In this post, I will provide my full response to the questions asked of me by Helotes & Leon Springs Highlights publication.
The two questions sent to incumbents and challengers running in the Helotes May 1st, 2021 General Election for Mayor, Council Place 3, and Council Place 5 are:
- If elected, would you recommend, encourage, and/or support closing the Helotes Dispatch Center located in the Helotes Police Department? If so why? If not, why not? How would your decision affect the citizens of Helotes and the current dispatch employees?
- As an elected official, would you support the offering of 380 agreements or other incentives to developers or new businesses considering Helotes as a viable location to build if the incentive would be a deciding factor in their decision to locate in the City?
Response Restrictions, Campaign Website and my Response to the Publication
My responses to this publication were limited to 150 words total between the two questions and this limitation is applicable to the other candidates. My responses sent to the publication are precisely 150 words. I am confident that any reader of the physical periodical will grasp my very direct and clear message.
However, considering the implications of employees, citizens and other stakeholders, I direct readers of the publication to the McCrossen campaign site you are currently on. It is my assessment these two items require a response of more than 150 words total. I will expand on my responses below while still trying to remain concise for my visitors to this post.
First, here are my submitted responses respectively:
- This question presumes there are only two outcomes on the topic; remain open or close. My position can be summarized in a few paragraphs, but certainly not a few sentences. Readers looking for a direct answer now; I support periodic review of any government operation, asset, or contract. My due diligence will result in actionable data ranging from citizen input, response times audit, technology review, financial audit, and many more questions to help inform my vote as a councilmember if elected.
Please visit my campaign’s website, matthewmccrossen.com for my full response as we are limited to 150 words between both questions.
- I am in support of using incentives available to municipalities such as Chapter 380 agreements. How and when to use these tools is dependent on each situation presented to Council. My due diligence, inputs from city staff, the Helotes Economic Development Corporation and other stakeholders will guide my votes.
My Expanded Responses
First and foremost, the Helotes Dispatch Center, like any other City of Helotes operation is not exempt from audit and oversight. Audits and oversight of government property is something I’ve actively participated in since my first active duty assignment in the US Army. There were no exceptions. I served in tactical, national and multi-national assignments. There were no exceptions at any level.
Secondly, this item is not one of my campaign platforms. I have not invested time in researching actionable information that would result in my comfort level if this were an action item on a city council agenda. The due diligence I believe required for any councilmember to vote on this matter is, but not limited to: Citizen feedback with at least three opportunities over several months for as many as possible to voice their opinions, feedback, stories and concerns. Current, five- and ten-year capital cost projections addressing salaries, benefits, employer’s total costs. Maintenance and upgrade costs of facilities, IT hardware and software. Comparison of costs, response times, technology integration of our facility and Bexar County’s.
I will state broadly that I have had discussions with several city employees at that management level, a handful of citizens as I’ve block walked (they brought up the subject), and two other candidates on this topic. I appreciate the candor of everyone.
Thirdly, on that last statement. I would view Bexar County’s dispatching services as a vendor. They would be scrutinized as such in a same or similar manner along the lines of how I scrutinize all my vendors used at my marketing agency on an annual basis. This doesn’t mean I would advocate for annual reviews of any one or all city operations. It’s a statement to provide insight into my decision-making paradigm.
Lastly, I view this topic as a case study for the voters in terms of how I approach decisions placed before me. This operation is large and clearly, I have a list of questions requiring answers and presented in meetings complying with Texas Open Meetings Act.
In terms of Chapter 380 agreements. This is one of many tools we can utilize to remain competitive as businesses look for locations to start or expand. The elaboration on my answer is the following. Personally, if elected, I’m open to using tools legally available to remain competitive. I’m using the term “tools” generally. As a successful business owner I assure you my recommendation and/or support of any incentives will be aligned with long-term planning and our city’s business climate reputation. I want to keep us competitive, but not over use any one tool so we lose the ability to negotiate fair deals.