In May, Trent Epperson was appointed Pearland city manager.

Epperson had served as interim city manager since November, when previous City Manager Clay Pearson was fired after the discovery of a county tax worksheet error that left the city with a $10.3 million deficit and incorrect tax rates.

Epperson sat down with Community Impact to introduce himself and talk about his hopes and goals for the city during his time as city manager.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your career at the city of Pearland.

[Prior to working for Pearland], I was over in Missouri City for about 7 1/2 years working in the finance office, as well as the engineering and public works group. I also ran their capital improvement program for several years.

In 2006, I had the opportunity to join the city of Pearland and run its capital improvement group. After a few years, having both the engineering capital projects and the public works realm in my portfolio, I came into the city manager’s office in 2015. I’ve been in the city manager’s office since then. I was assistant city manager, deputy city manager and then of course most recently became city manager.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been married for 26-plus years, and I have two grown kids that are both in dental school that we're proud of. Outside of work, we do a fair amount of traveling, hiking and outdoors-type stuff. I spend a fair amount of time at the lake as well, and my wife and I attend a fair amount of concerts every year. We just love live music.

What are your top three priorities as Pearland’s city manager?

When I approach things, I always approach them from the standpoint of our strategic priorities established by our City Council—we’ve got six of those.

Out of those, I think one of the top three facing us is financial resilience, or making sure that we've got a good financial plan moving forward. As well reported, we’re coming out of a tax valuation issue that occurred a year ago. It kind of got us back to square one where we are moving forward with a good sound budget and a good financial plan.

The second thing is that we always want to keep an eye towards public safety and making sure that we are vigilant and put an emphasis on that to make sure that our fire, police, EMS, as well as our public works folks who are involved as first responders when we have major emergencies like a hurricane, [are given] the tools and the equipment they need to make sure we're prepared on a daily basis.

I think the third thing is we've started within the last few years making sure that we're building internal financial capacity for the long term for our infrastructure. We are making sure that we're recapitalizing that infrastructure when it needs to be rebuilt and we're putting enough dollars into the maintenance of those things so that they'll last as long as they're intended to last. Then, when they are ready to be replaced, we’ve got the dollars set aside to make sure we can replace those.

We’re doing well with our motor pool in that realm. We’ve got a ways to go with our IT infrastructure and our facilities and building infrastructure, and we’ve got a ways to go with our streets and sidewalks infrastructure as well as our drainage infrastructure.

The council has put a lot of emphasis on that, so we stood up a drainage fund last year. We’ve had the motor pool fund in place for a few years now. We've stood up the IT in the facilities funds, and now it's just making sure that moving forward, we're putting the number of dollars into those for the long term so that we can take care of our assets, make sure those assets last as long as they're supposed to and be prepared to replace those assets when they’ve reached the end of their life.

You know, that also includes our utilities, our water and wastewater and all the water pipes, the wastewater collection pipes throughout the city, and the drainage system. There's a lot there, and it takes a lot of planning and getting buy-ins. You must put aside dollars today to ensure we're taken care of well into the future.