Friday, June 9, 2023

Meet the Candidates: Highland Village City Council

Southern Denton County residents will head to the polls starting this month to decide a plethora of municipal and school board contests.

The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate in a contested race to answer a brief questionnaire to help voters make an informed decision at the polls this May.

On Highland Village City Council, three seats are expiring. Five people are running for one Council seat, two are running for another and in the other expiring seat, the incumbent is running unopposed.

The five candidates running for Place 2 are: Jim Archibald, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2015, and city residents M. David True, Jon Kixmiller, Dave Shilling and Jason Edwards.

Place 6 incumbent John McGee is not running, so the race is between first-time candidates Edward Balboni; and Robert Fiester.

Place 4 incumbent Barbara Fleming is running unopposed.

Election Day is May 5, with early voting from April 23 to April 28, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and April 30 and May 1, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The candidates for Highland Village City Council are listed in alphabetic order under each individual contested race.

Place 2

Jim Archibald, 59

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: Denton County property tax assessments have increased 25-percent over the past five years and so have our taxes! Every home owner has seen a huge tax increase. I believe in a property tax cut, lowering the cost of government and ensuring taxpayers receive value for their hard-earned dollars. 

Why are you the best candidate for this position: I have experience in local government, especially in the budgeting process. I understand the difference between needs and wants and have a track record as a budget hawk. My service on the Zoning Board Adjustment has provided me experience in understanding the Highland Village zoning guidelines, city growth and how our local government works. As an experienced engineer, I believe in applying the principles of engineering to local government (i.e. analysis of a problem, fact gathering, evaluating solutions, using technology and ultimately coming to consensus).

Facebook page: None listed

Email: [email protected]

Jason Edwards, 42

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: I don’t see one big issue. The city just needs a tune up. Little things like functional bathroom facilities at the park areas other than portable. The city prides itself on not having a speed limit over 35-mph, yet a few of our roads are a little out of control. Just tweaking here and there. Great facilities for our children, as well as safety. That’s what I’m most interested in. Our future residents.

Why are you the best candidate for this position: I’ve lived in or around Highland Village all my life. I attended Highland Village Elementary and Marcus as well. I know and love this community. I have a vested interest in the future of Highland Village, as I have one child in the school system and another will attend next year. So, I’m in it for the long haul. I want to help make the city even better than it already is. Look forward to serving my community for years to come.

Facebook page: None listed

Email: None listed

Jon Kixmiller, 67

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: There are a number of challenges facing Highland Village: the city is approaching total build out; traffic continues to be tough; and, road maintenance is always a hot topic. However, the biggest challenge I see is that of prioritizing the city investments going forward. Today, the city is fortunate to have solid revenue from the rising real estate values, new homes being built and expanding commercial entities. Taxes paid have been going up every year, even though the tax rate has been held flat. State Law allows an 8-percent budget increase based on property valuation before a rollback election is required. The city has grown the annual budget at twice the rate of inflation for several years. This is not sustainable, nor should it be.

Why are you the best candidate for this position: My goal is to help guide the city in preparation for the inevitable slowing of growth. The city must prepare a plan that accounts for flattening or reduction of taxes, in order to provide the level-of-service that we experience today, but also services required for our evolving demographics. We need to focus on attracting new families who will benefit from the excellent schools in the city today. Forty-four years in sales and management of small and large teams, has given me a solid base on management, planning, financial and organizational skills. These skills will help move our city in a measured and deliberate direction forward.

Facebook page: Jon Kixmiller

Email: [email protected] 

David Shilling, 51

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: Highland Village is almost at build-out for residential and commercial. We must continue to maintain the infrastructure and service levels needed to be kept at the highest level possible. My priorities include: making sure economic growth and development projects continue to protect our cities value and way of life; and, continued development and focus to fill our vacant retail properties with businesses compatible with our neighborhoods wants and needs.

Why are you the best candidate for this position: I believe in democracy and I believe positive impact starts at home. I am your neighbor. I will never stop looking for ways to contribute to the betterment of Highland Village by giving back to the city that has given my family so much and to a community that I will always call home. Experience, accountability, responsiveness and strong commitment to you and Highland Village. My experience to understand the big picture and to pay attention to the details. Addressing individual residents’ concerns; and, seeking solutions for the greater long term benefit.

Facebook page: David Shilling for Highland Village City Council

Email: [email protected] 

David True, 35

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: New Development (business and residential). Regarding the new development in our community, I would listen to the impact concerns of both the citizens and business owners. I would rely on the city professionals and the rest of our team and committees and vote for what is in the best interest of both parties to move forward in the decision-making process.

Why are you the best candidate for this position: Mine is a life of service. I love living in Highland Village and I am looking forward to serving my community. I understand that local elected officials have many responsibilities. I believe we need to identify the needs of the citizens within the community and to formulate a plan to meet those needs. I am a team player and we need to work together as a team to set goals for the city. We must give clear direction to the city’s administrative staff. Although there are many legal, financial, and administrative considerations to implementing the goals of the city, they should be straight-forward, financially sound and simple to understand.

Facebook page: None listed

Email: [email protected]

Place 6

Edward Paul Balboni, 54

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: I am not aware of any major issues at this time. I am, however, willing to listen to the citizens and counsel with my fellow members to resolve any issues that arise. There is wisdom and power in counseling with one another. 

Why are you the best candidate for this position: I have a deep love for this town. I have been a resident for over 20 years and raised my two daughters here. I may very well live here another 20 years. I want to let others have the same wonderful experience I’ve had. I have no prior political experience, nor do I have any future political aspirations. I have no agenda, nor ax to grind. I simply want to keep Highland Village a premier place to raise a family. As a ‘stay-at-home dad’ for the past 21 years, I would bring a unique perspective to the council. I am fiscally conservative and would be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money.

Facebook page: None listed

Email: None listed 

Robert A. Fiester, 41

What is the main issue facing your community and how would you address it: The biggest issue I feel Highland Village faces now and in the future is how future development will tie into the existing character and nature of development within Highland Village. This applies to new development and especially any re-development that may occur in the near future. Most, if not all, of us that live in Highland Village have chosen it for its charm and the amenities we enjoy every day. It is important to ensure that future development within the city enhances that charm and benefits the local residents, as well as, the property’s developer. I would use my experience, background, along with an understanding of what local communities are looking for, to help ensure the citizens of Highland Village benefit from the future. 

Why are you the best candidate for this position: As a candidate for city council, I feel I am the best candidate for two main reasons. First, I have a background in property development and design that could benefit the city and our citizens. I have worked with multiple clients, such as cities, developers, and smaller investors, to design and develop recreational parks, commercial and retail centers and residential neighborhoods across different communities in North Texas and elsewhere. Second, my wife and I have chosen Highland Village as the place where we want to live and want to raise our family. That is a powerful incentive to be involved in the local decision-making process and take ownership within our community as it continues to grow and develop.

Facebook page: None listed

Email: [email protected]

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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