How do you create and maintain a safe, prosperous and aesthetically attractive area to raise your family and live in harmony? It doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen simply because you pay your HOA dues and read the local paper to see where the garage sales are being held.
In order to be truly successful, towns and cities need residents who care enough to get involved in the workings of their local government and be vigilant when they sense a change of direction that might impact their lives. Too often, people think they’ve performed their civic duty by paying their taxes, mowing their lawns and voting in the presidential election every four years. Sadly, most people pay scant attention to the elective offices in their suburban enclaves, which can affect their lifestyles significantly more than all those Washington DC bureaucrats put together.
Charlotte Wilcox was recently appointed Mayor of Highland Village after Pat Davis resigned in May, citing personal and health issues. Having served with distinction on the City Council since May of 2009, Ms. Wilcox was an excellent choice for the top spot, as evidenced by the unanimous vote of her Council colleagues. During an interview with Mayor Wilcox she was effusive in her praise of Pat Davis. “Pat was constantly working to improve our beautiful city,” she said, adding, “The man put in more time and effort than you can imagine.” She had similar praise for all of her predecessors. “It was a great pleasure, as well as a challenge to receive this appointment, but I have the advantage of learning from the experiences of some strong mentors who have already put the foundation in place. When I look at the prior Mayors of Highland Village, I realize that I have some big shoes to fill.”
Born in Dallas, Charlotte Wilcox grew up in the small town of Bowie, Texas. Her dad was District Manager of the Lone Star Gas Company (now Atmos Energy). Her mom worked in the tax office, and both were active in the community, volunteering for several boards and commissions. Her father was named Man of the Year in Bowie, by the Chamber of Commerce. Currently, her brother Clifford works in the finance department for the City of Lewisville, and her sister-in-law is none other than Cindi Howard, Director of Operations for the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce. “It’s (community service) in my DNA and we were raised to serve. I really believe that when you’re raised to give back to the community you’re doing something that provides you with the utmost satisfaction and you’re paving the way for your family and all the future families that may enjoy the seeds you’ve planted.”
Charlotte’s political interests began in high school when she became Class Secretary. She wanted to be Class President, but, at the time they didn’t want a girl in that position. Her education continued at Tarrant County Community College where she continued to be active in academic and political affairs. She married in 1979 and moved to Highland Village in 1995. Taking a break from civic affairs for a few years, she involved herself in something much more important; she and her husband raised two children. When she was ready to begin serving again, she was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission. “I feel certain that most people don’t know how satisfying it is to be involved in the process that helps improve their neighborhoods. When you serve on a board or commission you learn that there’s a lingo in the administration of a city that helps one to understand what makes it work. Also, if you decide to run for elective office you don’t have to deal with a learning curve because you’ve already had the necessary education.”
In addition to her municipal duties, the Mayor is a licensed realtor with RE/MAX Cross Country and co-owner, with her husband Terry, of Wilcox Pest Control. With a population of about 15,000, Highland Village includes some of the most scenic rolling hills, trees and meticulously manicured landscaping in North Texas. With continued construction along I-35 through the east side of the city, and the effort to open Double Tree Ranch Park, which will include soccer fields, an amphitheater, a fish pond and a nature area, the city is always striving to improve the infrastructure and the recreational needs of its residents. In August, the annual Balloon Festival, sponsored by the Lions Club, will again be held in Unity Park. Moreover, Whole Foods Market is set to open in the Shops at Highland Village in September. There are concerts Tuesday nights, such as jazz night at the Shops at Highland Village, while on Thursday nights there are different kinds, like rock and country music. Go to www.highlandvillage.org to learn more.
There are seven members on the Council, including the Mayor, and each official has a vote. “The Council does not get paid and I agree with that,” Wilcox said. She also agrees with their term limits. “We can serve a total of 8 years consecutively, which would be four 2-year terms in any combination of seats. Then we can wait a year and run again,” she added. “There’s a lot of homework to prepare for a meeting. I have to meet with the City Manager (Michael Leavitt) and discuss the agenda and we must have it all organized so we don’t go in blind. Once it’s put together we send it to the other council members so that we can all do our homework and present it clearly and efficiently at the public meeting.”
A thoroughly charming and articulate Denton County notable, Charlotte Wilcox is another reason why this North Texas area is such a great place to live. Not particularly impressed with herself; she says, “I’m humbled by this position, but I don’t look at this as a big deal. When people ask what they should we call me now that I’m the Mayor, I say, ‘how about Charlotte’? I was on the council and now I’m the Mayor, but, I’m still just Charlotte,” she smiled.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.