Steve Mitchell is seeking re-election to the Richardson City Council Place 6 seat. Mitchell was first elected to City Council in 2005 and served as mayor from 2007-09.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Mitchell a set of questions about his candidacy. His answers have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this office?
I ran for this office to be able to give back to my city and to positively impact those who live and work here; to make a difference.
What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
Thirty years of community service at the local, county and state level through City Council, boards and commissions; participation in various civic/educational programs, service groups, and neighborhood associations; an undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting; [and]leadership as a senior project manager at my place of business.
What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing Richardson today, and how do you plan to address it if elected to City Council?
In addition to aging infrastructure and water, one of our biggest challenges is land use; we have very little “green field” left. We must evaluate our comprehensive master land use plan to ensure that it promotes sustainable development and redevelopment, walkability and open spaces in these areas, and that any plans made complement existing, adjacent neighborhoods and businesses.
The city in the past has used economic incentives and tax grants to attract companies. What means, if any, would you support the city using to attract companies in the future?
Competition to maintain and attract businesses is intense within our region, so economic incentives are necessary tools. Instruments like [Chapter] 380 agreements can be effective provided the net financial impact is a positive one for the city, and the agreement involves reimbursements based on defined outcomes and/or completed work. Our TIF [tax increment financing]zones and the eight-tenths of a cent of our tax rate dedicated to economic development—combined with our central location, outstanding neighborhoods, business-friendly atmosphere and strong educational partners—can be effective reimbursement tools as well. Without a strong business community, residential property owners shoulder the costs of running the city; currently, businesses fund 60 percent of that cost.
What else do you want voters to know about you?
It is a great honor to serve as your Place 6 council member and would ask for your vote at early voting or on election day.