Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Keller City Council Place 1

Two candidates are running for Place 1 on the Keller City Council this May. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Two candidates are running for Place 1 on the Keller City Council this May. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Two candidates are running for Place 1 on the Keller City Council this May. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



DFW



Keller City Council Place 1










Mitch Holmes



Occupation: Professional Engineer


Experience: I served on city council in five uncontested terms in the early 2000’s. I’m a professional engineer, managing infrastructure projects in DFW for 35 years, earned Bachelor degrees in Civil Engineering and Architecture, and a Masters in Business.






Why are you rerunning for office?




MH: One reason is that Keller citizens have elected a strong, very cohesive council that’s well invested in several exciting projects that will only come to fruition with a team that can keep those ends in focus. That means trending our homestead exemption up to the maximum allowed by the State. It means completing our updated Master Plan for worn-out roads, remaining vacant parcels, and now, our older commercial areas that we need to begin to plan for eventual redevelopment. Our project list includes building a very cost-conscious pedestrian crossing on Main Street that, after many years of conceptualizing more expensive alternatives, we’ll finally connect Old Town West to the much larger Old Town East. It'll also create a new outdoor venue up and down Bates Street and add a small passive park.

The other reason is I’ve had a strong passion since 2003 to align the direction of our Town Hall with the desires of our 47,000 citizens. That vision is better gathered by living here 24 years, visiting with parents at children’s sporting events, listening to you while serving altogether for 11 years on council, and reading our citizen surveys over and over.




If elected, what will be your top three priorities?




MH: Increase the homestead exemption for Keller’s property owners to the maximum allowed by law. Support the Mayor’s new initiative to make Keller known as the most family-friendly city in Texas. I believe in balance. We need balance in our budget and our taxes, balance in our residential and our commercial developments, and balance in our master plans and our green spaces.




What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?




MH: Like most cities, Keller doesn’t budget for our own health department. So while State and County Health Departments police their mandates, our most valuable role as the City is to help our local businesses overcome those restrictions, and thrive. That has come and will continue to come by using our extensive social media outreach to spread the news when they’re struggling when their hours have to change to accommodate health mandates, and when they offer special deals to our citizens. It serves all of us when the City helps our businesses keep their doors open.




What do you see as the city’s role in the aftermath of the police misconduct incident?




MH: With a recent notice that the District Attorney has presented evidence to a grand jury, as a sitting City Council member I’ll offer that I'm calling for an internal reconciliation between our Department’s repeated safe, fair, unbiased, and non-racial stop/ticket/arrest statistics with the grievance testimonies that I heard at our two recent public round table discussions.












Shannon Dubberly



Occupation: IT Manager in oil and construction operations


Experience: Professionally, I have government development experience through years of working with the Army & Air Force to construct bases throughout the world. In my current job, I monitor project teams, budgets and timeline data to promote efficiency with many local government customers building schools, roads, buildings and other government infrastructure.

Educationally, I studied government at Texas A&M University where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master of International Affairs.






Why are you running for office?




SD: Keller is a great place to live, work and play. It’s a community with beautiful parks, trails, safe playgrounds, clean streets and growing local businesses – a shining example of the American dream. I am running to protect that. I want to curb the urban sprawl that has affected many surrounding DFW cities. I want to provide taxpayer relief and protect our homeowners’ investments. I want to attract high-quality economic development while maintaining our small-town feel. We can do all this, even as we weather the Covid pandemic and its potential budgeting shortfalls. If we hold onto our faith in each other, maintain fiscal responsibility and protect our community, everyone wins. In the end, my goal is to be your voice and ears on the Council while keeping your property taxes low and city great. As the father of three young children, I care about my community and its future prosperity.




If elected, what will be your top three priorities?




SD: 1. Focused Development – Keller is inching closer and closer to build-out. Every year there are fewer areas available for new development. This means we must be very thoughtful in what we choose to bring to Keller and how we do it. These decisions will affect the future of Keller and the next generation. We only have so much available space.

2. Protecting Taxpayers – I want to protect and increase the Homestead Exemption. The rising appraisal values of our homes are great as an investment, but burdensome for our property taxes. I’d also like to promote another local exemption for Keller residents over 65. We must protect those who made Keller what it is today.

3. Strengthening Keller’s Infrastructure – In my opinion, the jewel of Keller is its parks and trails. I want to make sure we continue to maintain and develop both. I also want to make sure we continue to foster improvements to our sidewalks and roads to promote better traffic, safer roadways and continue to be business-friendly. Our focus should always be to do what we can to “Keep It In Keller”!




What do you see as the city's role in addressing the coronavirus pandemic?




SD: Keller must partner with all state and federal agencies to make sure we provide our residents all available information and resources. However, our city must do what it can to protect business and their customers by allowing them to function within reasonable safety guidelines. It should not be our intent to micromanage citizen safety or business operations. Additionally, the city must continue to provide services as expected while maintaining safe working environments for its employees.




What do you see as the city’s role in the aftermath of the police misconduct incident?




SD: The city’s role should be prevention and engagement. In the aftermath of any situation like this, it is incumbent on the city to investigate what occurred and take action if warranted (as it was). In this case, the officer was demoted and taken off patrol duty. The city also settled with the affected family. In regard to the police, the city should continue to be more proactive than reactive to prevent similar scenarios from occurring. That requires more focused training for our law enforcement officers. For our citizenry, we should provide more opportunities for engagement with city leaders and officers. Citizens’ concerns should always be heard. We should always do anything we can to strengthen the relationship and understanding between our citizens, leaders and officers.




By Sandra Sadek
Sandra Sadek covers the cities of Grapevine, Southlake and Roanoke as well as Carroll ISD for Community Impact. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in journalism and international relations. She has experience working for several local papers including the University Star, the Katy Times, and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. When she's not on the ground reporting, she enjoys a good book and a hot drink. Follow her on social media @ssadek19.


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