Matthew Dyer - Candidate for Kennedale Place 2

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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?

Given the information available to the council when the decisions were made, and the goals, I believe these were good decisions for these areas to be zoned this way.

A) Seeing how the “UV” zoning has developed, I don’t believe the Apartment complex alone satisfies the intent of this Zoning code. There needs to be development of retail/grocery/dining locations as the foundation for the residential location. Without these amenities, there is nothing ‘walkable’ for any of the residents, which is making this intended UV zone more of an MF zone in practice.

B) I don’t believe there is much viable alternative use for this land other than MF zoning, and is therefore the best likely use of space. As a small town, we are reliant on tax income from residents, which MF zoning provides more residential income density in a small amount of acreage. I understand the concerns around the potential impact on our school attendance rates, but the schools instantly benefit from the increased tax revenue the apartment owner must pay.

 

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?

Our tax rate has actually declined in recent years, having not been this low since 2001. The most viable path to alleviating the tax burden on the citizens would be through economic development. By attracting new businesses and encouraging business growth, it could potentially raise the property values and increase the overall revenue while decreasing the rate. Unfortunately, this puts us in a bit of a pickle because in order to attract high value businesses, we need to invest in our infrastructure to support them. These infrastructure enhancements and improvements cost money, which is largely reliant on tax revenue. I can see this as a short-term pain for a longer-term gain. A few years of maintaining a level tax rate could provide the needed funds for these improvements, which would not only attract business, but improve our quality of life here as well.

I don’t feel that this tax rate should just be accepted. There need to be clear plans of improvement so the citizens can see where their money is going. We need tangible results in order to believe that the current rate is justified when compared to our surrounding neighbors.I believe that the upcoming comprehensive plan revision could drive toward a more concrete investment plan and vision, providing a strategic roadmap for Kennedale to follow. As a future council member, I would support the city in developing toward the aligned updated plan, while listening to current resident input and concerns.

 

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?

Yes, I agree with the moratorium and would have made the same decision. By delaying future application for these zoning changes, it allows the city time to adjust and react to the recent ones that were put in place. We are able to observe the impacts that these zones have on the city and community, either positive or negative, and determine whether further similar zoning changes would be beneficial or detrimental to the targeted growth of the city. We are currently evaluating a revision to the Comprehensive Plan and having that voted on and finalized will prove useful in providing guidance on future zoning priorities and city development projects. This moratorium is critical in allowing these evaluations to take place and provide meaningful data for decision making.

 

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?

I do not agree with the action taken by the council. If there had been communication and agreements prior to that decision, that should have been honored by the council. When you give your word, you stand by it. Even if they had good reason for deviating from the plan that had been communicated, it should have been discussed and explained to the voters so that they could still provide their approval to proceed or not. This goes towards the level of trust that the people of Kennedale are able to have in their City Council to make sure that the voice of the people is being heard and considered when making decisions that impact us all.

 

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?

Firstly, I would respond to the constituent to acknowledge receipt of the email and thank them for the effort put into reaching out and staying involved in our city. Then, I would evaluate what response options are available to me as a city government member. After reviewing the options, I would follow up with the constituent and either provide response to the question as allowed, direct them to the city council forum, or provide response as deemed necessary based on the legal requirements and restrictions of my position.  Mostly, I would ensure that anyone who reaches out knows that they are heard and what options are available to them. I strongly encourage citizen involvement in the city government as that is how we ensure that we are meeting the needs of the people living here.

 

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?

I think the most critical issue to be addressed has to do with improvements to our city’s infrastructure; this includes transit, water supply, sewage systems, and electrical grids. The aging infrastructure poses potential risks to public health, safety, and the environment. It’s imperative that we address this issue promptly to prevent failures and disruptions.

To approach this issue effectively, I would suggest the following:

Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment of our infrastructure to identify vulnerable areas and prioritize critical upgrades.

Investment in Infrastructure Upgrades: Allocate sufficient funds for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, including seeking state or federal grants to supplement local budgets.

Public Awareness and Engagement: Educate the public about the importance of infrastructure maintenance and gain community support for necessary upgrades through town hall meetings and outreach campaigns.

Collaboration with Experts: Collaborate with engineering firms and infrastructure experts to develop long-term plans for sustainable and resilient systems.

Addressing our infrastructure challenges requires a proactive and collaborative approach. By investing in upgrades and leveraging innovative technologies, we can ensure reliable and safe transit and utility systems for our community’s future.