Bryant Griffith, Kennedale Place 4

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1. Past Decisions – please respond by February 29, 2024

Although the city council cannot dwell on past councils' decisions and it must move forward, we would like to know if current council members have learned from past decisions, including those made by previous councils. From history, were each of the following zoning case items a good decision or a poor decision, and why?

a) “UV” zoning on Kennedale Sublett Road just east of Kennedale Parkway?

b) “MF” zoning on Joplin Road just south of Kennedale Sublett Road?

This is a great question, and I agree we shouldn’t get stuck dwelling on the past. We should remember that it is important to reflect on it as we look forward to our future. To answer these questions, it is first important to understand that our Zoning and UDC “Unified Development Code” should reflect our comprehensive plan because the plan is how we vision cast and what drives our strategy in growth. Most importantly, it is the citizens that put the comprehensive plan together, and by law, there must be a designated place for everything.

a) Before, this area was rezoned to UV, “Urban Village”, it was AG, “Agricultural”. The changes are in line with the comprehensive plan for the city’s future. It is important to understand the basics of city planning in order to understand why this is appropriate for that area. Considering the correct zoning for this type of development, the center of town is the most appropriate place. This is already in close proximity to where all of our events are held, where most of our retail is already present, and is right in line with our comprehensive plan. Building a city efficiently means putting the right things in the right places. As far as walkability, it makes the most sense to place your denser developments closer to the center of town, while providing a mix of housing options throughout the entire city.

The new UDC changes were a direct result of the Hammack Creek project, namely because the developer did not deliver on what was promised. The UDC changes are intended to impose restrictions on units per lot and order of operations, requiring the retail portions to be constructed first.

In any case, this is an age-old “chicken or the egg” argument. Being a small business owner myself, I can tell you that businesses track demographics and growth metrics of cities when considering establishing themselves in those respective areas. If we want to bring economic development to Kennedale, we have to consider the compromise required for population growth and be strategic in how we develop the resources we have: the approximately six square miles of the city.

Lastly, there is a great deal of discussion regarding taxes. What you won’t hear is anyone’s strategic ideas on how to solve the problem of having a high tax rate or what is causing it. I’ve said time and time again, we need to foster economic growth to offset the tax burden, but that also requires some density growth. That is the compromise, and it has to happen. There’s a lot of discussion and speculation about whether this was a good decision. We are already receiving greater tax revenue from this development than we were when it was simply zoned AG. Population growth feeds sales tax revenues.

You’d asked about learning from history. Kennedale has a history of engaging in contracts that leave the city vulnerable and open to exploitation. Namely, not being strategic in negotiations advocating and securing what’s best for the citizens before approving the developments, nor paying attention to the contractual details, and that’s what we need to remember moving forward. The Town Center development, Hammack Creek, and Alta, are all great examples.

b) Again, here with the zoning change, it went from AG to MF. Something to consider is walkability and accessibility to local commerce. Alta is strategically located in a way that will feed multiple businesses and generate more sales tax revenue.

When looking at the big picture, and as it relates to infrastructure with this project specifically, it is important to remember that the neighboring city of Arlington owns both Joplin Road and that section of Kennedale Sublett. Essentially, we benefit from the property taxes and some of the sales taxes generated by this rezoning.

That being said, there has been a lot of issues with this specific development and continues to be. As previously stated, these issues are a direct cause of lacking oversight and attention to details regarding contracts and developmental plans. As we navigate those issues and advocate for our citizens, it is important to remember and reiterate the history lesson regarding contracts and the developmental plans presented to the city. This is one such case where oversight and missteps, both on the municipal leadership and the developer, have caused an array of issues and concerns.

In general, when these cases come before us, and they meet all the recommendations, specifically, the consistency with the comprehensive plan that includes community input and surveys from the citizen lead steering committee, compatibility with the land use, consistency with the future land use, and are recommended by the staff, there is absolutely no reason to deny the zoning change unless there are specific issues regarding public safety or conflicts with the comprehensive plan.

Lastly, I’d like to add, both on these cases and future cases, that property owners have rights, too. When zoning changes are brought before the city, we should ask ourselves whether or not our action, or inaction, constitutes an unreasonable interference with the owner’s right to use and enjoy their property. The state of Texas protects the individual rights of property owners in the Texas Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act. That is what drove my decisions on the most recent zoning cases, and a foundational part of what will continue to drive my decisions moving forward. Serving the people means considering how your votes impact the individual and the community, but I will never infringe on an individual’s constitutional rights. I serve the people, not the politics.


2. Property Taxes – please respond by March 7, 2024

Kennedale is the third highest taxing city of the 41 cities in Tarrant County. What are some viable potential solutions to alleviate the tax burden on the citizens? Or is this just something that the citizens of Kennedale must learn to accept? Why?

First, and foremost, I’d like to remind the community that although this data point is accurate, it lacks context and historical reference. Here’s a brief history of our tax rate:

Tax Rate by Year:

2002 - .71

2017 - .77

2018 - .72

2020 - .77

2021 - .76

2022 - .70

2023 - .70

Currently, we sit at a more than twenty year all-time low in our tax rate. In addition, this council has been able to begin a multitude of needed infrastructure improvements following years of neglect, and all without increasing the tax rate. That is a huge accomplishment considering economic challenges, including inflation and the ever-rising costs of living. Some of those projects include replacing (2) above ground water storage tanks, replacing 3,000 manual read water meters with AMI, improved (11) streets completing over 3 linear miles of road work, and have begun construction on the Collett Sublett Rd project which is estimated to be completed in October, retrograde of the sewer line extending from the raceway to I-20 near Village Creek, Sonora Park upgrades, Groundwater well rehab, and many more projects in the pipeline for the coming year(s).

In order to address this question, we have to first understand what has actually caused the tax rate to be so high in the first place. The root cause is a long-standing history of lacking strategic growth and economic development, which prevents the generation of tax revenue and an increased tax base, coupled with a long-standing neglect of infrastructure needs. How our council votes on things has an impact on what we attract to the city. In the past, our voting has created a perspective that Kennedale is hard to work with and that we don’t actually want developers and investors to come to our city.

Accepting those facts and looking to the horizon in order to solve this problem means developing strategy around our comprehensive plan. Being well versed in strategic approaches to achieving objectives, in this case attracting development and generating tax revenue, is something that I personally bring to the table. During my decade of service as a United States Marine, it was my duty to develop strategic and contingent plans for global mobilization of resources to address an array of campaigns and missions. Sometimes the difference is made in the commitment to establish a strategy and following through with it in the long term. That is something I think Kennedale has lacked in the past. A combination of residential growth and economic stimulation driven by branding, and offering incentives for the kind of growth we are looking for, is how we can accomplish lowering the tax rate. Top priorities and focuses should be developing the northern areas of the city by 820, and finishing out / redeveloping the Town Center. I’ve been working closely with developers and business owners to bring their investments to Kennedale. I’m excited to see these develop and to announce them as we move forward. Additionally, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on community projects that will help foster the type of fellowship and cohesion our great town is known for. The Farmer’s Market and the Swag shop will be branded specifically to Kennedale, and generate additional sales tax, as discussed in our last meeting. I believe we have a promising strategy that we are currently executing, and I am excited to see the impact it will have on our future.


3. Moratorium – please respond by March 14, 2024

In January 2023 the council approved a temporary moratorium of applications for MF or TH zoning. Do you agree with the temporary moratorium? Why or why not?

As cities grow, their infrastructure, including sewer systems, experiences increased demand. More residents mean more wastewater, which strains existing sewer lines. Over time, this strain can lead to issues such as overflows, backups, and environmental pollution. Aging infrastructure exacerbates these problems, as older systems may not have the capacity to handle modern population sizes and usage patterns. Neglecting to address these issues can result in health hazards, environmental degradation, and hindered economic development.

Infrastructure is the backbone of any city, supporting its residents, businesses, and overall functionality. Neglecting critical infrastructure needs can have far-reaching consequences, affecting public health, safety, and quality of life. Additionally, failing infrastructure can deter investment and economic growth, as businesses are less likely to operate in areas with inadequate facilities. Therefore, it's crucial for cities to proactively address infrastructure needs to sustainably accommodate growth and development.

Moratoriums on zoning applications, like the one implemented in January 2023, can be valuable tools for managing growth and protecting infrastructure. By temporarily halting development approvals, cities gain breathing room to assess infrastructure capacity and implement necessary upgrades. This pause allows policymakers to develop comprehensive plans that balance growth with infrastructure requirements, ensuring that new developments don't outpace the capacity of existing systems.

The temporary halt provided by a moratorium affords city officials the time needed to study existing infrastructure, project future needs based on anticipated growth, and develop strategies to address deficiencies. In the case of sewer systems, this might involve conducting capacity assessments, identifying areas of strain, and prioritizing upgrades or expansions. Moreover, it allows for community input and engagement in the planning process, fostering transparency and accountability in decision-making.

Moratoriums can serve as effective mechanisms for managing growth and protecting critical infrastructure. By providing time for planning and implementation, they enable cities to address infrastructure needs proactively, ensuring sustainable development and supporting the well-being of residents and businesses.

Though the reasons may have differed among the council, I strongly believe this was the right decision and follow on course of action as we’ve addressed the sewer line and are executing the plan to upgrade it bringing more opportunities for strategic growth in our community which will ultimately offset the tax burden. A strategic tool, used at the right time, for the right reasons, that gave us an opportunity to strategically invest in our future the right way. That’s a big win.


4. Extension of Little Road – please respond by March 21, 2024

In August 2023 the city council decided it would issue debt (certificates of obligation) for the extension of Little Road without any voter approval after the discussion all along prior to that meeting was to issue general obligation bonds approved by voters if the project was to be completed. Do you agree with the council's action? Why or why not?

During the August meeting what was being discussed was moving forward with considerations for General Obligation (GO) Bonds for several items, including the Little School Road project. The Council decided it would not move forward with a GO bond for the Little School Road project, but instead it would consider issuing a Certificate of Obligation (CO) Bond in the future. That decision has not been made. No CO bond has been issued, and no such decision to do so has been made.

There are many more conversations that must take place on this item, though the intent of the Council at that time was to consider a CO bond. There are lots of considerations that go into making decisions on whether or not to move forward with a GO bond versus a CO bond. Before being able to have that conversation it is important to understand the difference between them.

The terms CO bond and GO bond denote distinct types of bonds issued by governmental entities, yet they both serve the common purpose of financing public projects. A CO bond, is a municipal bond issued by a local government entity, like a city or county, without necessitating voter approval. These bonds are commonly utilized to fund capital improvement projects or other governmental obligations, with the issuer pledging its full faith and credit for repayment, backed by the taxing authority of the issuing entity. CO bonds are typically employed in situations of urgency, where immediate funding is required, or when a project is deemed essential by the governing body, and there's insufficient time or resources to hold a voter referendum.

On the other hand, a GO bond, necessitates voter approval before issuance. It is supported by the full faith and credit of the issuing government entity, underpinned by the taxing power of the jurisdiction. GO bonds are often utilized to finance substantial projects crucial for the community's well-being, such as infrastructure improvements, schools, or public facilities. Due to the requirement for voter approval, GO bonds are perceived as a more transparent and democratic means of financing public projects.

Simply put, the Council generally views these as Go bonds are used for wants and CO bonds are used for needs. The city has a responsibility and duty to provide primary functions such as public safety and infrastructure.

There are many reasons that impacted the decision to not move forward with a GO bond for the project at that time, and why a CO bond may be more appropriate. One very important key point is that when a Go bond fails there is a waiting period in which the item can be brought back for bonding consideration. The primary considerations were critical public safety concerns and infrastructure needs which are two primary responsibilities of the city. The Union Pacific line, parallel to Kennedale Parkway, impedes accessibility to the west side of the city and negatively impacts the response time for our first responders. There are no bridges that allow for our first responders to expeditiously respond to calls on that side of town. When the train pulls in or is stopped our first responders must either wait or go around which significantly increases their response time and the potential for loss. Considering the impact a waiting period would have on these critical needs it would be an unfortunate misstep and a failure of the leadership to have not appropriately fulfilled these responsibilities. This project is essential, critical, and has a multitude of other benefits for our community.

Other benefits of this project include traffic control, accessibility, and economic development. By adding in an additional intersection and four way stop on business 287, we effectively slow traffic further as it moves toward the center of town and past our schools there. This will help us further mitigate people using the parkway as a speedway. In addition, we will be creating an opportunity for more economic development both by the intersection, but also by creating more accessibility to the southwest which will promote strategic growth and help us increase our tax base ultimately positioning us to roll back our tax rate in the future.

There’s also a concern for affordability. Let’s talk about that. This project came up around 2014 at which time Tarrant County had discussed funding the project. For whatever reason the project did not move forward then. The next time it came up was in 2021, and Tarrant County pledged to pay half of the project costs (about $7M) at that time. The project moved forward in concept planning, but the Council did not financially plan appropriately knowing the necessity of the project. It is imperative to understand that in 2022 the tax rate was significantly rolled back and has certainly caused challenges moving forward with the project. Had the Council considered the necessity of the project there would have been an opportunity to do both, roll the tax rate back less aggressively and still plan financially for the project. Now we’re facing a much more expensive project, we’re looking at approximately $39M. That’s not to say that we would have been positioned to fund the project entirely even if we didn’t roll the tax rate back, but we’d be in a more strategic position to afford it and more strategically positioned for more roll backs as we move forward. I am confident that despite the challenges we face on this project, we will get it done with proven strategy and planning by leveraging regional partnerships while meeting community needs without increasing the tax rate. Long term strategy is how we roll our taxes back and still steward our city in a way that meets the wants and needs of our citizens.


5. Communications – please respond by March 28, 2024

If you receive an e-mail from a constituent on a Kennedale issue logically laid out and well documented, will you respond to the constituent? Why or why not? What actions will you take?

When I receive emails, phone calls, text messages, or any other contact from constituents, I respond to the best of my ability. If I do not have an answer I will follow up after having looked into the issue or concern. When necessary, the issue is presented to the appropriate personnel to be addressed. In any case I will follow up with the constituents to ensure they are aware of what is happening and to ensure it has been handled. I highly encourage our citizens to file formal complaints or make unanimous reports through the appropriate channels. The process for filing complaints is outlined on our city website at If for whatever reason the issue is with the city itself, there is also a process for submitting a claim against the city at By following the process and notifying your council we are better equipped to provide oversight, accountability, and assistance with issues that are not being resolved.


6. Issue – please respond by April 4, 2024

What is the most important issue the city council is currently facing? Why? What are your suggestions for addressing this issue?

One of our most pressing issues is the lack of committed leadership. While we come together in meetings to discuss important matters and make decisions for the betterment of our community, there has been a noticeable absence of genuine dedication among some past members and the current candidates they support. One significant impact of this challenge is working on projects collectively. Instead of rolling up their sleeves and actively participating in the work, some council members only show up for meetings and to make appearances. This lack of commitment hampers our progress and diminishes the effectiveness of our efforts. A prime example of this was displayed during the last budget season. We repeatedly conducted working sessions with the intent to discover where exactly we could make cuts that would allow us to roll back the tax rate. Not once did the members who were outspoken about lowering the rate ever offer any kind of guidance or suggestions on how exactly we could move forward with that decision. Its easy to have an opinion and to politic to position yourself in the favor of the people. It is hard to lead the people through challenging situations and to offer strategy for achieving what they want while providing them with what they need.

Moreover, this lack of commitment also leads to challenges in communication and problem-solving. When individuals prioritize their own agendas over the needs of our community, it becomes increasingly challenging to reach a consensus and provide the best options for our constituents. This issue erodes trust and confidence in the council's ability to serve and lead the city effectively. When the public observes council members who are more focused on personal interests rather than the collective good, it undermines their faith in the integrity of our institution. Most prominently, this has been evident in how often we face appointments due to resignations with having 3 in just this past year alone. Elections have consequences indeed, and some of our options this time will inevitably lead us down a road wrought with more of the same. For example, when we dealt with the conflicts of interest regarding TGAA and the member who brought the interlocal agreement to the council, it resulted in a resignation. Again, when we dealt with an issue regarding charter law and attendance it resulted in a resignation. In both these cases, the members chose to resign rather than have a hard conversation and work towards solving the problem. Our differences can be our strength when we work together for the common good. Being at odds with one another simply because we don’t agree and refusing to work together is negligent and destructive. Unlike those individuals and the candidates they support, I have chosen to work through challenges and our differences rather than fleeing from them. I have taken every opportunity to demonstrate transparency and accountability to foster trust in the community and restore confidence in the council. How I faced the back-to-school bash is a perfect example of how I will continue to serve this community, answering the people I serve.

To address these challenges, we must foster a culture of accountability and dedication among council members. I have been and will continue to be committed to transparency and accountability, not only with myself but also with my fellow council members. We must emphasize the importance of active participation and collaborative decision-making, ensuring that everyone is fully invested in the work we do for our community. By prioritizing the common good over individual interests, we can rebuild trust and confidence in our ability to serve and lead effectively. When things get hard, good leaders press in and press on; we don’t hide, and we don’t quit. That’s what Kennedale needs, leaders committed to weathering the challenges that lie ahead as we press on towards our cast vision for the future. That’s what I’m committed to.