Running for the vacant Pearland City Council seat are Tony Carbone and Jai Daggett. Community Impact Newspaper sent questions to the candidates for the position. Here are their responses.
Questions have been edited for clarity.
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Campaign website: www.carboneforcouncil.com
Occupation: principal/owner DAGGETT Consulting Group
Campaign website: www.jaidaggett.org
Why did you choose to run for the position?
Carbone: My wife and I grew up here in Pearland, and our three girls are seventh-generation Pearlanders.
I want to continue to direct and shape Pearland in such a way that all families will be proud to
live, work and play in this great city. I believe my education and work experience as a CPA, along
with my proven track record of no-nonsense, practical leadership can help protect and enhance
our quality of life.
Daggett: I am running for public office because I feel that it is my civic duty to offer a new, fresh perspective for Pearland citizens. Additionally, my background as a small business owner and as someone who has spent 14 years in the corporate sector has given me the qualifications and skillset to take on the challenges that Pearland faces and come up with innovation and comprehensive solutions. I am ready to lead the city in a positive direction and will fight to protect the quality of life for all our residents, including our families, our seniors and our young people.
What would be your main priority as city council member?
Carbone: Reducing the tax burden on families, improving public safety, and strengthening economic development are at the top of my agenda. I will provide common-sense solutions to help Pearland’s small business grow and thrive. For example, I chaired the Ad Hoc committee to simplify the Unified Development Code that made it less cumbersome for small businesses to grow in Pearland. By growing our business tax base, we can lower taxes on homeowners. And to ensure our families are safe, I have always been a strong supporter of our first responders. I’m proud to have been endorsed by the Pearland Police Officer’s Association.
Daggett: I am running on the platform of fiscal accountability, public safety, mobility, total community engagement and economic development. To continue to move Pearland forward, we need a continued commitment to fiscal accountability and our first responders need to be compensated fairly. We also need to make tangible changes to improve mobility around the city and continue to be attractive to companies that want to bring their business to Pearland.
What do you think is the biggest challenge Pearland is facing?
Carbone: Word has gotten out that Pearland is a great place to live and raise a family. And with our growth, we have all experienced the increase in traffic. We need to make improvements to alleviate congestion while developing long-term planning solutions for the future. To do this, we must be fiscally smart, so we can fund road improvements while holding the tax rate steady or even lowering it. The city's aging infrastructure needs to be capitalized appropriately; as we are seeing the older parts of towns needing repair and rehabilitation. Soon we will have the newer areas needing repairs as well. With my financial background and common-sense approach, I believe I can help the city navigate these challenges responsibly.
Daggett: The biggest challenge facing Pearland is its growth and the challenges growth creates. We are an evolving city with incredible potential, and we need to continue to embrace that evolution and prepare for future opportunities.
How would you approach balancing the city's budget with the needs a growing city faces?
Carbone: The city must resist the temptation to raise taxes to address our challenges. We have to be good stewards of the taxpayer money and be smart about how we grow our tax base. The city has a very complex budget and fund structure, and I will continue to use my expertise as a CPA to maximize the best return on investment. During my prior term on council, I saved the city $36,455,166 by restructuring the city's debt service. By being good financial managers of the taxpayer's money, we can do more with less. Ultimately, taxpayers want to be assured their money is not wasted and that it is being put to good use to improve our quality of life.
Daggett: As Pearland continues to grow, the challenges will continue, but it is imperative that we navigate those challenges by seeking input from the citizens and using that input to make informed decisions about what’s right for all Pearland citizens. If elected to office, in addition to the public meetings held to receive budget input, I would host additional forums for the general public to not only engage the community but empower them as well. After all, these are their tax dollars being spent and everyone has the right to have a say. Pearland citizens need to be encouraged to participate as much as they can.
Anything else you want to add?
Carbone: Candidate did not provide a response to this question.
Daggett: I look forward to the opportunity to represent all of Pearland by competing for Pearland City Council, Position 2, a seat recently vacated by Derrick Reed. I’m extremely proud to be a part of the fabric of the city of Pearland. Pearland now faces challenges such as traffic congestion, public safety and fiscal responsibility. These issues require immediate action and strong leadership. I am ready to lead Pearland in a positive direction and will fight to protect the quality of life for residents, including our families, our seniors and our young people.