Mayor Muns and Commissioner Webb Visit EPIC Masjid for a Q&A
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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We welcome our mayor, Mayor months and our Commissioner Commissioner Webb, to our mosque in our community. We are very honored and gracious, they have taken the time out of their very busy day on a week day, mind you at 8:45pm. And I've just found out that the mayor has had four events. This is his fifth event today, and the commission that has six events. So this is like the seventh event they're coming to. So we really appreciate the time and the sacrifice that they have shown in coming here. And we appreciate the fact that they're genuinely showing a caring and concern and a very large demographics of our own community here in Plano. So I'm going to immediately introduce the
mayor, give him some time to speak. And then after that, introduce the commissioner and offer him some time to speak as well. Then we'll open the floor for q&a. There's going to be cards going around so you can write your questions, obviously want the questions to be pertinent and relevant to our situation here in Plano. So without further ado, a brief introduction to Mayor months. Mayor months John months is the mayor of Plano, Texas, and he assumed office in May 10 of 2021. His current term ends in 2025. His career includes working as a general partner for months enterprises, and as the vice president of Wyatt cafeterias, he has served on the Plano Independent School
District Board. And he has always made himself available to the epic community. This is not the first time he's coming here. He has been here a number of times, we invited him to our Iftar events as well. And he is here today to update us about certain changes that are taking place in Plano and also to field your questions. So without any further ado, thank you for being here. Mayor, thank you so much for having me. Good evening, everyone. Thank you. It's an honor and a privilege to be here with all of you today. We are so encouraged to be a part of this great group tonight.
Plano is is busy as ever, and and we want you to know that we represent all 300,000 of our community in Plano. And we care very much that
we're providing the amenities that keep you safe and secure. And that we have those opportunities for you in regard to your businesses, your homes, and just making sure that this is the place that you want to stay and live for many years to come
over over the last year. A big part of what we are doing is infrastructure and revitalizing areas of Plano that have been around for 50 and 60 years and need repair. And a lot of those are the roads that you drive on every day. We passed a bond in 2021 to spend about $280 million on our roads. And so what you see on Plano Parkway, what you see on the main thoroughfares going east and west, are going to be repaired and
on the sub floor, and then we will put a blacktop on on those asphalt top on the top of the sub floor and it will be a much smoother ride. No more potholes. We've we've learned this technology from other cities that have used it in other states that that it does cause the water to dissipate and go off to the sides. And so we're hoping we have these main thoroughfares that you drive on every day to be repaired as soon as possible. As you see all the orange cones that are occurring on Plano Parkway right now the just know that that's that's the first step in completing these roads and making them drivable again. We are in the early stages of completely redoing calling Creek mall
and and that that's a mall that was 60 years old. And so it's it's going to require a heavy duty amount of demolition, but at the same time, it's going to have a variety of shopping, restaurants, housing and office for a very mixed use area and it's going to be very vibrant community when we finish probably in 2025.
We are continuing to have corporate relocations that come to Plano every day. We have inquiries of folks and we have areas over here on the light industrial area.
of companies that are coming to do
battery building for automobiles and other things that don't require heavy duty manufacturing. And we obviously are very large corporate community that a lot of the corporations that exist on the on the Tollway side, also exist throughout all of Plano. And Plano is a city where people want to come because A, just like a lot of you, we have a very educated workforce. We care about our students to make sure that they're educated. And we have this opportunity for you not only to work in a very vibrant area like Plano, but your kids that go to school here will also have that opportunity. And that's very important to us to have a good education system, a good opportunity of jobs that exist
here in Plano, and in areas north and south of us. But specifically, Plano, we believe there's real opportunities for for all of us to work right here in our own community, which is very important to us. And so the revitalization of areas that have been around for a long time are very important to us. That includes downtown Plano. And we want to make sure wherever you live in Plano that you're living, and the high quality area that provides the best services are our water, our trash, our roads, our amenities that you count on every day, are as good as anywhere else in North Texas. And at the same time, we do this for quite the lowest tax rate in all of North to North Texas. And we do
that because we have a even balance of corporate taxpayers.
Almost actually, about 53% of our taxpayers are the corporate community, and about 47% Are our residents. And so very few cities in all of Texas have that ratio, it's usually reversed. So things are going well, we're not perfect, we constantly are trying to improve what we do, we want you to know that everybody at the city wants to be user friendly. So if you have a project you'd like to do, or a business, you want to start, we want to make sure that you have the most efficient opportunity to get that done and start your business as soon as possible. And so it's really important to us that, that we make it easy on you, if you're building a house, we want those
inspections to go smoothly, so that you can get through those things, and have those things finished long before
anyone else can do. So those are the things that are important to us. And we we obviously care about your safety and security.
Our police forces is one of the best, we continue to make sure that they're trained properly, and that we assist in in those areas, as long as our first responders are also very important to us to make sure that when you do have an emergency that they're there immediately, as fast as possible when you need them. And obviously, our health care is is second to none. We have
three actually adult major hospitals a trauma, one hospital, and we have a children's hospital, that's one of the best in the nation. So we're very proud of the amenities that we have here in Plano. And we continue to make sure that we we don't rest on our laurels that we continue to improve in areas that need improvement. And and so I think the biggest thing that we care about is input from you. You tell us what we're doing right, you tell us what we're not doing so well. And we want to we want to step up and try to improve those areas. So thank you so much for being here for listening.
I want to introduce you to Commissioner Duncan Webb and I'll I'll step back. But as soon as we're through. I'm more than happy to answer any questions you may have for either of us. Thank you very much. Thank you. That was very helpful. We now move on to Commissioner Duncan Webb. He has been the commissioner of Colin
County and a resident of Plano, Texas for the last 45 years 1983. He has served as the transportation Council since 2011 and has represented Collin County as a commissioner throughout the same period. He is a practicing attorney in Dallas and in Plano. He has been here since 1980. And he is the sole shell shareholder of the law firm of web and web PC. In 2020. Mr. Webb was honored by the Plano Chamber of Commerce and leadership for his contributions and leadership to the city of Plano and given a Distinguished Leadership Award. And today, Mr. Webb is here to provide us with updates about calling County and also to field a few questions. So Mr. Webb, thank you for coming to
our community. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate like the mayor said, are very appreciative of being able to come and meet you an opportunity to discuss what I do, and the outlook for the county long term. The county is composed of numerous cities, we work with all our cities, including Plano, I represent most of Plano, I represent most of Allen, I represent a portion of city of Dallas, Collin County.
My primary role, there's five members of the commissioner's court, I'm one of those five, and we make decisions relating County, infrastructure and operations, our primary role is the justice system. So if you think of the courts, the district court, the county court and law, the Justice Court, the DA,
and then we also operate the jail, the Sheriff's Department, which works with the city police departments. And then the other part we do is we up, we maintain all of the roads and everything in the unincorporated areas of the county that aren't part of cities. So that's our primary role. Secondarily, and what I pretty much my focus is because I don't have any unincorporated areas in my precinct is I focus most of my focus now, in the last probably 10 years, some of the 10 years has been on long term transportation, infrastructure planning, and implementation.
When I took office 11 years ago, a little over 11 years ago, the county was about 800 700 to 800,000. We are now 1.1 million. Their projections show that Collin County will be 3 million people in the next 25 to 30 years. So most of my focus, and I'll try and push the court to focus on and our state government on how are we going to provide mobility to all of our residents in the county, which would also include Plano, so a lot of my focus recently has been on us 75 How to ink
to improve it, turning us 380 into a freeway and putting a freeway system in our county so that we can provide mobility to all of our residents, so that we continue to be the place to live, work and play.
I am a native Dallas sight.
I went to Richardson high school, I married a Plano high school girl who convinced me to come to Plano. I have two daughters who are also products of Plano schools, one and both of them live within approximately three mile one minute less than a mile from me and the other three miles from me. So I am very,
I work very hard to make sure that playing out is the place to live, work and play. I've been very blessed that I got to meet John. Many, many years ago, we served on the Plano ISD Board of Trustees for almost 12 years together. And that's how we work together. My role now is different from his as mayor, because I represent a city a bunch of cities versus just focusing on one. And my main last I said focus is the justice system. We also do all your real estate records, all your birth records, all your death records, all your marriage records, all those types of writers. That's what the county does. We're the repository for all of that and we operate all those systems. We also are I
hate to say we tax assessor as part of our operations.
Since we're the ones city of Plano and P ISD. contract with us to run all their elections and collect all their taxes.
Plano has the lowest tax rate for a city in the Metroplex. I'm pleased to say that Collin County has the lowest county tax rate in the state, yet we provide excellent service and that's our goal is to provide outstanding services at the most cost effective means possible. And with that, I think that's pretty much a little bit of what I do and a little bit about me.
Okay, thank you very much, both of you for summarizing some of the developments, latest projects and divisions that you have. We have a number of questions. First question that we have. Last month, there was a sad case of a verbal assaults here in Plano, based on a person's identity and background, and there's been a number of questions about what exactly are we doing to increase public awareness and decrease this type of, of race, hate and perhaps of race and religious strife to make Plano a very multicultural city, a very tolerant city and a role model city?
Well, I appreciate you saying that. And when the incident occurred, not only did the Plano police
move immediately towards arresting this person
for the assault, but we made it very clear at the city of Plano, we will not tolerate this type of behavior. And I think it's got to come from those of us in leadership to understand this is this is not the way we behave in Plano. Our diversity, equity and inclusion is a strength of this city in Plano, and I embrace it 100%. And I think by reinforcing that, we'll continue to show obviously, people are going to have biases, racist behaviors, for whatever reason. But if they see that this is not tolerated, from the city's point of view, or the policeman's porn point of view, I believe they'll move somewhere else, or, or behave differently when they come here. And so it's really
important to us to show we will not tolerate that kind of behavior. And from the sheriff's department at the county. Again, this was really within the city limits. So we, the county really has no
part of that whole situation. But our Sheriff's Department, we worked very hard on training, bias, inclusion, discrimination, and all those trainings. We put that in play with all of our deputies, in all of our levels of the Sheriff's Department. Appreciate that. Next question we have we have a number of questions about possible plans to open a library or to open a large park or recreational ground as exists in other cities around Plano. So especially in East Plano in this area, is there any plans or is any mechanism for us to petition for such a plan? Yeah, I think I think the best thing for us to do, we do have 85 parks, and 112 miles of walk walking trails and biking trails.
Do we need another one over here on this? In this area? Obviously you've got out point. But that's not we want to we want you to be five minutes max walking distance from a significant Park. So we started are we past that bond and 21. So in 25, we'll be ready to talk about the needs for our bond program. And this is one I need your input for. In this regard. We can obviously try to look at some areas of the of the Los Rios golf courses and things like that. But I think there's some property that's adjacent to some of the areas that all of you live in that we can come up with a fabulous parkland, that we can establish that that would be very useful to this area. And so I'm going to
need and I will I will reach out to you to get that input in there so we can actually put it on the items that that are priorities for the next bond issue.
the county, as part of our bond program, that's a separate bond program from the cities. We have a parks and open space bond issuance associated with it. Our last bond was in 2017. As part of that, each year, we've sold approximately $2 million worth of bonds for partnering partnering with our cities, in terms of acquiring and developing parks, and open space. Plano has been the recipient of several grants associated with the development of their parks system and their open spaces. I hope that in 2023, we'll be looking at or 2024, we'll be looking at a new bond issue, which will again have additional monies for park and open space. In addition to that, since I'm more of a regional
type person, through the region, which is part of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. There's a trail system that covers the entire metroplex, its plan is that all the trails of all most all the cities in the Metroplex will ultimately all be connected together. So you could get on a plane out trail and literally go to Dallas, you could go to garland, you could go to muskie, the whole trail system is going to ultimately be interconnected. The region as a whole does grants also, to try to connect those trails between the various cities. We just approved at the regional level, some more money to help
connect some more of the city's trail systems will assist the city so long term, if the city of Plano
as it continues to develop its trail system, it could go to the region through the Council of Governments, which I call short cog and get some additional funding for that connector trail systems to Richardson. Whether that's McKinney, Allen, or what are any of the other cities?
Okay, this is a really sensitive question. Let me phrase it as gently as I can.
One of the main cultural wars taking place across this country, between school districts and certain, you know, families is the
curriculum that is taught regarding family morality, sexuality. And as a faith based community, we clearly have our views in that regard. So actually, a lot of people have moved here to Plano from other states, because we felt safer in this state and in the city. So there's just a concern, they just want assurances that there's no, there's no plans to change status quo, that the integrity of that family will be paramount. And we will be allowed to pass our values to our children, you know, as we see fit? Well, I can assure you that I and I'm, I appreciate that concern. And it's always a concern to me as well. But the fact that we and again, things change, so I can't, I can assure
anyone because planos, the city of Plano, and the county of Collin County, we don't run the schools any longer. But we did for quite a while back in the 90s and early 2000s.
Our objective it Plano is a to make sure that you have the highest
quality education available to you and that academics are very important. At the same time.
We we have no interest in politicizing our educational system. What I'd like to do, and we'll put this on the calendar is to come back with
two or three of the Plano school board members and let you talk to them and have a dialogue with them in regards to
you know, we're hearing these things that are happening somewhere around here or somewhere out of state or somewhere else. And those are always concerning it. Those things occurred when we were there. And it was always you know, unless you know what's going on in your district. You're always going to be fearful of what's the possibilities of things changing. That that would not be preferable to you. But it's very important to know that we have a great relationship with the school district
We work with them on a daily basis.
They are focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and respecting the family and making sure that that doesn't change. And at the same time, making sure academics are the main focus when you come to P ISD. But I would like to bring some of the school board members here so we can have that dialogue. So I'll take you up on that we got really scheduled something in for next month or so let's let's do that specific dialogue, because then they can speak directly to some of the specific issues that you may be concerned about, because I'm well aware of some of the issues that have gone on in other school districts in North Texas.
It has I have not seen that here in Plano. And I'm not saying it can't be infiltrated at any given moment. But as far as we know, we have focused entirely on making sure that we educate these kids, we make sure that they have the amenities and the resources to get the best education possible. And that's it, not anything above and beyond that. No
grooming or whatever, whatever the word is these days, is just not part of the objective it p ISD. So I say that, but I think it'd be better to bring the school board members, two of them, I don't think I could bring more than three here, we'd have to have a quorum. But I'd love to bring them in here and answer some questions to make you guys feel a lot better about what's going on at the district. Appreciate that. And I completely agree with the mayor I and I think bringing the school board or at least several of the members, because they need to hear from y'all and you need to hear from them. I when we serve together, inclusion, we work very hard to make sure we try to eliminate
or minimize our discrimination, bias and all those things because every one of us should have the ability to practice their religion freely, and to seek betterment of their families through their education and or other objectives. So I completely agree with the mayor in that role. And I think the school board really does need to hear from you all as community about what your concerns are. They're interested in that. Okay. We have a lot of questions like seven, specifically about issues related to our our mosque, for example.
We have the largest mosque in Plano, we're very humbled and grateful for that. And every single day, hundreds in fact, 1000s, if you look at all of our prayers come and a lot of people walk to the mosque. So there's been a lot of questions about facilitating, there's no sidewalks around the mosque, right in front of our mosque complex, there is a massive apartment complex, which is what 80%, you know, over the community, you know, walks back and forth. It's a dangerous road.
Is it possible to look into I don't know, a walkway or some have suggested, you know, stop sign or maybe a, you know, any mechanism to facilitate people walking because we have, as you can see a very large community and a lot of them are walking distance actually the entire subdivisions are our community and the the apartment complexes majority our community as well. That's not my request. Yeah.
As far as the sidewalks are concern, they may be part of the
280 million infrastructure. I will find out and get back to you on that. I I know that's important. And we want to make sure I mean, our objective is to create walking amenities throughout the entire city. So this is this is one that is being used more than other areas of Plano, so the priority is very high. Okay, great. Let's try to squeeze in at least three more questions. One of them, I think it's a very common problem. DMV appointments.
Well, the person you want to talk to is not up here right now. The buck stops were mayor, but I wish it stopped with me because I would I would correct the system in five minutes. But that is a state legislature issue. But don't think for a minute that we don't talk about
got this on a on a regular basis. And I know that the commissioner Webb does too. This is so important to us. And yet it Yeah, the appointments have helped somewhat, even though it might take six months to get an appointment.
But this is a constant problem. And I, I tell you may have some insight, but I, I actually talk to my legislature on a regular basis on all the other things that we're asking them to do, which they go back into session in January. And this is one that we get the most complaints from constantly, that passport, Social Security. And so those are the those are the things that really affect all of us, those that travel internationally that, that that need to come in,
renew the driver's license, it's just very complicated. And we don't seem to get a lot of cooperation. So I will tell you that I constantly talk to our legislature about it, I will continue to do that. But it it matters when you contact them as well. It makes a bigger difference. Sometimes they get sick and tired of hearing the mayor. So if you'll continue to write the legislature, the state legislatures that exist in Plano, and tell them this, the system is just not working. And we need more money in the DMV system.
for the last four sessions, I've pushed to put more funding in the DMV, this is strictly a funding issue. For some reason, the state has no interest in putting more money in DMV so they can hire more people so that we can eliminate the long lines. It is a huge problem. I hate to say it that the city and the county, we have no ability to change that at all. It is strictly a state situation. As the mayor said, the more people who complain to their local state representatives, whether that's their rep representatives, or their state senator, about the DMV situation, the better
chance we have for them to put more funding in it. We're going in to this session in January, the state is going in with the most money it's ever had as a surplus $27 billion with a big surplus. That doesn't include another 13 billion in its rainy day fund. So overall, there's $40 billion
of extra monies that are going to be available this session. You would think that if they hear from enough of their constituents about the DMV, that some more money will be put into the system. I will continue to be a strong advocate for additional funding for DMV, but at the at the county level. Even if I wanted to throw money at or put money I couldn't legally do it.
Okay, depressing, but it is what it is.
But we have an answer, guys, we need to know who to contact. Final two questions.
What are some of the opportunities or the incentives that Plano offers small and especially minority business owners? Well, we just been discussing that as a an additional amenities and incentives that we that we'd like to add to our offering. Most of the things that we've done in the past on incentives have been large corporation, fortune 500 fortune 100 companies that that we all know that exists there. But we realize how important our small business is. And so we've come we're working presently to have amenities and insensitive incentives for our small businesses that are starting that are moving that are entering into Plano that exist in Plano that want to grow, but just need a
little little bit of help. And so we're we're not just looking at
number of employees and discounting that number or adding some funds for those but we're also maybe maybe you're one
wanting to buy a building that's an older building here in Plano and you, you, you need some help maybe with construction or demolition of the existing building to come back up with a building that's more appropriate for your business. Those are some of the incentives that we're looking at being able to offer. And so we realize how important our small business is to the city of Plano. And so we're, we're, we're in discussion right now with economic development to add incentives for small business. So stay tuned, we have some real opportunities for you here in the next few months. Okay, look forward to hear them. You want to add some, the state the county really doesn't have anything
in that arena. It's really a city issue. Most small businesses are located in the incorporate areas of a city. There's very few, if any small businesses in the unincorporated area, because there's, there's no reason to have a business out in the middle of nowhere. You're not going to have anybody come. So the county really doesn't have any programs with that we did have some grants for small business through the COVID relief funds. What when those funds ran out? That's pretty much all we've ever done. Well, our final question, when it comes to Plano or Collin County, what keeps you up at night?
What keeps you up at night? What do you think about your concerns and worries and fears? Well, I think I think they're the obvious. I mean, when a situation that happened at
60 vines, a few months ago, where someone was being accosted
over their race, or we have a terrible accident or a crime
that might include an assault on somebody else. These are the things that keep me up at night. And yet,
the reason why I don't think you see those occur very often in Plano, is because a we have a community that really cares about their community and where they are, we also have a police force that that really works hard to have partnerships with our community and our residents.
To say that, that would prevent them all it doesn't. And so I worry, just like you do about making sure that we're all safe.
Things happen, it's a journey that we you know, we're
mortals that, that, that sin, and, and those, those are the ones that keep me up at night. And fortunately, though,
we live in a great community where every one cares about each other and, and, and wants to live in a community that safe. And and and you care about your neighbor and take care of each other. And so it's important to me that we continue to enforce that in and communicate that on a daily basis. But you know, quite frankly, I worry all the time that we don't have an incident. That's That's tragic. And, and again, it's possible, but we we do we do a really good job here in Plano. So we'll, we'll continue to pray that everyone is healthy and and well.
I will mirror what the mayor said but mine's at a larger level. It's the county level. It's the county jail. I guess if you want to go, what keeps me awake at night is that a death or an event occurring at the jail? You got to remember all the cities bring
their prisoners to the jail. The jail has to accept them. And so we've had one death in our jail over the last few years.
It was a Travis it was a tragedy, tragedy. I worry about our training of officers how to handle defuse the situation. So that's probably keeps me awake at night in terms of, as the mayor said, in that respect. The other part I guess, because I'm so heavily involved in transportation infrastructure is whether or not I'm going to get the freeway system on the map and built before mobility in this county becomes complete gridlock. What you would see in Los Angeles
I get studies in a
That's basically says if we don't get something in place fairly soon, you got to remember what I'm dealing with soon is if I get something done in 10 years, that's a good thing.
When it comes to major infrastructure projects, that keeps me awake too, because we are growing so fast in this county.
As I tell people, 81 people come here every day. That's 20 new cars a day. Wow, that's 20 new housing units per day. Now, the good news is we're creating more jobs per day than 81. So as long as we're creating more jobs in this county than there are people coming to this County, the county is going to continue to grow with the rapid pace. It's you see, you if you live around here in Plano, you're pretty much isolated, more from all the growth that's occurring. But I will tell you sometime y'all need to drive towards Salina
and see what's going on out there you will be amazed or drive I think you probably have seen what's going on in Wiley. But this is going on around all over the county. And so that's the secondary thing that keeps the ally awake at night is whether or not because it's a regional issue. I have to gain the support of other regional players to get these major roads system freeways put in place before we hit total gridlock in the county. And so that is the other thing that keeps me awake at night. Well, Mayor months Commissioner Webb, I'd like to thank you both for spending time and coming this late to our committee. I don't think you have any other business meetings at this time. So we
really appreciate you coming and we look forward to cooperating with you to make Plano not just a good city but the best city of the entire country. Let's have a round of applause for our guests here. And we look forward to coming through again. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you
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