Dallas, TX
Thursday, May 26, 2022
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*Margaret Lucht
City Council | District 5 | Garland City Council

Question 1 : Why did you decide to run for City Council?

Answer : District 5 requires a leader who will fight for economic development, increased safety measures, and the completion of 2019 Bond Program initiatives. I want to be that voice for our community. I have a passion for service, and I am dedicated to making District 5 a safer, more enjoyable place to live. I attended Williams Elementary, Sam Houston Middle School, and graduated from South Garland High School. I am a homeowner and have lived in District 5 for 37 years. I currently work for a small business in District 5. I also operated a successful small business and understand the challenges business owners in this district face. I served on the Parks and Recreation Board for five years. I advocated for park improvements, connectivity through trails, and renovations of neglected facilities. I also worked with the Parks Department and Bond Committee to develop projects and assess the budget for the 2019 Bond Program. As a Plan Commissioner, I studied Garland Code, zoning ordinances, and the Envision Garland Plan. I know how crucial planning and zoning decisions are to economic development. Through my years of service, I am experienced with participation in city government operations and evaluating budgets.

Question 2 : What do you plan to do address each of the following primary responsibilities for a city:

A. Reducing crime

Answer : City-wide violent crime is down, but District 5 has seen an increase in gun-related incidents and property theft. I hope to increase safety by supporting the neighborhood police officer program and their outreach to residents; supporting neighborhood crime watch groups; expanding the license plate reader and gunshot detector programs; and increasing security at our parks and along trails with lighting and surveillance.
B. Reducing homelessness
Answer : Aiding our invisible population requires targeted assistance programs. Garland has three full-time officers who serve as homeless liaisons and is in the process of hiring two licensed clinical social workers. Implementing the U.S. Targeted Homelessness Assistance plan set forth by The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness will help Garland reduce the homeless population and provide a template for future issues.
C. Keeping the streets cleaned, well lighted, and well repaired
Answer : Completing the 2019 Bond Program projects will address many of the Street Department's needs. $125.22 million is slated for street improvement.
D. Maintaining and increasing parks and museums.
Answer : Again, completing the Bond Program projects is essential to improving the Garland Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts system. With the completion of bond program projects and further development, residents will benefit from updated parks, connected trails, and increased access to underserved areas. Garland has taken great effort to improve our greenspaces and connectivity with Master Plans, funding from the bond program, and innovative revenue grabs by award-winning department staff. With the completion of bond program projects and further development, residents will benefit from updated parks, connected trails, and increased access to underserved areas.
E. Making the city very attractive for businesses to stay, grow, and relocate here.
Answer : Innovative development will make District 5 even more enticing for businesses. Efforts must be made to improve existing industrial stock and renovate run-down areas. The downtown revitalization program will bring many businesses opportunity. We should seek out anchor stores to uplift vacant and failing retail centers. Code involvement is crucial to enforcing ordinances on businesses with improper signage and poor esthetic standards. Proper maintenance of depreciated business centers will make them more attractive to potential tenants, increase demand, and expand the customer base of our existing businesses. Cooperation between neighboring governments will catapult Garland from a bedroom community to the thriving city it can be. Garland could easily partner with surrounding cities to improve infrastructure like fiber networks; create partnerships where services are given and taken when the need arises; save money by purchasing equipment together; and use collaborative marketing to reach more consumers.
F. Making the city very attractive for people to stay and move here.
Answer : Garland has many programs dedicated to promoting neighborhood improvement and revitalization. The Office of Neighborhood Vitality provides community outreach and grant matching. The Where the Heart Is program partners neighborhoods with city staff and other organizations. Build Garland funds new development, redevelopment,and revitalization projects. The Home Improvement Incentive Rebate Program helps offset the cost of improvements to homeowners. The Code Department has lawn care programs for senior citizens and free tree cutting assistance. Community outreach is key to giving residents access to these programs. Revitalization takes time and money,and I think these programs are essential for improving our neighborhoods. Addressing the attractiveness of Garland, and escpecially District 5, is a key platform of mine. I want everyone in the district to benefit from a more esthetic, inviting community.

Question 3 : What else are your priorities?

Answer : Engagement: I will encourage resident involvement and participate in community and neighborhood programs. I will address immediate issues and implement solutions that create lasting results. I will make communication, discussion, and feedback with constituents my top priority. Access: District 5 needs quality restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, and employment opportunities. The District 5 industrial area requires local, regional, and international connectivity. Safety: Reduce gun related incidents and property theft. Bond Program: Garland residents funded a $423 million bond program, and I want to see the 2019 bond projects completed on time and on budget. Creating Policy: I will make policy driven by the advancement of District 5. I want to improve infrastructure and elevate our surroundings.