Dallas Morning News Endorses Maher Maso

Following up on the endorsement of the Collin County Association of Realtors, the Dallas Morning News endorses Mayor Maher Maso.

The mayor of the past three years, Maher Maso, has been part of that leadership for more than a decade. He has earned a second term in the mayor’s office and is the better choice over challenger  … Maso, whose family operates a variety of retail outlets, is a fiscal conservative who has tightened the city’s financial belt … Maso has put in years of service in the community — on the council and in civic and school groups … His seasoning gives him a better grounding in city affairs.”

It is important to note that the only two organizations that carried out extensive interviews with both candidates endorsed the Mayor.

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Concerns about Cancer and Exide

As I have written about previously, I am focused on making Frisco the cleanest city in the Country.  Recently, I directly received good news from Luminant about the decommissioning of the old TXU plant on the west side of Preston.  This took many years of work and I have been interacting with their executives for some time.

The citizens of Frisco have made it clear they expect a safe environment for our families and I have left no stone unturned as I represent our Council and you, our residents, on this issue.  In my numerous local and state meetings with the Texas commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our State and Federal Legislatures and Exide, I have made it clear that having a clean, safe environment in our city is non-negotiable and that our citizens will get the answers they need to be informed and that their concerns are addressed.

This has not been an easy road and while others are playing politics with it, the only solution is to remain focused on the job at hand. When you are dealing with a well-funded industry with powerful lobbyists, it takes experience to carefully marshal all your resources to protect the city.  Our citizens also must help by being engaged, attending the public meetings to make their opinion known and to support our elected officials in their quest to clean up Frisco.

One of the things that our citizens have shared with me is the concern about a potential link to Exide and Cancer.  As a cancer survivor, I take this very seriously. I have lost many good friends to cancer and know of many others that are battling this horrible disease today.  I invest a lot of my time with Relay for Life and attending fund raisers for the families that are facing the challenges of this terrible disease but will also work with regulatory agencies on this issue.

When questions arose about this potential link, I immediately contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC forwarded me to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the agency that has jurisdiction over this potential issue.  I sent a letter to DSHS and started a dialog with Dr. Eric Miller with the Texas Cancer Registry and who is the Manager of Epidemiology with the Cancer Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch of the DSHS.

I invited Dr. Miller to Frisco where I personally met with him and also a concerned parent of a child with a rare form of cancer.  The full report and time/letters are below.  I will continue to interact with the state and federal officials on this issue until I am satisfied that we have all the answers regarding this issue.

To review PDF of the letter sent to Dr. Lakey of the DSHS on – 11/17/2010

To Review PDF of the reply sent to Mayor Maso from Dr. Zoretic DSHS Regional Director, please click here – 11/19/2011

To review PDF of the cover letter sent to Mayor Maher Maso, please click here – 4/5/2011

To review the Frisco Texas Cancer Report Word document, please click here. – 4/5/2011

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Collin County’s Association of Realtors Endorse Maher Maso

PRESS RELEASE – April 2, 2011

The Maher Maso Campaign today announced the endorsement of the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) in the race for Frisco Mayor.


“We carefully evaluated both candidates and we believe Maher Maso has proven himself in leading Frisco,” said Judy Patane, Chair, CCAR’s Government Affairs Committee. “Maher has the right background and experience needed to carefully plan for our growth and expansion.”

“I am proud and deeply honored to have the support of such a great organization,” Maso said. “I support and commend their goals of protecting the real estate market, supporting low taxes and keeping home ownership affordable.”

Maher Maso moved to Frisco in 1992 with his wife, Val and 3 children. Since that time, Maher quickly established himself as a community leader through his tireless work in the civic and non-profit communities. Maher served on the Frisco City Council for seven years, and was appointed by his colleagues a record five times as Mayor Pro Tem. Maher was overwhelmingly elected as Mayor in 2008 with 77% of the vote.

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Let’s Talk Jobs

Let’s Talk Jobs & Economic Development

In the first of this series, I focused on our tax rate and demonstrated exactly how Frisco has worked to maintain one of the lowest tax rates in North Texas. Efforts to keep taxes low must not rely solely on property tax revenue. Thus, revenue generated through tourism, sales tax, and job creation becomes paramount.

Let’s take a closer look at job creation as it relates to our city during my term as mayor.  Creating jobs is, and will continue to be, a top priority. I am tireless in my pursuit of companies that will enhance our already strong business base, and provide opportunities for our citizens. To this end, I have worked with countless CEOs and corporate leaders to facilitate their decision to locate to Frisco.  Whether leveraging my personal contacts with the CEO and executives of Costco, or sitting down with the relocation experts of many of the companies that have since made Frisco their home, I take a hands-on approach to economic development. I am on the front lines, educating company decision makers and their employees about the many benefits they and their families will realize when locating to Frisco.  In addition, I have been involved with our Economic Development Corporation and staff in the development of a new comprehensive economic strategy, and have begun implementing many of the new concepts identified in the plan.

  • Let’s take a look at economic development in Frisco during my term as mayor: In 2010, facilitated or executed performance agreements with 33 projects which will construct or occupy over 1.4 million square feet of potential new space and generate potential new capital investment in excess of $264 million, and create 3,465 new direct jobs in the city of Frisco.
  • Increased from 10 business agreements in 2008, to 20 in 2009 and 33 in 2010 for a total of 63 agreements, totaling approximately 2,745,589 square feet, a capital investment in Frisco of $484million and 5,270 jobs.
  • In fiscal year 2011, we are now up to 7 projects, with 226,300 square feet and $40.3 million in capital investment, with the potential of 812 new direct jobs.
  • New companies include Genband HQ with over 200 direct jobs created and future jobs of approx. 515.  New Costco, Astadia, and many more.

In residential/other development, our accomplishments include:

  • Mixed use development around the mall including Cool Springs and Post Properties, as well as the expansion of Hall Office Park and Duke Office Park.
  • Newman Village was approved and is under construction – a quality mixed use, master planned community.
  • Retail development expansion at Dallas North Tollway and Eldorado, including Market Street, Super Target and several restaurants.
  • Super Kroger, the newest and largest concept in the DFW area.
  • New, high-end, hospital approved and broke ground at Dallas North Tollway & Main.
  • The just approved Phillip’s Creek Ranch development of approximately 3,700 homes, open space, parks and schools.

New Companies in Frisco include:

  • Ameriflex, LLC (Headquarters)
  • Oracle USA relocation to Frisco
  • Sheplers, Inc.( Headquarters)
  • Genband US (Headquarters)
  • Quest Recycling (Expansion)
  • Catalyst Health Solution (Expansion)
  • Super Walmart
  • Cinemark
  • Costco
  • Wingate Hotel

Through these many successes, it is evident that economic development and job creation has been top priority, and we have no intentions of slowing down. In addition, keeping these companies in Frisco is also key, that is why I meet quarterly with local CEOs during our “Strictly Frisco” event, and support the other numerous initiatives of the city’s business retention program. Another part of  this success, includes the North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC), a business incubator program which has aided in the sustainability of several new companies now open for business in Frisco, including  MDConnection, ErgoNurse, OxySure and EmFinders.  Visit our web site, www.friscoedc.com to see even more companies on the way!

Looking forward, there are many more exciting prospects on the horizon for the city. Economic development is strong in Frisco, and we have more proposals out, and more corporate interest than at any time in the city’s history. I am very proud of the team effort of the mayor’s office, city manager’s office and the Economic Development Corporation – it is a WINNING TEAM for our city.

Look for my next installment in this series, Let’s Talk Public Safety.

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Let’s Talk Taxes

Taxes are always a key issue in any election. Candidates seeking election for the first time will promise to bring true conservatism to the city, and vow never to raise property taxes and, in fact, lower them.  At the same time, pledges are made to build more roads, improve the quality of life and, make the city safer. The question to ask is how do they plan to do that?  Keeping taxes low is top priority for me and I am proud of my record of Frisco having one of the lowest tax rates in the region.  Having the lowest tax rate did not happen over-night and took many years of careful planning to build a financially sustainable city.

Let’s take a hard look at taxes in Frisco:

1)      In September of 2010, a tax rate analysis was conducted for all cities with a population over 5,000 in a 4-county area surrounding Frisco, including Collin, Denton, Dallas and Tarrant counties.  Of the 68 cities analyzed, there are only 9 with a lower tax rate than Frisco.  However, Frisco has the LOWEST tax rate of cities with a population over 100,000, and the LOWEST tax rate of all cities with an ISO1 rated Fire Department, which decreases homeowner’s insurance rates, and saves money. (Please note, Plano has a 20% homestead exemption and Frisco has a $50,000 senior exemption, which are not taken into account).

2)      The 4-county average tax rate is 60.1681 cents per $100 valuation, and Frisco is 46.5 cents per $100 valuation.  That is a difference of 13.6681 cents per $100 valuation. This means the average home in Frisco, which is valued at $286,599, saves $391.73 per year over the average tax rate in the 4-county area, while still receiving THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SERVICES.

3)      The 3-years before I was elected mayor, the average annual growth in our budget was 20.2%.  Understandable, considering that our population growth at that time was roughly 23.2%.   However, due to the tough economic times facing many of us, I promised during my campaign to help scrub the budget.  And though we were still the country’s fastest growing city, with a population growth of 21.4% (21,190 people) during my term of three years, we succeeded in limiting budget growth to an average of 2.5%. A reduction of approximately 18%! Please think about this carefully­­­­–our population grew almost the size of the entire population of Little Elm, with only a 2.5% growth in our budget!  This was accomplished with a hiring freeze, working with all city departments to reduce budgets, halting bond sales, freezing equipment purchases, having employees do more with less, utilizing great community volunteers, and a focused effort by our city manager’s office. An already lean city became even leaner, without sacrificing the excellent level of service, including public safety, roads, parks and services.

4)      Our tax rate, in a large part, is voted on by our citizens during bond elections. The estimated tax rate is published during bond elections and our citizens decide what they can afford at the ballot box.  While we have always estimated the tax rate when our voters approved bonds, we have never reached the estimated tax rate – we are always lower.  88% of the total bonds sold have been for public safety, roads & parks.  My opponent has said we have much debt – what will we stop adding in the fastest growing city in the country? Public Safety? Maybe – he has already told the Dallas Morning News that he would not sell the voter-approved bonds for fire station #7.

I am proud Frisco has one of the lowest tax rates in North Texas, and an unparalleled quality of life.  My approach is fiscally responsible–investing in initiatives that will keep Frisco safe and strong. As such, our bond rating is excellent, new companies are locating here with great frequency, and tourism is solid – all of which keep taxes low!  Meanwhile, I am proud that our voters approve which projects to build and at what cost.  That is democracy at work along with long-term vision and planning.  Join me as we continue to grow Frisco in a smart and fiscally responsible manner!

Property Tax Rates are a byproduct of hard work, jobs, other revenues and watching the bottom line. To the end, watch for the next series about a subject that impacts our taxes..  Let’s talk Economic Development and Jobs!

 

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Mayor Maher Maso Selects Del Harris as Re-Election Campaign Treasurer

Frisco Mayor Maher Maso announced that Del Harris has signed on to be campaign treasurer in his upcoming bid for re-election as mayor of Frisco.  Harris, currently GM of the Texas Legends basketball team and color commentator for the Dallas Mavericks on the Fox Sports  Spanish network, has had a distinguished coaching career, including serving as head coach for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks,  and Los Angeles Lakers, before coming to the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach and consultant. He is an active member of the Frisco community and works frequently with many local charitable organizations, including the Del and Ann Harris Foundation, which Harris started with his wife to promote Christian principles.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have Del as my campaign treasurer,” said Mayor Maso. “I have the utmost respect for what Del has accomplished in his career, but even more respect for him as an individual. He is a good man, husband, father and friend and truly cares about Frisco. He always makes himself available to help out in the community and shares the conservative values and pro-business attitude that has made our city second to none. He is a valuable asset to my campaign and to the city of Frisco.”

“I was not simply pleased when asked to serve as Mayor Maso’s treasurer, I was honored,” said Harris. “He has no other agenda than to serve the city of Frisco. He has a proven record of success and is a tireless, aggressive and forward-thinking leader. Being mayor of the fastest growing city in America is not a job for a rookie. We must continue with a proven winner. I am proud to serve and support Maher Maso in his bid for re-election as the mayor of Frisco.”

The city election will be held on May 14, 2011.

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