The Shops at Broad apartments, property tax relief and big-ticket items like the StarCenter dominated this Mansfield City Council election.
Three seats will be on the ballot Saturday and with only one incumbent running, there will be new faces on this council next month. Mansfield Matters recently hosted a candidate’s forum to let the community get to know the candidates.
Running for Place 3 are Mike Leyman, a 70-year-old retired police chief, and Brent Parker, 52-year-old regional sales manager. Councilman Stephen Lindsey will not seek reelection.
For Place 4, incumbent Darryl Haynes, a 65-year-old risk manager, is seeking a fifth term on the council. He was first elected in 2006. He faces challenger Casey Lewis, a 31-year-old Realtor.
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The race for Place 5 will be between Tamera Bounds, a 59-year-old regional rehab director, and Julie Short, a 47-year-old realtor. Long-time Councilman Cory Hoffman will not seek re-election after 12 years on the council.
Here are some highlights from the questions the community asked:
On Shops at Broad development
Short: “I hate to second guess what the council does because I don’t have that information. I believe that we have a high standard when we build apartments here.”
Bounds: “The property was zoned for commercial and we have always known that there would be shops there...People in that area were not listened to for that. It’s going to have an impact in that area and they shouldn’t have voted for it.”
Haynes: “I’m proud of the decision because it was a package decision. We have to maximize the revenue we’re going to receive. [The Shops] is going to be a destination unlike anything you’ve seen here. That’s a darn good project for the city of Mansfield and I would not take back my vote.”
Lewis: He’s been critical of how the city handled the project, including the land swap that put the StarCenter in the middle of the Shops. Now, he said the ice rink is over budget, opening a year later than planned and there are apartments backing up to an established neighborhood.
“Maybe hindsight we probably shouldn’t have done this. I am very hopeful that the Shops at Broad finishes like it’s supposed to.”
Leyman: He served on the council from 2007 to 2011 and has been strongly opposed to these multi-billion dollar public-private partnerships without voter approval.
“I am not in favor of those without it going to the voters. I have some real apprehension on that. I will do everything in my power to make it as successful as possible. I’ve got some real reservations about the entire project.”
Parker: “The Shops at Broad needs the foot traffic…. I think the City Council did the right thing. They’ve done a great job for mansfield. I’ve got to believe they were making the right decision on this as well.”
On property tax relief
Short: She said a homestead exemption for a $200,000 home would save the average homeowner about $20 a month.
“That doesn’t impact the homeowner that much but it would have a huge impact on our budget. I think we’ve got to go to the state to get some relief.”
Bounds: “If we have a problem, I think we should take care of it ourselves and find a way. I’ve talked to people that that extra $25 could mean the difference between getting their medications or not. We should make those choices.”
Haynes: “We saw this coming through the legislature many years ago. That’s why you see the Shops at Broad over there. As we move from a property tax to a sales tax based city, that’s your tax deduction. That’s where we’re going to lower our property tax rate.”
Lewis: “I’m concerned about rising property taxes that are going up at an unsustainable rate. I believe it’s possible for us to have property tax relief. We shouldn’t wait for the state to dictate. Mansfield has the highest property tax rate of any city in Tarrant County with more than 30,000 people. We’re the only city in Tarrant County with no homestead exemption.”
Leyman: “I’m a big fan of bringing in good, clean commercial to help offset property taxes. The largest amount of tax you pay is going to be school taxes.”
Parker: “We need to have the businesses help us out with property tax relief. We’re going to be able to bring a large corporation here and that corporation will help us out.”