operator”).  I have been licensed for about 30 years and currently hold a General Class FCC license.  I spoke to the Mayor about how amateurs are leveraged in emergency situations to help local officials, the National Weather Service, and FEMA as needed.  Mayor Tejml put me in touch with the Denton County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) which is managed by Brenda Gormley.   I spent most of last Saturday in a course sponsored by the CERT group called “Search Techniques and Marking” followed by another discussion on Amateur Radio.  Bottom line, I have agreed to develop an Emergency Response Plan for the Town of Copper Canyon in cooperation with Denton County and the Town Council.”

“I have a passionate interest in volunteering for Copper Canyon, because I firmly believe in our Town and community.  I have been blessed to meet many people in our Town and believe that we all share a common ground of wanting our community to remain as rural as possible, while not forgetting to respond responsibly to the growth around us.  Our ability to maintain our peaceful setting is not by chance but rather as a direct result of a Town Council and citizens that have worked hard to keep it that way.  I very much look forward to the election and hope that you will give me the honor of serving on our Town Council so that we may preserve our wonderful community.”

Dave is an executive with an international software company that specializes in the organization of corporate businesses.  His responsibility is for the Americas – north, south, and in between.

NOTE:  Dave and I have talked about an Emergency Response “tabletop” exercise with the Argyle Fire District participating with the Town.  Three of our possible scenarios are:  a railroad car derailment with a fire or possible chemical spill, a gas well fire and/or a possible toxic emission, and a tornado or ice storm with trees and debris blocking Town roads and possible outage of basic utilities such as electricity and water.  I appreciate Dave’s willingness to undertake coordinating and organizing such a demanding exercise for the Town.

Steve Hill:
Our Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hill is a Principal and head of Innovation for   KPMG Advisory.  He is also a retired officer in the US Naval Reserve.  Steve completed an Executive Masters of Business Administration (Harvard University sponsored) in Vevey, Switzerland while working as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nautical Science upon graduating from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1986.

Steve has served on the Town Council for eight consecutive years.  His fellow Council Members have honored him by electing him alternately as Mayor Pro Tem or Deputy Mayor Pro Tem for the past five years.  Steve’s contributions to the Town of Copper Canyon have been significant.  He served as the Chairman of the original Master Plan Committee that helped to chart the course for current land uses and protections to our way of life.  He was the author of the Town’s first Ten Year Pro Forma Budget.  It certainly got our attention.  It showed the Town going in the red in just a few years without proper intervention.  Steve also developed a 20 year Pro Forma Budget to keep Town fiscal planning needs clear.  This budget was also sobering.  If Copper Canyon was going to be financially viable, we needed two things:  (1) An Emergency Services District for Fire and Ambulance that had its own taxing authority, and (2) some form of Garden Retail/Commercial development (no big boxes) that would reduce the tax burden on homeowners by spreading the tax base over commercial property taxes and sales taxes

Steve has served as the Town’s Financial Officer for the last 8 years and created the Town’s investment policy.  In the past, Steve served as the Council’s liaison to the Argyle Volunteer Fire District.  He has helped Chief Mac Hohenberger develop a financial model to aid in fire district planning throughout our region.

Steve and his wife Jessica Hill have lived in Copper Woods for almost a decade.  Jessica served as the first Chairman of the Town’s new Hostess Committee.  Steve’s hobby is racing Ferrari Challenge cars all over the United States, and Jessica also now races her own Ferrari.  Steve practices at the Texas Motor Speedway and also serves as an instructor to other race car drivers.  Steve was an Eagle Scout.  And he has served on the Board of Governors for the Dallas Symphony. 

Dan Christy:
Dan has no less than three college degrees from A&M University:  Bachelors in Environmental Design, a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction, and a Masters Degree in Architecture.  At the end of seven and a half years of straight college, Dan was offered a full scholarship to Harvard Law School. (He declined.  He may be too easy-going in temperament to be an attorney.)

Dan is a Project Manager for Austin Industries.  His responsibilities have included being the Design Manager of the new Terminal D at DFW airport.  He also supervised Dallas Independent School District’s recent $1.37 billion bond construction program.  This involved the renovation of 218 schools, the building of 27 additions, the construction of 21 new schools, addition of a central food service fac
ility, and the building of a new sports complex complete with stadium, track and field house.  Dan brought the project in ahead of schedule and under budget!

Dan was Chairman of the Town’s Economic Development Committee.  As Chairman, he attended many Council Meetings to familiarize himself with issues in our Town.  His input on construction materials in the town’s subdivision ordinance was invaluable. Dan also led Committee members on on-site tours of the retail zoned acreage on both sides of FM 407.  Dan wanted to observe first hand any drainage issues and where the trees were located that the Town wanted to preserve.  He led the effort to provide buffer zones between proposed retail and commercial development and existing homes in Copper Canyon and Double Oak.  His concern was to protect the privacy of the surrounding homeowners from the proposed retail area.  

Dan did not plan to run for Council four years ago, but was recruited by Mayor Tejml especially for the depth of his construction knowledge.  He said he was “honored to be asked to serve”, but his work schedule would not allow for much active campaigning.  However, he looked forward to getting to know more of the Town’s residents on a one-on-one basis.

In Dan’s last four years on Council, we have relied heavily on his construction expertise.  Dan has insisted on detailed engineering invoices and personally spent hours reviewing them for accuracy.  When I asked Dan if he would commit to run again, he said he would.  He said he didn’t have an “Agenda”, and he doesn’t.  But he would like to see the update of the Master Plan for the FM 407 retail area completed, and he would like to see the rebuilding of Orchid Hill Lane, Chinn Chapel Road, and some of our worst residential streets completed.  Dan wants to ensure that the Town has “good sound engineering and economical construction” for all our roads.

And he felt it was best for the ongoing stability of Town government to not have more than one Council Member retire at a time.  (John Brothers had already announced his coming retirement from the Town Council.)  Dan gave credit to all his fellow current Council Members as always trying “to do what is best for the Town as a whole.”

Dan and his wife Susan have lived in Copper Canyon for a decade on Ferris Lane.  Dan personally renovated their home and a yard he referred to as a “disaster”.  Susan has served as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, and she has kindly submitted her home made Dog Biscuit recipe for the Copper Canyon Cookbook.  (Susan bakes Dog Biscuits special every week for their golden retriever “Libby”.)

Reid Rossmann:
Reid Rossmann and family moved to Copper Canyon five years ago in 2005.  He said he has been married once for 21 years to his wife Patty; they have a son Zachary, age 20, and daughter Mallory, age 18.  Patty served recently on the Long Range Planning Task Force for Roads.  Reid served 4 years (1988 to 1991) in the light infantry of the US Army at Fort Drum, New York and with the Mountain Division of the 2nd battalion of the 87th Infantry and at Fort Sill, OK with Delta Company of the 31st Infantry.

Reid began his career as a police officer working in the jails of Garland PD and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.  He served one year with the Farmers Branch police department.  He has been a patrol officer in Little Elm for 17 years (since 1993) and observed that town grow from a population of 1,592 to a present population of 24,000.  He lacks one semester to complete his Criminal Justice degree through Mountain State University in Beckley, West Virginia.

For Copper Canyon he would like the following.

(1)  “Crime prevention is one of his biggest objectives.”  “Citizen involvement is the best deterrent to crime, such as Block Captains and Neighborhood Watch.”  However, Reid regularly listens to the Denton County Sheriff’s radio, and he believes the Town’s “crime rate is at an acceptable level and the sheriff’s department as a whole has exceeded my expectations on traffic control and reporting occurrences.”  He said we “need computers, so our deputies could work in the town and not have to go to the sheriff’s office for paper work.” He would like to know if there are any sex offenders in the area who are not registering.  He “did not know much about our Court system, but would like to see how it was run and what hours.”  He believed citizens should attend Council Meetings, but “his shift had not allowed” for him to attend Copper Canyon Council Meetings.

(2)  Rossmann would like to see a “few businesses come in for a tax base.  Maybe something as simple as a gas station. Then the Town could give employees a raise and hire more personnel.”

(3)  “Our tax rate is minimal.  But we are not being competitive.  Our Town needs to grow with the times.”  For example, “Public Relations.  Do we have anyone beyond the Mayor?  Can we call on a person in the media who is reliable?”

(4)   He is in support of the bond proposal for roads “one hundred per cent,” but he thought “the amount should be higher.  We have a lot of potholes.  We don’t even have shoulders for break downs.”  Rossmann would like a bicycle lane on our main roads, such as Chinn Chapel, Copper Canyon and Jernigan.

In summary, he said “We need to try to provide a good, safe, prosperous community for the citizens to call home.”

(I have never met Mr. Rossmann, but appreciate his asking me for coffee to get acquainted.)

There is also a $2.5 million bond proposal for street and bridge improvements on the May 8th ballot.

Early voting will be at Copper Canyon Town Hall from Monday, April 26th through Friday, April 30th during regular office hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Early voting on Monday, May 3rd and Tuesday, May 4th will be at Town Hall from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Election Day is Saturday, May 8th at Town Hall from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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