Q&A: Incumbent John Bramlett, candidate Matthew Dantzer run for Magnolia City Council Position 2

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Incumbent John Bramlett and candidate Matthew “Doc” Dantzer—current Magnolia City Council member Position 1—are running for Position 2 on Magnolia City Council in the May 4 election.

*Incumbent

John Bramlett*

Hometown: Magnolia
jbramlett@cityofmagnolia.com
Experience: City council member for four years, Magnolia Historical Society board member, 1998 Greater Magnolia Parkway Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, Montgomery County on Aging board member, Society of Samaritans volunteer, board member of the Magnolia Beautification Committee, former Lions Club member, former deputy constable for Montgomery County Precinct 5, U.S. Air Force veteran
Top prioritiespublic safety, traffic condition improvement, road and ditch quality

Why are you running for this position?
I want to continue to use the experience and knowledge that I have learned while serving the city for over 20 years. The last four years I have served on City Council. My attendance has been perfect for not only the council meetings, but all the special meetings and workshops that are needed to operate our city. I was instrumental in planting trees and shrubs along some of our major FM [roads] in Magnolia and have helped remove many yards of trash and debris from our city. I have listened to the taxpayers about their concerns and have worked on how to resolve the issues that they feel are important. I’m very active in many organizations in Magnolia, [including] the Magnolia Historical Society, Magnolia’s Historical Cemetery, Society of Samaritans and our local Greater Magnolia Parkway Chamber of Commerce to name a few. I was also a member of the local Lions Club for many years. For over 40 years my wife Clores and I have attended and served at Magnolia’s First Baptist Church.

If re-elected, how do you plan to address the demand for infrastructure and utilities in the city, such as water services and roads?
I am knowledgeable and have many years of experience in water and sewer systems that will be needed to serve the additional subdivisions that are requesting our utilities. Building additional water and sewer plants is just part of the needs. It takes a lot of planning in our city to accomplish the extra requirements. Funding is the main source that will be needed to accomplish the needed water and sewer plants. As to the increased traffic issue within the city of Magnolia, [the Texas Department of Transportation] still has another project that will be starting next year that will widen FM 1488 from Mill Creek to the Waller County line. Our city will need to work in conjunction with TxDOT due to our water and sewer lines [needing] to be relocated. I have also been very active and supportive of the constant need for revitalization of the streets and ditches within the city limits.

As the city grows, how will you work to foster a sense of community in Magnolia?
I will continue to communicate effectively among all stakeholders and promote a diverse community that accepts and supports cultural and social differences. When I moved my family to the city back in 1976, we only had a handful of businesses in our city. If you wanted something, you would have to travel to Tomball or Houston. In the 1990s, our city couldn’t afford an economic development employee, so I went out as I could and secured several businesses that are still operating in our city today—McDonald’s and Sonic are a couple of those businesses. Smart growth strategies can help our community achieve the goals for growth and development while maintaining our distinctive character. Planning where development should or should not go can help our community encourage growth in town whereas businesses can thrive on a walkable main street and families can live close to their daily destinations. Our city has zoning that protects the rural landscape that helps to preserve open space, protect air and water quality, provide places for recreation and create tourist attractions that bring investments into the local economy.

How do you plan to address growth in and around the city?
No one wants a tax increase, so in order to provide the necessary water and sewer improvements, our city needs to be more proactive in how we spend our tax dollars. I will be monitoring the budget monthly to keep unnecessary expenses down. When items are brought before council, I will continue to query why they are needed before approving the expense.

What do you believe is the most important duty of a city council?
Monitor the expenses that are requested daily. It’s no different than your personal check book. If you don’t budget and don’t have the extra funds, you don’t buy it.

How do you think city government in Magnolia can be improved?
Better communication with the taxpayers who pay for the operation of our city, and transparency between council members and property owners.

Matthew “Doc” Dantzer

Hometown: Millington, Michigan
mdantzer@cityofmagnolia.com
ExperienceCity Council member Position 1 from 2017 to present, Magnolia Planning and Zoning Commission chairman, served in the U.S. Army for eight years
Top priorities: sustainable growth, connectivity and transportation, affordable housing

Why are you running for this position?
I love this city, and I’ve learned so much about it in the last two years on City Council. I found out that Daniel [Miller] was looking to run for office, and I’ve always been a big component of bringing in new ideals and strong thinkers. I actually reached out to Daniel and said I had no problem with that, and asked him to get together and talk. I thought, “Why run against Daniel when I could bring him in?” New members bring new energy and thoughts to council, and I wanted to see that, but I still want to service the city of Magnolia.

If you are elected, how do you plan to address the demand for infrastructure and utilities in the city, such as water services and roads?
We’re in the process of working with an engineering group to come up with our master plan, because in the past [the city has grown] by need. We’ve got a whole bunch of infrastructure in place and we need a master plan to not only supply and support the current residents, but the new development that’s coming in. We’ve done that by working with the Texas Water Board, we’ve done it by working with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] for grant money so it doesn’t take away from the citizens’ taxpaying dollars, and I’ve had the benefit of being invited to Austin to meet with the Texas Water Board about the kind of growth we’re having. We will also continue to support staff to ensure that smart, sustainable growth is possible with infrastructure and roads.

As the city grows, how will you work to foster a sense of community in Magnolia?
By bringing people into the city and getting them to experience what Magnolia is. It’s not just a spot on the map, there’s a story there. Celeste Graves tells [the story of Magnolia] best: going from a little depot to the city it is now and the one it’s aspiring to be. It takes people reaching out and inviting others to come to Magnolia in order for us to do that. I have and will continue to do just that—I think that’s what builds the culture and builds the relationships so that it’s a community, not just another town.

How do you plan to address the growth in and around the city?
The way we’ve been addressing it, and will continue to, is by working with the developers to find out what their needs are and finding out what challenges they are experiencing and coming up with solutions, because there’s always a solution. It’s just about working with the right people, taking off your gloves, sitting down and finding a solution that not only benefits the developer, but benefits the city.

What do you believe is the most important duty of a city council?
To be accessible and continuously educate yourself on government and what is coming into the city. There are a lot of people that, when you’re wrapped up with kids and going to football and stuff like that, just don’t have time to attend city council meetings, which I understand. I didn’t attend for a long time as well. But being available [is important] and having your email and cell phone out there on the public website so people know they can call or email you anytime. There are certain things we can’t legally discuss, and there are other things where we can offer updates. It’s also important to keep learning, because once you stop learning, you become complacent, and I don’t want to become complacent.

How do you think city government in Magnolia could be improved?
I think there’s always room for improvement, and honestly, continuously working with professionals in each area and keeping an open mind to technologies, to new businesses coming in and when working with a staff [can be improved]. It’s a matter of having your eyes open enough to recognize when there is an efficiency that could be improved on.

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Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the Tomball/Magnolia reporter in September 2018. Prior to CI, Kara served as the editor-in-chief of The Wichitan—Midwestern State University's student-run campus newspaper—and interned with both the Wichita Adult Literacy Council and VeepWorks.
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