All of the planning, networking, hard work, time and money that we have put into the campaign has culminated in a convincing win. Now what?
Now the hard work begins.
A few things, however, must change as we shift away from the campaign and into governing. You may notice a few changes going forward:
- You will rarely see me post on NextDoor in the future. For those who are not aware, NextDoor is a social networking site that provides communities a way to communicate with one another on a site specifically designated for that local community. Jersey Village has had a NextDoor site for a few years now and it has its benefits and its problems. For an elected official, however, NextDoor presents a unique set of challenges. Under the Texas Open Meetings Act, elected officials are generally prohibited from meeting in a quorum to discuss public business or public policy without proper notice and meeting in a manner available to the public. Unfortunately, NextDoor is not open to the public. It is an invite-only website which allows people to join once invited by one of their neighbors. While this is a great way to ensure that only neighbors are allowed on the site, it presents problems for elected officials wishing to comment on matters on NextDoor. To make matters worse, there is currently a quorum of the Jersey Village City Council on NextDoor. Commenting in detail on public policy or public business in this forum could open a public official to criminal prosecution.Therefore, on the rare occasion I comment on NextDoor, it will be limited to matters that don’t constitute public policy or public business. If I respond to a post asking someone to e-mail me at my official city e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), I’m not being rude. I’m attempting to be responsive while following the restrictions imposed on us by state law.
- I ask that you contact me using my official e-mail address to discuss public business – Under the Texas Public Information Act, I must ensure that all official communication is archived in a way that allows the city secretary to properly respond to Public Information Requests. Therefore, if you wish to contact me about a matter of public business or public policy, please use my official e-mail address instead.
With those housekeeping matters out of the way, what are some of the top priorities for me on city council going forward?
Meeting with City Staff
I have already spoken with our city manager and city secretary to get up to speed on some preliminary matters, but I will be spending the entire day on May 31, 2017 meeting with staff from each department to get a better handle on the pressing issues facing our city today. During these meetings, I will be sure to share some of the concerns I have received from citizens about development, flooding, infrastructure, city regulations and transparency.
I would encourage you to contact me at email@example.com with any additional concerns you may have that you would like me to address with our city staff.
Dannenbaum Engineering is scheduled to complete the long-term flood study very soon and a public meeting will likely be scheduled for late June. At that time, we will have a better sense of the effect of the various proposed solutions for flood mitigation, as well as their costs.
Some of the immediate issues that need to be addressed include improvement of drainage on Wall St. and Capri St. as well as reducing runoff from the golf course. These are matters within the city’s jurisdiction and would see some immediate benefits in curbing flash flooding in those areas.
Meanwhile, our new city manager has been hard at work identifying potential outside sources of funding for flood mitigation. Any successful efforts to obtain grants for flood mitigation will help us to address this issue while maintaining the fiscal discipline for which our city has become known.
During my campaign, I made economic development one of my key issues because you told me that it was a primary concern to you. Right now, our city manager is working on developing guidelines for potential incentives to attract businesses to underdeveloped areas of Jersey Village. Some of these incentives could include Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreements or the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. Each of these strategies have been very successfully used throughout Texas by other communities of similar size and circumstances as Jersey Village.
Through the use of these strategies and some strategic marketing of our city, I remain convinced that we can truly unlock the tremendous potential for economic development in Jersey Village.
Jersey Village Comprehensive Plan
We now have a city council that is united in its commitment to implementing the Jersey Village Comprehensive Plan. Some of the early items which I will encourage our city council to examine for the upcoming fiscal year will include:
- Creation of a dog park in underutilized green space
- Development of a splash pad at the city pool
- Renovation of the golf course clubhouse
You can learn more about the comprehensive plan by clicking here.
I am going to continue to push for greater transparency by our city government. While great strides have been made recently, I think that we can broadcast city council meetings online with very little investment. I believe that we should endeavor to make our city government as available to all of our citizens as possible, not just those with the time or availability to attend council meetings.
I want to hear from you
Let me know if you agree or disagree with some of the priorities above. Is there an issue which you believe needs to be addressed immediately that isn’t listed above? Let me know by contacting me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.