11 January 2019

I am today announcing my candidacy for re-election as Mayor of the City of Stafford this May. As one of the longest continuously serving mayors in the nation, I’ve led this City on a storied journey of incredible achievements, of which most others cities would dare not dream. Noteworthy in my many decades of long accomplishments has been the involvement of citizens of all races and cultures in the truly American pursuit of working, playing, learning and worshipping together to form a better city.

A primary issue sweeping this City, and the nation, is change. Some would have you believe that involves only what is happening today and planned for tomorrow, while arguing change is more important than competence. I believe you get a far more accurate perspective if you look at the total picture. So lets review Stafford’s incredible record of change, and competence, under my leadership, which encompasses some of the most dramatic changes of any city in America.

We begin with the creation of the Stafford Municipal School District. This break away school district, which was ordered implemented by a federal appeals court after five tumultuous years of litigation—the only one to achieve that distinction out of three hundred in the nation to try— and then its establishment as the only municipal district in Texas. Ironically, many of those clamoring loudest for change came to live here for their children to get the benefits of SMSD.

Additionally gaining wide spread accolades across the state, and nation, was the abolition of the property tax—and maintaining that zero property tax rate for the past twenty four years. Few cities in the country can try to match that, and most don’t even bother to put abolition of the property tax on their radar screens— or in their conversations.

Another quite impressive achievement was the  development of a performing arts theatre, convention centre complex known as the Stafford Centre in the middle of a cow pasture, which skeptics assailed by asserting no one would come. Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, Kevin Costner, the Russian Ballet—and four million guests—have come. Moreover, it has provoked a host of other cities wanting to imitate it by building similar facilities.

Then there is the innovative undertaking of  expanding the US90A major thoroughfare by moving the railroad tracks, which had been in place since 1853—no small challenge—with the installation of two underpasses to significantly enhance mobility, especially when trains are blocking intersections and the rapid movement of emergency vehicles is imperative. Further, it has sparked an impressive commercial renaissance in this beautifully landscaped corridor.

So what’s on the horizon? For those who believe the total perspective is where are we now and where are we heading, we begin with elevating our excellent emergency services provided by our highly acclaimed and award winning police and fire departments. At its last meeting of 2018, City Council approved the building of a new two story police annex and a new fire station/ administration complex, both of which should be completed this year.

Supplement that with the much celebrated Grid, a mixed use, multi-purpose revitalization complex being erected on the former Texas Instruments property. The developer has advertised it—which induced the City to commit $18 million to the endeavor—as a project that will transform Stafford and make the City into a point of destination. It will be difficult to achieve those lofty goals, but we all very much look forward to the improvements and enhancements it will bring.

Then there is the Revitalization of the FM1092 Corridor project moving forward in conjunction with TxDoT which will materially elevate the appearance, mobility and commercialization of this span of highway modeled after Westheimer in Houston. Three most important aspects of this project now in its initial stages: It will go a long way in addressing several components of the City’s recently adopted Comprehensive Plan; the state will fund the large majority of costs with a contribution exceeding $10 million; and the City will be in control.

And want an illustration of true and innovative leadership! Literally within minutes after the United States Supreme Court announced it’s decision last June, to allow for the collection of sales taxes on internet transactions, we were one of, if not indeed the first in the state to begin the process of contacting and working with the State Comptroller to assist in developing and promoting legislation and the rule making process to assure that we, as well as the other cities in Texas, and the state itself, benefit from this potential windfall that will add significantly to the revenues of Stafford and aid in maintaining our zero property tax rate.

Now to get to the core and most basic issue: Run an honest, scandal free, efficient government, for nearly a half century—with detractors aggressively trying to dredge something up to undermine it, and being unable.  What could be more critical? Offering recent confirmation of our credibility, openness and accuracy was the  Transparency Star-Traditional Finances award presented by the Texas State Comptroller to the City last month proclaiming the transparency and clarity of the City’s budget and finances.

If you elect me, my commitment for the next term is that I will continue to provide Stafford with a strong, fiscally responsible, honest government,  involving all races and cultures, implementing ingenious and unique achievements, while letting our citizens, businesses and property owners keep more of their money than any other city—through a continuation of the zero property tax that I initiated.    I ask for your support!

I ask for your support!

Leonard Scarcella, Mayor