Why Scot Bowman?
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Mansfield Matters holds a Candidate Forum each year. The following is the questionnaire sent from the group to introduce candidates to the community. You can see my official/original submission to Mansfield Matters here, or read my answers in their entirety below.
Name and position seeking:
Scot Bowman for Mansfield City Council Place 2
Tell us a little bit about yourself (current occupation, educational background, etc.)
My wife Kasey and I recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary and we have five beautiful children. I currently work as an Information Technology Manager for Application Development. My nearly 30 years of IT experience started with my father selling custom-built computers from our family home. My current job consists of many IT functions including project management, application development, deployment, and maintenance. I received my Associate of Arts degree from Tarrant County College and continue my IT education regularly through seminars, conferences, and self-paced learning. I like to spend my free time with my family doing DIY home improvement projects or exploring on the Walnut Creek Linear Trail. We are members of Stonegate Church where serve in various capacities.
How long have you lived in Mansfield?
I am a proud resident of Mansfield for over 15 years. My wife and I originally moved to Mansfield in 2001 with our six-week-old baby. We moved away for a couple of years but could not wait to get back! We have been in our current home since 2010 and have committed to living in Mansfield. I also spent most of my high school days in Mansfield. Mansfield sure has changed through the years, and it is most definitely my home.
What is your work experience and how will that help in your work with city council?
I can summarize my work experience as “Providing solutions that meet expectations.” Understanding peoples’ needs and setting expectations are critical for the success of any project. My work experience has taught me the importance of communication, trust, transparency, and planning. I lead a team of developers, manage contracts/consultants, and ultimately provide support for our users. I have also learned that I am not an expert in all areas. I have learned to be humble and admit my lack of experience in some areas. To grow from this I ask questions, internalize to comprehend, and reflect my understanding in my own words. Also, my nearly 30 years in the IT field demonstrates my dedication and commitment.
Describe the extent of your community involvement and how that experience relates to your campaign or qualifications for public office.
For the past few years, I have faithfully served the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation (Parks Board) as a board member. This experience has helped me understand the operations of the city, the budgeting process, and how to get things done. This experience has also taught me the procedures that boards operate like the Texas Open Meetings Act and the ethics involved in holding a board position. I am a member of the 10-Year Park Master Plan Advisory Committee and served as the chair for the “Parks & Facilities Sub-Committee”.
Additionally, I serve at my church and as a driver for Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County.
What qualifications or experience do you possess that voters should consider?
I am a team player and desire to serve. My IT experience provides a perspective the council does not currently have. I have no personal agenda and do not have a conflict of interest. I look at big picture tasks rather than single-issue items. I have a track record of making good business decisions based on data, minimizing risk, and opportunity or reward. Being a father of five, I have a family perspective and desire for Mansfield to continue being a great place to raise a family.
I also was a member of Leadership Mansfield Class 9 (the best class) and learned the importance of working with other organizations within the city to help us all be successful. Each month of the year long class focused on a specific topic such as education, healthcare, industry/commerce, and overall leadership qualities.
Describe your most notable strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.
My peers would say my strengths as a candidate include big picture vision, able to deliver on tasks, goal-focused, team player, able to work with different personalities, and desire to serve. My family would describe me as trustworthy, committed, a good listener, and genuine. All these qualities would be the strengths I bring as a candidate.
My weakness is I have never campaigned or held any elected public office before. I am not a politician. I am just a regular resident who cares about the city and wants to make a difference. I am not in this to have a political career I just want to help build the best Mansfield we can for my family and yours.
Have you ever run for or served in an elected office before? If so, please list campaigns and offices held:
I have never sought an elected position before.
Why are you seeking a seat on the city council?
I love my city and want to continue my service at the next level. I want to see Mansfield continue to move in a positive direction. I am not running for City Council because I see anything wrong with our city. I am running because I see so many things RIGHT with it. I am proud to live in Mansfield and proud to be a part of many different organizations and groups throughout the city. Through each of these ventures, I have been able to meet dedicated people working tirelessly to help this city grow, flourish, and continue to become a constantly better version of itself. I have been proud to be a part of that and am excited at the chance to be a part of that same effort on a larger scale. I am excited to help shape Mansfield as we approach “build-out” in 15-20 years. I hope to make Mansfield a place my kids can grow and raise their families too.
What do you hope to accomplish while serving on the Council?
My goals include listening to the residents of Mansfield and serving their needs. Some themes that stand out are:
Managing Growth - Expanding the tax base with new commercial/retail businesses and the required infrastructure to support it. Prioritizing road projects to reduce traffic frustrations. Citywide planning through a new Master Plan (last updated 2012).
Tax Relief for Residence - Extend the new homestead exemption to provide long term residence with greater tax relief. Optimizing the dollars, we spend and diversifying our tax base will also provide more relief through potential additional tax rate reduction. Providing tax relief is going to be a combination of many small steps, not a single-issue item.
Complete Joint Fire/Police Training Facility – I support Mansfield’s Police, Fire, and the Public Safety department. Completion of the future HQ and training facility will help optimize their processes to keep Mansfield safe. In 2019 Mansfield was ranked #2 and #6 in two different rankings for "Safest City." Our MPD and MFD are credited for these amazing rankings.
Leadership Transition - Our community is currently having a mayor and three additional council seats up for election. In May of 2021, we will be voting on the remaining three council seats. earlier this summer we transitioned from a 36-year City Manager. The potential for a lot of change in a short amount of time is a challenge. Working together as a team is a goal of mine during this transition.
In the past year, how many city council meetings have you attended?
With few known exceptions, I have attended most city council meeting in the last 12+ months in person, via zoom, or streamed using the Granicus website (link on city website). Of the regularly scheduled meetings, scheduled special meetings, and early morning budget approval meetings I would estimate I attend in person or watch an excess of 90% of council meetings. I have also attended several work sessions and council subcommittee meetings like the “Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax Funds Policy and Allocation Sub-Committee” and “Revitalization of Historic Downtown Mansfield Sub-Committee.”
I have a perfect attendance record of all regularly scheduled meetings as a board member of the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation (Parks Board) and the 10-year Park Master Plan advisory committee.
Other city meetings I have attended in-person or via zoom the last 12 months include the Historic Preservation Advisory Board, Mansfield Economic Development Corporation, and Planning and Zoning Commission.
Council meetings start as early as 3pm and on average last 6 hours (twice a month). In addition to meetings, city council members have additional opportunities to serve on subcommittees and for interaction in the community. What is your understanding of these requirements and does your work schedule allow you to attend these additional requirements/opportunities?
I have a clear understanding of the commitment needed to be an effective council member. I am excited to serve in the required capacity and have a work schedule that supports this commitment. My employer encourages giving back to the community through service. My flexible work schedule will be a benefit serving as a council member.
What do you consider your primary responsibility as a city council member?
Primary responsibilities of a council member are outlined in the city charter. These include:
Approve a balanced budget along with approving a tax rate to support the budget. Many months are spent ensuring the budget is reviewed and acceptable and all line items are reviewed and examined for improvements.
Interviewing and selecting the City Manager position as well as monitoring of job performance and replacement as determined by a council vote.
Review and vote on land use zoning variances and permits.
Perform the legislative functions of the city by approving ordinances and setting policy
In addition to the responsibilities above, I personally see a council member is responsible for:
Be a champion for the city. Obviously, we are cheering for the home team. We need to ensure the city is going in the right direction for the city, not for a few individuals to gain. All decisions should be made in the best interest of all the residents, the businesses, and the city.
Be present and listen to residents. Gather feedback to understand the issues and challenges that the people of Mansfield struggle with. Be approachable and accessible.
What do you believe are the top three issues facing the City of Mansfield as a whole, and how do you intend to address those issues?
1. Continued tax relief to our residents and business owners – Continue the progress made by the current council and staff to reduce the tax burden on property owners and local businesses. This will be obtained through a multi-step approach including:
Reviewing operating expenses to find ways to reduce costs.
Attract strategic businesses that contribute to the overall tax base.
Strategic and managed growth – We are less than 20 years away from what they estimate to be our final build out for the city. That means in 20 years we will be at capacity for population, housing, businesses, and growth. This is an incredible opportunity we are faced with right now, making the decisions that will guide the future of our city not just for the next 20 years but for history.
Maintaining our existing and aging infrastructure. – As Mansfield grows our current infrastructure will age and need repairs. Providing roads, water, waste management, and other fundamental services will need to be addressed. I propose a comprehensive city-wide plan will inventory these items and expected end of life to plan and budget maintenance.
What do you think should be the top priorities of the city after this election?
As always, the top priority of the city is the citizens, business, and employees of the city. We work together to make our community the incredible place it is today. Continuing the good work in the areas of property tax relief and supporting our public safety departments are paramount. Creating a comprehensive master plan will allow the city to be strategic in land use decisions and ensuring the infrastructure is available to handle the managed growth.
What community service efforts have you participated in the past?
Most of the community service activities I participate in are church-related. My family also feels led to provide community service through our own ventures such as collecting and redistributing used eyeglasses to those in need. I also help support community organizations financially like the Mansfield Mission Center, The LOT, and others. I have also participated in MISD community events.
What was something you think the city could have done to assist the citizens during COVID? How would you have implemented this?
Overall, I feel the city has an appropriate response to COVID-19. I feel it was a tough situation with the fluidity of changing directives at the state and county levels. I saw many city staff and council representatives encourage people to support local businesses and to follow the guidelines at the time. I appreciate the city taking the situation seriously and providing information as it became available. The city website was a great tool to help communicate the changing information to a large audience.
What positive changes within the infrastructure of our city might be made to retain and/or attract quality businesses and development? What efforts need to be made to attract new citizens?
I would like to see more portions of the linear trail constructed. These segments would aid in connecting the existing parks and linear trail. Connected parks result in connected people. Providing urban cores retail stores near residents will help attract quality businesses to serve those people.
Would you agree to disclose and discuss all campaign contributions you and your campaign have received; the amount, their source, and whether or not the donor has ever brought something before the Council requiring a vote? Do you feel that there may be a conflict of interest between donations and those that seek approval from the city for various projects?
I am completely transparent with the contributions to my campaign. My intent is to follow the guidelines provided by the Texas Ethics Commission and my campaign reports have been complete and filed on time. They are on file with the City Secretary’s office and available on the city’s website. Those who have donated to my campaign are personal friends and family. I have not received any donation from a potential conflict of interest.
What is your position regarding the future approval of multi-family housing projects within our city? Do you know how many multi-family units currently exist? Do you know how many are currently approved and pending construction? Do you feel that the amount currently in existence and pending construction is not enough, adequate, or too much?
Mansfield has ample existing zoning in place currently to satisfy the need for multi-family residential. The occupancy rate YTD has varied between 92%-95% occupied for the 4,100-4,500 existing active units (units varied for age restrictions, etc.). Current zoning and active construction comprise a maximum ceiling of approximately 7,000 additional future units (~11,500 total maximum ceiling potential). The likelihood of this maximum ceiling being reached is very slim, but it shows the available potential. Based on this information, a new zoning change for multi-family at a specific piece of property would not likely be the highest and best use for that location knowing there is potential zoning in place. Please understand, the exact numbers are fluid. I am using rounded estimates to illustrate the order of magnitude rather than precision for a specific calendar day. The community finds value in mixed-use projects when a small number of apartments are complimented by owner-occupied townhouses, high-quality single-family homes of various sizes, near walkable retail. At build-out, 15-20 years from now, multi-family should make up 15-20% of the available dwellings.
With the significant retail / commercial growth in the eastern portion of our city what are your thoughts on spreading this growth out to other less densely developed parts of Mansfield and how would you work to achieve this?
Many high-quality single-family developments and zoning changes have already been approved by the existing council and will show growth on the west side of town. As the residents come, the commercial/retail will follow. M3 Ranch, Silver Oak, Birdsong, and Lone Star Heights to name a few. The city is divided into four “planning quadrants.” The largest quadrant is in the northeast; east of 287, north of Walnut Creek (the actual ‘creek’, not ‘drive’). The southwest quadrant has the most potential for growth. This location for potential growth is a great way to spread the growth to less dense portions of town.
How can you and/or the City Council pro-actively affect the development within our city?
Staff and Council need to work together with an advisory board to create/update a comprehensive city master plan (Land Use Plan was last updated 2012) to help guide the city forward. This plan would help guide zoning/permit decisions and be a communication tool to clearly identify the direction of the city.
What solutions do you have to deal with the growing traffic issues within Mansfield?
Traffic concerns stem from varied root cause events like road construction, population density, and special events/holidays. A way to mitigate the issues is to stagger the construction schedule of major roadways to ensure an alternate route is an optional detour. Also, intentionally optimizing roadway projects nears schools during off-peak times. For higher dense areas, planning of proper road infrastructure will provide relief of inevitable traffic issues “down the road.”
Mansfield has a history of funding certain projects through public / private funding without voting by the citizens, for example: Big League Dreams, The Fieldhouse, and the Stars Center. What is your position on this form of funding? Would you support continued funding of similar projects in the same manner? Would you consider or propose another method of funding future projects and if so, how?
I would consider future public private-partnerships only if they clearly demonstrate a benefit to the City of Mansfield and a similar 100% city-funded/operated project was not viable. Public/private partnerships are great ways to bring businesses and amenities to the city quickly and affordably, but as we have seen, come with much confusion. I would propose future large public/private partnerships potentially be brought to vote by the residents.
Is the City of Mansfield lacking in some type of service or facility that could / would be utilized by our citizens and community?
From a facilities standpoint, a large gathering space or conference center would fit very well with the direction Mansfield is heading. A high-quality facility for vendor conferences, hosting proms, and similar large gatherings. Also, a new improved activities center with aquatics and more room for our residents would be perfect.
Services for our residents would include optimized use of online forms, electronic notifications (Push/SMS), and even a city mobile application providing easier access to exiting online forms and services. Also expanding the class offerings from the MAC or ‘on-demand’ learners to include city-specific topics like “How my water bill is calculated?”, “Mansfield History 101”, or “What’s in the CIP plan?”. Doing community engagements to help educate residents on city activities helps us all be successful.
Internally, the city could benefit from an Asset Management System. This software system would support the city to make decisions to achieve long term goals. This tool tracks maintenance and expected “end of life” that will aid in budget discussions as well as communicate to the public what priorities are receiving attention.