• Successfully spear-headed the implementation of requiring “Special-Use Permits” for all additional multi-family development applications.

In 2012, the Rowlett City Council approved the implementation of the “Form-Based Code” and “Realize Rowlett 2020” Comprehensive Plan. Simultaneously, Special-Use Permit requirements for multi-family developments were eliminated. These actions combined paved the way for the rapid development of multi-family developments across the city. In fact, the growth of multi-family outperformed expectations realized in the 2012 comprehensive plan, which projected that by 2030, Rowlett would have around 75,000 residents. It is 2022, and according to latest estimates by NCTCOG, we have 73,000+ residents today. The rapid increase in population has overwhelmed existing infrastructure and City resources from police, fire, public works, parks & recreation, etc… This is why I spear-headed the effort to re-instate the requirement of Special-Use Permits (SUP) for all additional multi-family development applications. SUP’s will force multi-family developers to seek approval or denial of their proposed project from the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council. Since the re-instatement of the Special-Use Permits for additional multi-family development over a year ago, there have been no other apartment complexes approved or considered.

  • Increased departmental budget transparency to assist in the annual budgeting process. 

Each summer, the City Council holds several meetings to discuss and prepare a budget that ends up getting approved in time for the Fiscal Year start in October. During my first year on the City Council, I recognized that the City Council was missing an important component within the annual budgeting process. From 2018 and prior, the City Council was never given the opportunity to meet with department directors and discuss what each departments (police/fire/public works/library/etc…) needs and wants were. Only the City Manager’s Office had this opportunity. This left out critical information that the City Council did not have in order to make the best decisions when approving a budget. For example, the Council was not able to understand if there was any need for more police officers or firefighters. The lack of information had me very concerned about whether or not the City Council was being given the necessary information in order to increase public safety and personnel due to the rising population. I was able to work with a newly elected Councilmember, Whitney Laning, to ensure the City Manager’s Office would allow department directors to present to City Council their department’s needs, challenges, and opportunities, which has allowed the City Council to have all of the necessary information to produce a proper budget that considers public safety and other important issues. 

  • Assisted in the creation of the “Rowlett Ready” organization and worked with public and private community partners to implement the ROBUST (Rowlett Business Stimulus) grant to assist the Rowlett business community during the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In March of 2020, we all heard about a virus, referred to as COVID-19, spreading across the world, and that it had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people and cause even more to get very ill. It was an uncertain time and all we could do was prepare for a public health crisis and an economic meltdown. As States and communities began to shut down, I quickly understood that the City of Rowlett had to be prepared to step up and get in front of an economic crisis that could take out our small businesses in Rowlett. I got together a number of individuals who I could work with on coming up with a small business stimulus grant program. These individuals were Councilmember Laning, President/CEO of the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce Michael Gallops, Rowlett Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Balderas, and Rowlett Neighborhood Life Coordinator Elise Bowers. We all put our heads together day-after-day for almost two weeks to get a formal proposal in front of the entire City Council. The Rowlett Business Stimulus (ROBUST) grant was approved and it continues to help our small businesses and non-profit organizations today!

  • Successfully advocated for an increase of public safety personnel over the last several years due to the inadequate number of police officers and firefighters in a growing city of our size. 

For years, our police and fire departments had been neglected of the necessary resources, equipment, and personnel that they needed and deserved given a community of our size and growing. In 2017 and in prior years, the police department was typically only able to staff up to 7 police officers per shift. At that time, we had a population of around 65,000. In the fire department, the last time they had an increase of personnel from 2017 and prior was in 2007, even though the city had grown exponentially from that time. It was clear to me that previous elected officials were not public safety minded and certainly didn’t prioritize public safety as they should have been. After getting on the City Council in late 2017, the City has hired 16 additional police officers and 27 additional firefighters, including equipment purchases. Being able to persuade my colleagues to invest more in public safety due to overwhelming call volumes and increasing response times has helped in being able to ensure the prioritization of public safety for our community. I also appreciate the Police and Fire Chief’s for playing a bigger role in convincing the other City Councilmember’s to allocate additional resources into their departments. 

  • Successfully advocated and approved property tax rate decreases of up to 4.2 cents (around $1.4 million) over a four year period, including a 1.2 cent decrease for Fiscal Year 2021.

  • Successfully advocated and approved a .10% decrease of the water and sewer rates in Fiscal Year 2021 and 2022.

  • Established the Rowlett Youth Advisory Council to increase involvement in local government by Rowlett’s youth. 

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Thank you for your contribution! – Blake

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