Be Named “Texas’s Most Family Friendly City”
Keller is special because of the families and residents who make up our unique City. With over 26 miles of trails and hike, the amenities we provide, and the top-notch education our children receive, Keller is a jewel of Tarrant County.
The vision Armin has for Keller is an ambitious one – to be recognized as “Texas’s Most Family Friendly City.” To do this, it will require a collective effort between our residents, city leaders, Keller ISD, and the business community. We must continue to improve our roads, sidewalks, and infrastructure, improve our parks and trail system, ensure public safety, work collaboratively with school officials, and create an environment that is business friendly. The Keller of tomorrow will strive to remain unique, vibrant, and entrepreneurial.
At Town Hall, we must reject status quo and stop doing business as usual. Establishing an identity as “Texas’s Most Family Friendly City” is not an easy task. Nevertheless, it is an ambitious goal we must set and can accomplish if we summon the will.
Keller must remain a fiscally responsible and taxpayer-friendly city to best serve the needs of residents and businesses. As councilman, Armin heard from neighbors who suggested unique ideas in offering tax relief to Keller taxpayers. Through those conversations, Armin introduced the first ever increase to the Keller Homestead Exemption in over 30 years. Today, Keller recognizes a 12% Homestead Exemption. This means that if you are a homeowner in the city of Keller, the city’s portion of your property tax bill will be at a reduced rate of 88% off your home’s total appraised value.
Armin’s plan calls for the city to max the Homestead Exemption at 20% by the year 2021, which is the maximum allowed by Texas law. In addition, we will lower our tax rate down to the “effective rate” all the while spearheading an effort that will bring additional tax relief for senior citizens through the use of a local option. This local option will provide targeted tax relief to our Keller senior citizens who are often dependent on a retirement or social security checks yet continue to see a rise in property taxes.
Ensuring Public Safety
One of government’s core function is to ensure public safety. To maintain Keller as one of the safest cities in Texas, we must continue to “Back the Blue” and place public safety as a top priority. This means assuring our first responders are well equipped and that they receive the best training possible in all of Texas.
In addition, it makes no sense to invest and train our incoming police officers and firefighters, only to watch them walk next door and take a job at another community. Keller must make sure we are paying our first responders competitively so that our best and finest stay here at home. By prioritizing public safety during budget deliberations, Armin’s plan calls for a pay scale evaluation at the beginning of every fiscal year to make sure we are paying our first responders competitively and in line with our surrounding benchmark cities.
Armin’s vision for Keller includes making it a city where residents can live, work, and play in the same community. We must continue our efforts to revitalize Keller Town Center, Old Town, and the 1709 and 377 corridors. Reducing the dependency on homeowners by generating revenue through our business’s sales tax dollars will always be important.
In addition, online savvy companies like Amazon, Uber, and GrubHub have forever changed the way consumers shop, commute, and dine. Communities that don’t adapt to the change in consumer trends, will fall backwards. We must ensure Keller does not fall backwards. To do this, we must recruit innovative companies in the retail, technology, and dining sectors, who offer an experiential component for consumers. We must establish Keller as a regional hub where creative thinking and creative businesses are welcomed.
Lastly, we must stop the practice of giving out economic incentives without assuring our taxpayers anything in return. Should an economic incentive be considered, it must be a sustainable economic incentive that is directly tied to new revenue and new jobs created.
Addressing Mental Health
Armin recognizes the need for a coordinated strategy to address mental health issues facing community residents. In the last 5 years, Keller PD has responded to almost 200 attempted suicide calls, with nearly two dozen confirmed suicides. One of Armin’s priorities will be to develop and execute a city mental health initiative partnering with schools, health care providers, other community organizations and leaders. Collaboration will be key in removing the stigma around mental health issues, raising awareness, and making sure that more Keller residents and students are getting the mental health care they need.
Armin’s vision includes deploying a mental health-trained EMS officer for every mental health distress emergency call in the city. If a patient is admitted to the hospital, EMS officers conduct follow up appointments to ensure safety plans and preventative measures are in place to improve the health and safety of residents.
Keller will be an example for other cities to follow when it comes to assuring the wellbeing and mental health of its residents.