Rowlett Mayor says he has kept promises, asks to be re-elected

By J.J. Smith. When first-term City of Rowlett Mayor John Harper initially ran for the part-time position in 2007, he promised no more unnecessary taxes, smaller government, no city borrowing without voter approval and to bring City spending under control.

He was overwhelmingly elected.

Now he says he has kept his promises and is asking voters to re-elect him by voting for him during either the early voting period starting next week or on Election Day, May 8.

His opponent is Rowlett City Council member Cindy Rushing.

“I have used my many years of financial expertise to lead a dramatic improvement of the financial position of the City during my first term,” said Mayor Harper, who administers multimillion dollar budgets as the Consulting Chief Financial Officer for The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, and a member of the Executive Coordinating Committee for The Cooper Aerobics Center.

He is also a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a retired Certified Public Accountant (CPA), with 26 years of executive-level experience in the field of higher education in fund-raising, strategic planning, labor relations, facilities planning and information systems.

From 1999-2007, Dr. Harper served as Vice President for Business and Administration and was a tenured Professor at Texas A&M University at Commerce.  His EdD Doctorate Degree is in higher education and Master’s Degree in Finance.

Previously he taught and was either a Vice Chancellor or Executive Vice President at several other schools, including Texas Wesleyan University, Houston Community College and North Carolina State University.

He credits his financial and management background for increasing the City’s bond rating from A to AA, plus preventing tax increases.

“Fund balances and reserves have grown to proper levels under my leadership. The City’s debt has decreased during my first term. The City’s bond rating has increased. There have been no tax increases since I became Mayor.”

“I will not support any tax increase or any discretionary fee increases until I am certain that waste and cronyism in the City has been eliminated. Borrowing money is done only with the approval of voters, and this is guaranteed now in our city charter.”

The 20-year U.S. Air Force officer says he believes his leadership has helped bring about genuine transparency and accountability.

“Civic pride, mutual trust and respect between citizens and city staffers, and a much-improved image among commercial developers have been achieved in just a remarkably short period of time,” he explained.

“Citizen input is now guaranteed in our city charter, which allows more transparency with our city government. I initiated unedited, live broadcasts of City Council meetings now available on the web.”

“To help keep citizens more aware of what’s happening in our city, I instituted the City-produced tv news show “Rowlett…on the Lake…on the Move!”. This gives our City Manager, Lynda Humble, a venue to provide the latest information about projects and events of interest to Rowlett citizens, neighbors and friends.”

He said he has focused on economic development of Rowlett, citing the need to increase the commercial tax base for the City of Rowlett, so that better services and greater amenities can be provided to Rowlett residents.

“Despite the economic downturn in the last two years, Rowlett attracted new and expanded businesses and almost 1,000 new jobs, he said. I expect extraordinary growth soon after the completion of the Bush Turnpike and the DART rail projects, bringing more businesses and more jobs to Rowlett – a regional center. I promise to bring only the best economic development to our city.”

He added that he will continue working with citizens to keep neighborhood revitalization a top priority.

“Our ordinance department is now talking with and working with citizens, not just issuing citations,” he said. He cited the City Newsletter Blog as an example.

If re-elected, he said he promises to keep “Rowlett on the Move!” by continuing to encourage and support well-maintained and well-planned expansions of City parks, sports fields, bike and hiking trails.

For more information about Mayor Harper, visit his website at www.johnharper-rowlett.com.

Early voting in Rowlett runs weekdays from April 26 – May 4 at the Rowlett Public Library, 3900 Main St.

On Election Day, May 8, polls will be open between 7 am-7 pm. For voting locations and more info, visit the City of Rowlett website.

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