Focus Daily News sent the following questions to ALL candidates running for Midlothian City Council. We do not edit the answers in any way and publish them exactly as they were submitted to us.
Midlothian City Council Place 3 Candidate/Incumbent: Ted Miller
What are some of the things you would like to accomplish if elected?
I want to help make our city a healthy city-with more bike and walking trails. Try to bring in healthy alternatives to the fast food and sedentary lifestyle we have today. More outside activities like movies in the park and concerts in the new park. I want to see downtown become a destination for families. With activities that are good for all ages. As the construction of the new Community Library and City Hall, it is a great opportunity to encourage updating the surrounding area. Last but not least, I want to ensure that the city is doing everything we can to make our roads safer.
What other boards have you served on in this city?
I have served on UAB, that is the utility advisory board. The (UAB) is a advisory group of citizens who report to council and evaluates needs for bulk water purchases, and other utility infrastructure needs for both water and sewer. I volunteered for the position and was asked to serve for a three year term in 2009. I then volunteered for the Planning and Zoning Commission, where I served for the betterment of the city. As a current Council member, I also serve as the liaison to the P&Z Commission.
What previous community involvement have you participated in?
In addition to serving as City Council member for 9 years. I was in one of the first Leadership Midlothian classes sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. In it we learned how to be the future leaders of Midlothian. My class had a future judge, school board member, CEO of a cement plant, and a future City Council member and Mayor pro-tem. Soon after I finished the class, I helped Holcim Cement with the property donation to the city and school district, now known as the MISD Agricultural Barn and Mockingbird Nature Park.
Do you think our Main Street/downtown is healthy and successful?
Our downtown is healthy and successful. The construction of the new Community Library/City Hall will be a major catalyst for downtown to become a destination rather than a pass -through location. The purchase of the Lawson buildings puts another block of real estate into play, whereas before we were land locked. The city has been very forward looking and has made smart land purchases to ensure the health and future growth of downtown where the new City Hall and Library will be built, a project that was passed in last year’s bond package.
Discuss your top three priorities.
I support increasing building standards in order to hold builders and developers to very high standards. I have pushed for and made it happen, from the best QT in the region to mandating 30 shingles to increase your home’s value and durability.
I support the current Economic growth which provides tax base diversity to ensure affordable taxes and utility rates. I have made sure Google and other large employers pay there fair share of the tax burden, leaving us in a better position to fund our future growth.
I support the many existing small businesses that enhance our lifestyle in our community, and hopefully to create the kind of community where people want to start a small business. I myself have a small business that has grown with hard work and determination for success. I want others to also be successful and I will continue to help make Midlothian the best place to start.
Do you think you have any personal or professional relationships that could become a conflict of interest while serving as a council member?
I haven’t had any problem for the last 9 years. If there is a potential conflict, the Council Code of Ethics requires that a Council member recuse him or herself from voting on the matter.
What are the residents telling you are their most important issues, and how would you address them?
Growth. How to control it. How to not lose the essence of the city. Responsible growth is what people tell me they want.
First thing is, I believe each decision must be evaluated as to the positive or negative effect it has on the entire community. Midlothian continues to grow at a rapid pace and the decisions made today should be what is in the best interest of this community for many years to come. Not one person has all the answers, but by working together with fellow council members, the MISD board, business leaders, downtown business community and the public, we can come to the best solution for all. I can and have voted on what has been determined to be in the best interest of the community. I am motivated to help lead the ongoing struggle of balancing positive growth and maintaining a healthy small-town atmosphere.
How long have you lived in the city and what experience do you bring to the role that you feel that sets you apart from your opponents?
I moved to Midlothian in 1984 as a construction worker helping to build BoxCrow Cement. I was hired by BoxCrow as a production worker. Worked my way up and semiretired after 20 years. My father-in-law Kenneth Lundberg, asked me to manage his rental property and with his help we grew from 16 units to where we are now at over 100. I am a builder and have personally built over a million dollars worth of new homes in Midlothian that involved complying with City planning and zoning issues and building regulations. The City departments address the needs of the property owner and the building community. I also manage a company with over 10 million dollars worth in properties in Midlothian. I believe my experience as both a builder and a local businessman and as a council member allows me to stand in the tax payers shoes and to see the issues from their point of view.
Do you feel it is important to encourage more community participation and involvement in local politics and how would I do that?
I would like to take the political thing out, and just say involvement in the city. With involvement comes knowing about what is going on, becoming the greater voice. Involvement gives us the desire to get together for our city’s best interest no matter who you are. I believe this will lead to better and more importantly a healthy understanding of what the city is, and give us new and knowledgeable people to be elected. So let’s start small and volunteer for city boards and commissions to lead us in our future growth and involvement.
How will you be responsive to citizens?
I am responsive to citizens by being available to talk in person or phone. Anyone who has ever talked to me knows that I am a straight-shooter. I am very direct and to the point, which may not always be politically correct, but it is honest.
If you received a million dollars grant how would you spend it and why?
That is the easiest question ever. The one thing that never has enough money is our parks department. Bike trails, running paths, and kid friendly activities.
What is your favorite part of public service? Why? What is your least favorite? Why?
My favorite thing is driving around town and looking at how our decisions made a difference in the future of Midlothian. My least favorite is telling someone that they can’t do what they want because it would hurt the citizens who have put their trust into my decisions.
We are on the edge of change. Look all around us; Waxahachie, Mansfield and Cedar Hill are all in a state of flux. We need to learn from their accomplishments and their mistakes. I have the experience to do this. Trying to be someone who we are not, is not the way to grow our town. I want us to be like us, not us trying to copy someone else. Let’s define who we are, what we want to become and avoid making the mistakes of other towns, and use their experience to make us better. We have a rich base of knowledge among our residents and business owners that we need to tap. If re-elected, I will continue to work with the council, but more importantly, I will work with the citizens who elected me to find out their needs, desires and dreams for Midlothian, so we can all work together to make them happen.