Dusttin Pearson is running for the District 1 seat in the upcoming McKinney City Council elections. Early voting begins April 24 and Election Day is May 6. Pearson is running against La'Shadion Shemwell and Johnny Moore. Current District 1 representative Don Day has reached his term limit for the position.
Medical IT project manager
Why are you running for McKinney City Council?
Personal responsibility—it is a lesson my parents instilled in me as a child and unfortunately in the world we live in today it’s becoming a forgotten virtue. I believe we should take responsibility not only for our own actions but for the communities in which we live. For me, it isn’t enough to sit on the sidelines and simply voice my opinions with a vote. By the time the ballots reach voters many decisions have already been made by council and voters are deciding between options selected by others. I wish to participate in making decisions regarding my property taxes, our children’s future, the safety of our community, and the economics of this great city by voicing a conservative, educated opinion.
What issues do you feel the city will face within the next few years?
Uneven tax base, downtown parking, infrastructure, public transportation and public safety
If elected, how would you address those issues?
Leveling the taxbase: The balance of the tax base is McKinney’s most significant challenge as it negatively impacts every house hold in McKinney. Currently property taxes account for 80% of city revenue while corporations only account for 20%. My plan to address the property tax issue includes the following:
- Addressing inefficiencies that complicate McKinney EDC's efforts in attracting businesses to McKinney
- Ensuring McKinney EDC experiences appropriate support in efforts to do their best work
- Utilize tax incentives available to promote McKinney
- Pursue urgent health care vendors, pharmacies, physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers in efforts of promoting easier access to health care for citizens on the east side of highway 75. This will not only assist in leveling the tax base but will bring easier access to health care and provide more jobs within the area.
- Promote the pursuit of a grocery vendor to build a location along highway 5.
Downtown McKinney Parking: The lack of adequate parking within the downtown area is cause for concern for many businesses downtown. Since downtown is not only a premier attraction spot for visitors, potential businesses, potential residents, etc. it is important that the economy of downtown is vibrant and flourishing. Without adequate parking to accommodate customers, visitors, etc. the sustainability of the downtown economy is concerning. My plan to address parking issues in the downtown area include:
- Pursuit of the construction of a multi level parking garage that is located in a citizen preferred area and mimics the designs of the beautiful historical buildings within the downtown area.
- I would be in favor of the bottom level of the parking garage be utilized as office or retail space and the height of the garage to mimic that of the tallest surrounding building.It is important to consider the tax base when building the parking garage and providing retail and office space in addition to parking does just that.
- I am also in support of the actions that the parking committee have implemented such as the use of private parking lots during designated hours and the use of remote lots with access to cart transportation.
Infrastructure: Infrastructure issues pose a safety concern as some roads are too narrow to allow police, fire, EMT to drive down when cars are parked on the side of the road. Furthermore, some areas of the city lack adequate lighting to deter criminal activity as well as secure sidewalks for citizens to walk down without being in the road and creating a safety concern. My plan to address the issues includes:
- Implement fiscally responsible plans to address infrastructure needs of city
- Ensure purposeful planning for improvements throughout city
- Avoid infringement upon private property
Public Transportation: The statistical facts that were exposed during a study of the utilization of public transportation identified that less than 1 percent of the citizens utilized public transportation while TAPS had routes in McKinney. To fund TAPS with tax payers money at the contracted cost was a fiscally irresponsible decision. Furthermore, recent propositions from DART included costs which would be fiscally irresponsible for the tax payers to support. The issue of transportation should be addressed by:
- Bringing healthcare closer to those that utilize it often
- Bringing more businesses to McKinney so citizens are not forced to drive far for work
- Allowing private sector address the issue through utilization of services like Uber, Lyft, or Yellow Cab
- Allowing charitable organizations such as churches to address transportation needs of their congregations
Public Safety: Public safety issues include lack of adequate street/neighborhood lighting, sidewalk access, and congested neighborhood parking. My plans to address this are:
- Promote the placement of additional lighting options within neighborhoods in efforts to deter criminal activity
- Promote the planning and implementation of sidewalks throughout the city
- Implement a plan to install adequate signage to prevent congested neighborhood street parking which could delay emergency vehicles access to citizens
What qualifications do you possess that make you a prime candidate for the position?
I earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland. While simply earning degrees doesn’t qualify me for office, this experience in higher education taught me to think critically and develop an analytical approach to overcoming challenges.
I also earned a professional certification in project management which further supports my analytical approach to resolving challenges and provides me with the skill set to methodically take on obstacles by developing and executing process based tasks to ensure problems are resolved within the declared amount of time and budget.
In my professional career I have managed many large scale healthcare IT projects with budgets north of $16 million and project teams made up of 20-plus multidisciplinary individuals. I have successfully managed teams who were culturally diverse, from a wide array of backgrounds, and different career paths. Being a member of city council is no different. The council and the city staff are a team made up of many diverse individuals aligned with the goal of bettering McKinney, and therefore I believe my skill set aligns well with the role of local government leadership.