In May, Position 2 Council Member Matthew “Doc” Dantzer defeated incumbent Todd Kana to become Magnolia’s next mayor.

In a nutshell

Dantzer was first elected to Magnolia City Council in 2017, serving in Position 1, according to the city’s website. In 2019, he was elected to Position 2, serving until he was elected mayor.

In addition to raising four boys in Magnolia, Dantzer has served in the U.S. Army and owns two businesses, according to the city’s website. He is active in organizations such as the Magnolia VFW and the Magnolia Lions Club.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you decide to run for mayor after serving on council?

I just saw things that I think that I could do differently than what was done by the previous administration. And with as many years on council as I have, I thought it was the right time to roll the sleeves up and take on more responsibility.

What are you hoping to accomplish as mayor?

A few things. One is to stop silly lawsuits with schools and churches. Another thing is to start building bridges between our other elected officials and the [Greater Magnolia Parkway] Chamber of Commerce as well as [the] economic development [department]. A lot more can get done by building bridges than building walls.

What goals do you have as mayor and for the city?

I would like us to maintain a solid budget [like] we have over the years but in addition to [that], we have to better prepare for the growth that’s coming. I think that preparing for that growth and having a plan is incredibly important to maintain the stability for the citizens and also provide the infrastructure for new businesses that want to come to Magnolia.

What are the biggest challenges facing the city and City Council, and how do you plan to address them?

Water and roads. It’s very simple, really. We are kind of behind the power curve when it comes to providing water. That’s why we’re in a moratorium. And so [the] city and Council has to really buckle down and work with the engineers and figure out solutions to make this happen quicker. And then as far as the roads, we have a lot of in-city roads that we need to improve and just helping the people tolerate the next two years of [the Texas Department of Transportation] coming through and widening [FM] 1488. It’s painful for the citizens as well as the business owners along [FM] 1488.

What is your plan for balancing the need for infrastructure with all the growth that’s coming to the area?

There’s a very wise man that said, ‘You either plan the growth or it plans you.’ And, unfortunately, I think we’re the latter, and we need to get out ahead of it. We’re currently working on a solution for the water and improving the infrastructure, and we need to start looking at ways to be prepared for the sewer because when you are building water plants you have to have someplace to treat the water. So working with [the] economic development [department] and the [Greater Magnolia Parkway] Chamber of Commerce to better have an understanding of what growth to expect and then to make sure it’s the right type of growth that we want is going to be vital to plan for the future.

What are your big priorities for next fiscal year’s budget?

[One priority is] to reduce debt while also increasing salaries for our employees. ... We’ve done a study of other cities about our size and looking at that paired up with what the responsibilities are, most of our employees are underpaid. So getting salaries up to where they need to be and continuously improving through grant money as well as tax money [is a priority]. To keep the infrastructure ahead of schedule—I keep going back to the infrastructure, but if we can’t supply water and sewer to our citizens, then we’re in trouble.

What specific partnerships do you want to cultivate as mayor and what benefit do you see that having on the city?

We’re meeting with the county commissioner [Charlie Riley], the Tomball Chamber [of Commerce], we have a meeting with Congressman [Morgan] Luttrell as well and I think at this point—because this hasn’t happened in the past and so we’re still in the informational phases of it if you will, the foundation of it is finding out—how can we help each other? And then we can start building from there. But it starts with initial meetings of the leaders coming together and discussing what challenges, what opportunities they have and then we build from there.

What do you see this city doing under your term as mayor?

Growing. Not only in residential population. We’ve doubled in the last three years and we will probably continue to do that in the next few years. ... One of my primary goals is to improve communication from the city to the citizens and not only with emergency information but just with general information—‘Hey guys, this is what’s coming to our great city. This is where we see growth happening.’ We have three major growth areas off of [Spur] 149 and [FM] 1488, but we also have some that I can’t discuss but that are coming to this city that are going to be very exciting. But we are going to see a lot of growth, which brings new opportunities [and] new challenges.