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Meet the Candidates – Flower Mound Town Council

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Three council member seats – Places 1, 3, and 5 – are up for grabs in Flower Mound with two seats being vacated by current council members. Jean Levenick and Mark Wise both announced they would not be seeking re-election to their respective seats.

All three seats drew two candidates vying for each. Last year, the town election was cancelled when no challengers filed for the vacant seats – the first time the town has cancelled an election in many years.

Early voting begins on April 27 for the May 9 municipal and school board elections across southern Denton County. The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate to answer a short questionnaire to help you make an informed decision at the polls. Here are their responses:
Flower Mound Town Council – Place 1:

Brian Rountree

Age:
 52

Current Occupation: 
Technical Instructor, Raytheon Corporation. Providing classroom, computer and simulator training to FAA air traffic controllers.

Education:
 1981 graduate of Lewisville High School. Bachelor’s Degree University of North Texas.

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? 
Rejoice Lutheran Church, Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce, Flower Mound Area Republican Club

Why should you be elected?
 I oppose high density development in Flower Mound, especially when it is going to severely increase traffic congestion along FM2499. Unlike our current leadership, I will vote against Master Plan zoning changes that ignore SMARTGrowth standards. I will add balance to a Council that is currently approving almost every development that is put before them and raise the bar back to where Flower Mound citizens expect it to be. I have no business ties, banker friends or cozy relationships with developers which will affect my judgement when making decisions in the best interest of our citizens or the long-term health of our community. Being a native Texan and resident of the area longer than any current Town leader, I take particular pride in the natural beauty and rural heritage of our Town. That is why I will work with concerned citizens and Town officials to do a better job of reducing wholesale tree destruction, especially to our ancient native Post Oak trees. I will live here and will stay here long after my service to this Town has concluded and have no desire for higher office beyond my service on the Town Council. I will speak truthfully, forcefully and always put the concerns of existing citizens ahead of the desires of new developers coming to Town.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them?

I believe the current Town leadership has not done enough to follow our SMARTGrowth standards, allowing too much development to happen too fast.  The very standards that made Flower Mound special and the envy of the Metroplex have been challenged with ever increasing examples of high density development. Many regular citizens are rightfully alarmed that the very reasons they moved here are being threatened with each new Master Plan change. Our trees and open spaces are disappearing and the ‘rural atmosphere’ that we cherish may soon be a thing of the past. I will vote against high density development that does not adhere to our SMARTGrowth standards, especially high density along FM2499 that pours unsustainable amounts of traffic into this Town’s main artery. I will fight to strengthen our tree ordinances and work with other FM leaders to explore creative new avenues for preserving our remaining open spaces and ancient native post oak trees. I will encourage the Town leadership to do a better job with transparency standards and work towards the implementation of a new social media policy for Town officials.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
www.br4fmtc.com;
www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-Rountree-for-Town-Council-Place-1/642837262509383

Michael Walker

Age:
 68

Current Occupation:
 Semi-Retired, Part-time Group Benefits Consultant

Education:
 Master of Urban and Regional Planning – Virginia Tech; B. A. – Fairfield    University

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? 
St. Philip the Apostle Church; Board Member, Board of Directors – Youth and Family Counseling; President, Board of Directors – DFW Chapter of the Community Associations Institute;  Member, Office of History & Culture, Certified Local Government Commission – Denton County; Member, Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce; American Legion; Military Officers Association of America, and the Association of the U.S. Army

Why should you be re-elected?
 I am seeking re-election to this office because I want to continue to help guide Flower Mound’s future. I moved to Flower Mound in 1995 due to its unique suburban setting, environmental qualities, and accessibility to the Metroplex and DFW Airport. I believe in community service, and have a 12 year record of volunteering for Town service. As a result, I am very interested in the overall welfare of our Town. That experience, coupled with my background in financial management, land use planning and citizen involvement, compels me to contribute as a Councilmember. In addition, I chose to pursue re-election due to the challenges of potential development in Flower Mound to make sure that the Town’s public facilities and services are more than adequate to meet the current and future demands of our residents. I have valuable private industry, state and local government experience that allows me to better understand private and Town concerns. My knowledge of our Town’s issues and challenges are helped by currently serving on the Town Council and prior service on the following Town boards and commissions over the last 12 years: Planning and Zoning Commission, Transportation Commission (Chairman), Board of Adjustment, Oil & Gas Board of Appeals, and Park Board. I also am the past President of the Bridlewood HOA, Inc. And based on my HOA experiences, I am the current President, Board of Directors of the DFW Chapter, Community Association Institute representing 900,000 HOA residents across the Metroplex. I spent 25 years working as an investments manager for large insurance and financial services companies, pension funds and international investors. My earlier career involved land use planning for an engineering company, the State of Colorado’s Division of Local Government and Fairfax County, Virginia. I am a retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve having served in Infantry, Adjutant General and Civil Affairs branches. I earned a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech and a B.A. Degree from Fairfield University.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them?

The need to address the current increase in interest in the Town by developers is our greatest challenge. The way to manage this renewed interest is to continue to develop a reputation that we meet and exceed the needs of our residents, and at the same time are reasonable, but selective, in the types and location of homes and businesses that match both our citizens’ current requirements, the Master Plan and SMARTGrowth analysis. The costs of new developments that take place in our Town are paid for primarily by the developers themselves through impact fees, various land dedications, development regulation expenses and the new businesses and residents that are located within the actual developments. It is my obligation to evaluate if new developments meet this metric and are beneficial and reasonable proposals. For example, our mixed-use and traditional zoning ordinances are allowing innovative projects such as The Riverwalk at Central Park, Lakeside DFW and Canyon Falls with their new diverse retail, office and housing options. Those developments offer more locations for new businesses and homebuyers, empty nesters and current residents. Another example of this is the recently approved Courtyard by Marriott hotel at The Riverwalk at Central Park. I will continue to make sure the businesses and housing types available in Flower Mound are appropriate for their specific location and nearby amenities. The economic vitality of our community is based on the effective planning for demands and needs coupled with the pressure is to make sure new development is appropriate without sacrificing our overall quality of life and character. This concept is what has made Flower Mound unique within the Metroplex. The growth of our Town is inevitable based on our accessibility, location between Dallas and Fort Worth, and close proximity to DFW Airport.  Faced with this growth pressure, I would continue to use my planning experiences, our Master Plan, zoning ordinances and SMARTGrowth Program to evaluate potential land use changes and support only what is positive for the Town’s future design and a net benefit for our residents.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
www.facebook.com/WalkerForFM

Flower Mound Town Council – Place 3:

Kevin Bryant

Age:
 44

Current Occupation:
 Business Objects Systems Administrator for Fed Ex Office

Education: 
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Phoenix

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?
 My family and I are members of Flower Mound United Methodist Church; I am a committee member for BSA troop 451.  I am also a member of FMHS Football boosters, and FMHS Band boosters, and FMHS PTSA

Why should you be elected? 
I believe we need a different voice on FM Town council.  We have gotten away from putting the concerns of FM residents first.  We are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position by changing our Master Plan so often just to meet the desires of developers.  Our Master Plan is the voice of the town as it was written by the people; it is the vision of Flower Mound.  I believe that changes to the Master Plan should benefit the town as a whole and not just specific developers.  I know that our town must grow in order to maintain the high standard of living we have.  We should not sacrifice the things that make Flower Mound beautiful and unique to grow.  I want to see The Riverwalk and Lakeside be successful.  I also want to see existing retail centers to be successful.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them? 
A concern we have is getting more families to move to Flower Mound.  When I moved my family here just over ten years ago, we fell in love with the amazing schools, the safe neighborhoods, the beautiful park and trail system, and the relaxed atmosphere.  We found a house in our price range with a good yard and walking distance to our elementary and middle schools.  I want to bring that perspective to Town Council.

Website/Facebook or Email:
 Website: www.KBforFMTC.comFacebook: www.facebook.com/KBforFMTC

Don McDaniel

Age: 
47

Current Occupation: 
Self-employed, stay-at-home Dad

Education: 
Graduated from Harlingen High School in 1986

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?: 
Flower Mound Planning & Zoning Commission 2013-Present; president of McKamy Middle School PTA; member of Flower Mound Men’s Softball League 2013-present; member of Flower Mound Summit Club; member of Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce; member of Flower Mound Area Republican Club; member of Congregation Kol Ami; served with Keep Flower Mound Beautiful, North Texas Food Bank, Vogel Alcove, S.M. Wright Foundation

Why should you be elected? 
I will bring an experienced voice to the council that has no connection to special interests. I am not a developer, a large land owner, a broker, a realtor, or a builder nor am I related to any of them. I am an average citizen of our town that has educated himself on the issues important to all of us and have volunteered my time to that end.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them?
 There is a growing division in Flower Mound between property owners/developers and average home owners. While there is some basis to this, I do not believe that the rift is as big or as jagged as some would have us think. I would work hard to make sure that there is always a dialogue happening and that town business is as transparent as possible to help alleviate some of these concerns. It is easy to think the worst of an individual or group with whom you have not met or had a conversation. Real understanding and compromise comes from legitimate communication and openness. I will strive to always be the conduit of that communication.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
Facebook.com/McDanielForTownCouncilbdonmcdaniel@verizon.net

Flower Mound Town Council – Place 5:

Itamar Gelbman

Age:
 33

Current Occupation: 
Security provider and consultant for high risk individuals and organizations.

Education:
 B.S. Computer Science and Business Management

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? 
Kol Ami Temple. U.S. Air Force – Civil Air Patrol. Gary Sinise Foundation (building smart homes for wounded soldiers)

Why should you be elected? 
I am a former Army Lieutenant and an experienced business owner. My experience and leadership skills will be an asset to our town. I am very committed to Flower Mound I. have four children (ages 9, 7 and newborn twins) who I want to raise in Flower Mound and call Flower Mound their home when they start their own families.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them?
 Haphazard growth. Implementation of a long term well thought out plan for growth. This plan needs to benefit the residents of Flower Mound. It’s essential that we preserve and improve property values while maintaining Flower Mound unique characteristics.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
www.facebook.com/gelbmanfortexas

Carol A. Kyer

Age: 
51

Current Occupation:
 Community Volunteer

Education:
 Graduated with Technical Certificate from Shawsheen Tech High School, Some college

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?: 
St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Communities In Schools of North Texas, Board Officer; United Way of Denton County, Board Officer; Denton County Citizens Commission on Mental Health, board member

Why should you be elected?
 I am not running for Place 5 because I have any issues to address. It is a habit of candidates to use issues to state why they are running for a public office. As a 22 year resident of Flower Mound, I have seen this town grow from a population of 18,000 to over 69,000. My children were raised here attending Flower Mound schools and playing at the parks in our community. My family has donated countless hours to making this town a great place to live; somewhere other families want to come and raise their families. I want to help keep this the wonderful town that it is now and help plan for the future residents who want to live here. As I have stated before, I have lived in this community for 22 years and know (and experienced) a substantial portion of its history. My history shows that I am here for the long run and will honor my commitment to this Town.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them?

One of the main challenges that Flower Mound is constantly facing is growth. Residential and industrial building permits will always be wanted by people and businesses that want to be part of our community. We have to make sure that communications between all the parties stay open so that, as we continue to grow, it is done in a responsible manner.
As the town continues to grow and its population ages, it will be important that Flower Mound keeps all ages in mind when development is addressed. Housing, public facilities, parks, and any town supported items developed in the future need to include all of the aspects of our changing population. This will make Flower Mound the place where everyone, no matter what age or income, will want to come and live.

Website/Facebook or Email: Facebook page:
 www.facebook.com/carolkyerforflowermound

The Cross Timbers Gazette hosted a televised Flower Mound Town Council Candidate Forum on April 15 at Flower Mound Town Hall. Watch the forum here.

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