Name:

Scott Elliott

District:

District 3

Office/Seat you are running for:

Candidate for City Council District 3

Email:

scott4mckinney@gmail.com

Phone:

(469) 636-3965

Campaign website:

www.scott4mckinney.com

Education:

I graduated from Baylor University with a BBA in Accounting, and performed post-graduate work at Texas Tech University.

Professional background/employment

I have been fortunate to lead Information Technology and other organizations of various sizes for 25 years. I have worked as a consultant, and in industries as diverse as healthcare, software, oil and gas exploration, and insurance. I have led organizations of over 600 people, and had responsibility for budgets in excess of $50 million. I have experience turning around poor-performing organizations, increasing both effectiveness and morale.

Why are you seeking this office?

First, my father’s influence. He was a Naval Officer, and modeled both leadership and volunteer service throughout his career and beyond. Also, our city has also provided everything important to us as a family: a place to exercise our faith, deep friendships, a safe city, recreation, and opportunities to serve others. Quite simply, I want to give back. Finally, my candidacy is fueled by respect for those who have come before, who have made McKinney what it is today. My desire would be to meaningfully contribute to decisions that will impact McKinney for the next thirty years.

What qualifies you to understand the unique needs facing McKinney businesses?

In addition to the information above, years of experience helping turn around struggling organizations have given me a sense of what strong collaboration looks like. Respecting and listening to others; seeking to understand differing points of view; the ability to disagree without anger; building others up instead of tearing them down. Intellectual honesty, respect for all, and working together toward common goals is an approach that I believe works well in any business. Additionally, my service in Leadership McKinney and on the MCDC board. These opportunities have allowed me to become acquainted with our city, its people, and its organizations.

The McKinney Chamber has identified priorities for our community’s economic health, including transportation, water and economic development. Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. What are the most important issues the businesses in your district face?

First, I would answer from the perspective of businesses in downtown McKinney. We have infrastructure challenges inhibiting access to our restaurants and retail establishments. This includes a parking deficit of an estimated 1,000 or so spaces, as well as some road maintenance needs. We have both TIRZ and MCDC funds as possible funding sources to accomplish projects in the Town Center.

For general business needs, I would suggest that we can review existing city processes and procedures for possible improvement. We have the potential to shorten the timeline for projects for existing businesses, as well as the time required to get new businesses up and running. I would suggest we visit with existing businesses as well as developers to find out their experiences and prepare a roadmap of improvements.

  1. What is the city’s role in growing the economy and how can we best attract businesses to McKinney while supporting existing businesses?

The city can and should play a role in development by becoming known as an city which welcomes business with open arms and a collaborative, customer-focused mindset. My answers in other questions discuss what can be done to grow our commercial tax base. When it comes to possible incentives we offer to incoming businesses, we should be very careful that we are not picking winners and losers in competitive situations. In general, offering incentives to new businesses that are in direct competition with existing businesses does not produce a level playing field.

  1. What role do you believe McKinney National Airport has in McKinney’s economic development?

Our airport is an asset that is certainly unique in our part of the Metroplex. I believe it has and will play a large role. MISD currently receives approximately $1.5 million in property tax from the assets at the airport, and the city approximately $500,000. This will only grow, and this type of AVT revenue is easy on the infrastructure of the city, as these are physical assets that do not impact our roads, traffic, or schools.

We have owned the airport itself for almost four decades. We have now made an investment in the operations of the airport. With revenue growing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and an extremely long waiting list for hangar space, I compare the airport to a developer who has made the investment in infrastructure and preparing a plot of land, and is now ready to reap the benefits by selling that land. We are now poised to take advantage of the work that previous Council members have done. Nowhere else can we make an investment such as a hangar and expect that within two years we will recoup our investment. I would propose using MCDC funds to build additional hangar space now, as we have already done once recently.

  1. How can McKinney continue to increase the commercial tax base?

This would echo some of the response from above. Serving on council is the ultimate teamwork event, so I would put forth these items as discussion points for the group:

- Set specific goals for the MEDC for both new commercial ad valorem tax value increases and increasing the number of new jobs in the city.
- Do not relinquish current commercial zoning for other uses and maintain the 1,000 foot buffer for our major thoroughfares to allow room for commercial development.
- Accelerate the development of the Gateway project, thinking that success breeds success. Maintain continuing and results-oriented discussions with our developers of choice to ensure this project reaches the finish line.
- Streamline the city inspection process in order to shorten the time involved in bringing a commercial project to completion.
- As noted above, I would suggest we visit developers who have built both in McKinney and some of sister cities to ascertain where can improve and prepare a roadmap to implement those improvements.

  1. In a growing community, do you anticipate supporting transportation initiatives including public transportation?

I believe in starting small with public transportation. When TAPS imploded, that left our most vulnerable citizens in critical need. Both DART and DCTA have proposed addressing the needs of those citizens first: the elderly, disabled, disabled veterans, and medically challenged. I support addressing these needs.

After visiting with both DART and DCTA executives, they both affirmed ballpark costs for light rail at $70 million to $80 million per mile, and commuter rail at $20 million to $25 million per mile. National studies have shown that to achieve even 10% ridership, population density would need to be 8,000 to 10,000 people per square mile. Even at full buildout, we will be less than 3,500. Once the needs of our most vulnerable citizens are addressed, then we can look at how we can possibly help intra-McKinney travel and extra-McKinney travel in a fiscally responsible way.

  1. What do you believe is McKinney’s greatest challenge/opportunity in the next three years?

Previous answers have addressed growing our commercial tax base and collaboration. Additionally, I would point to infrastructure needs as a result of the growth we are experiencing. I am referencing both physical infrastructure and the people infrastructure to make McKinney what it needs to be. This includes roads, relieving traffic congestion, water/sewer, utilities, downtown parking, and public transportation. The challenges on the people side of the equation include adequate fire and police staffing, sufficient staffing to provide city services, employee retention and recruiting, and ensuring pension obligations are met.

I do want to point out that very little of lasting value is accomplished by a single person. This is particularly true serving on City Council. Council service is a prime example of collaboration and teamwork, as it requires a majority of the Council Members to approve a decision.
In that context, I would offer the following ideas for discussion as we tackle these issues ahead of us:

- Completion of the McKinney2040 plan, including the major remaining item, the Master Transportation Plan.
- Do not relinquish current commercial zoning for other uses and maintain the 1,000 foot buffer for our major thoroughfares to allow room for commercial development.
- Accelerate the development of the outer loop, accelerate the development of the three main northern arterials (Wilmeth, Bloomdale, and Laud Howell), and explore alternatives for increasing 380 capacity other than right-of-way expansion to 300 feet.
- Do not execute any of the current 380 bypass options.
- Build another parking garage (or two) for downtown, sooner than later, using either TIRZ or MCDC funds.

From an employee perspective:
- We should manage the level of pay/benefits compared to our peer cities.
- Provide a welcoming environment for recruiting experienced city and public safety personnel by recognizing previous experience.
- Provide for continuing leadership education and mentoring for the people we trust to lead our city and public safety personnel.
- Provide learning and growth opportunities for all employees
- Ensure that we honor the pension commitments we have made so that we take care of the people that take care of us.

 From the American Academy of Actuaries: All plans should have the objective of accumulating assets equal to 100% of a relevant pension obligation, unless reasons for a different target have been clearly identified and the consequences of that target are well understood.