Mavis Everett with Explore Plano is interviewing Shelby Williams, Plano City Council member for Place 5 about the importance of getting involved in local politics as a business owner.
Shelby says that the most important thing for local business owners to do is to get involved with the political process, both at the local city level and at the taxing entity level. Otherwise, government is something that happens to you. He points out that it is important to develop relationships with your local representatives and be informed about what is going on in the city you work in.
In Plano, local business owners get no protection from property taxes like homeowners do. The school board takes approximately two-thirds of the property taxes and as property values continue to increase, this impacts businesses negatively. Plano has been fortunate to keep property taxes flat (no increase) for the city and they only account for around 19% of your total property tax bill. The county only takes about nine percent. He says that small businesses need to show up and make their voice heard about how property tax increases are impacting their businesses.
Shelby shares that the City of Plano recently repealed the Plano Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and is working toward the Plano United 2050 Plan. The comprehensive plan shapes the planning and zoning for the city for the next 30 years. He says that the foundation should be determined based on the character of the city as it is developed and redeveloped over time and also being able to roll with the punches of change in technology and the economy. As business owners start thinking about what their business looks like in the next 30 years, they need to weigh in with their perspective for this new plan.
Keeping commercial properties updated as an appealing environment for consumers and clients is important. He says that as businesses improve their properties, he would like to see tax abatements for a certain length of time as an incentive, rather than being punished by higher taxes for the property improvement. He said this can be done by making your voice heard at the county level.
To get involved at the city level, Shelby says that Plano City Council Meetings are held twice per month on the second and fourth Mondays with the executive session at 5 pm, followed by the preliminary open meeting, and then the regular session at 7pm. You can sign up to speak about a public interest topic or on specific agenda topics. Agendas are released on the City of Plano website, on Wednesday a week before the meeting. You can see City of Plano Council and P&Z meetings online at www.PlanoTV.org.
Councilmember Shelby Williams can be reached for official City business at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 469-367-1320. You can also follow his Facebook page Shelby for Plano. For anything outside of City business, you can contact Shelby on his cell at 214-995-6969 or at email@example.com.
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