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Robinson: Rapid growth spurs political engagement

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Bill Robinson

A few weeks ago, I formally filed my candidacy for Mayor of Flower Mound. Unlike many candidates, I’ve never had a desire to be in politics or run for office. But my outlook began shifting in recent months as I took notice of the continued rapid changes in our Town.

Driving through Town each day, I started observing more commercial buildings, retail sites, housing developments and traffic congestion. The small-town feel that I had found so compelling when our family moved here is now vanishing on a daily basis.

To be clear, I believe that responsible growth is good. It benefits our local economy and provides our community with more opportunities. But unchecked growth erodes the quality of life that has made Flower Mound a desirable community to call home.

Why is there such a rush to grow and develop every square inch of available land? How long before Flower Mound becomes the next Plano or Frisco? I’m concerned that the pace and quality of growth is going to transform the identity of our Town into something we will no longer recognize.

It’s this concern for our future that has compelled me to actively engage in our civic affairs. I began attending more public meetings and researching Town planning and accounting records to develop a better understanding of the driving forces behind our rapid expansion.

One significant concern is the Town’s ballooning debt. Between 2012 and 2016, the debt increased 26% and has swelled to $184 million. Add to that our future pension obligations for municipal employees and we must question how we intend to remain fiscally solvent and meet our financial commitments.

Make no mistake: I’m committed to ensuring that all of our municipal retirement pensions are honored. It’s a promise that will be kept.

But this raises an important question: Is the reason growth plans are continuously approved so that the Town can pay its current debt obligations? If we stopped growing today, could we pay all of our obligations without raising property taxes? I’m concerned that we are indiscriminately approving new development due to these financial obligations.

My entire career has been in finance and I understand numbers. Our Town is at a critical juncture. If we want to maintain more control over our growth, our way of life and remain financially solvent, then we need leadership that can navigate the financial statements, budgets and balance sheets accordingly.

My vision as Mayor of Flower Mound is to embrace the Town’s Master Plan in conjunction with a growth strategy that does not compromise what we value about our community. We will not assume larger amounts of debt year over year.

Other priorities to begin immediately:

  • Review all Town budget expenditures. We will review department budgets and find opportunities to reduce unnecessary costs.
  • React quicker on items that need approval or action. We will change the culture of slowly approving and implementing policy, particularly issues involving public safety and security.
  • Find opportunities for shared services. We will engage neighboring communities and determine which services we can implement together. This will create cost savings for all involved.
  • Embrace renewable energy and efficiency measures. We must consider opportunities for increased energy efficiency in commercial and municipal buildings, whether by incentives, building codes or both.
  • Plan ahead for the future. The current forward planning is only five years.  Our planning horizon should also project 15-20 years ahead.
  • Review new construction permit fees. Commercial and residential builders have made significant margins and Flower Mound and we must re-evaluate our permit fees accordingly.
  • Improve nutrition in our schools. Our schools should offer more nutritional options in cafeterias and limit, or eliminate completely, access to unhealthy choices, including fast food offerings and coffee locations within the schools.

I have other ideas to share and I hope you will consider visiting my website, www.billrobinsonformayor.com, to learn more about my campaign. I look forward to your thoughts and urge you to contact me by e-mail at bill@bridgewaterhomes.com.

Thank you for your consideration.

Bill Robinson
Flower Mound, TX

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1 Comment

  1. Kathy Schmitt

    Interesting. Starting with school nutrition- I believe this is not within the scope of mayoral responsibilities, and The Town of Flower Mound residents attend several different school districts. Perhaps a Svhhol Board position would be more suitable if school nutrition is one of the issues you wish to campaign on.

    As far as growth, Town finance and planning- have you been involved in Flower Mound Town leadership in volunteer or citizen leadership roles that you are aware of and understand the issues, the players, what has worked and not worked over the past couple of decades to get us to this point? I believe that knowledge and experience is important in order to help move us forward.

    Your career seems to be with a home builder, and it appears you have frequently relocated from town to town. Is there any evidence to make us believe you truly have roots in Flower Mound, and are committed to being a long term part of our community?

    As a new resident here, I would prefer to see you demonstrate service to Flower Mound in one of the wide range of community service roles before seeking to grab the reins of a horse you don’t know.

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