Interested parties can view videos of the forum posted by HUBA
HALTOM CITY, TX, May 01, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Haltom United Business Alliance attended the candidate forum for mayoral candidates at Haltom High School on April 26, 2023. All three mayoral candidates, An Minh Truong, Cindy Gifford Sturgeon, and Jeff Barlett attended the forum and answered questions from voters. You can see part 1 and part 2 of the video of the forum here and here.
Attendees were allowed to enter their questions into a computer system, which randomly selected questions for the candidates to answer. Each candidate answered the same question.
“It’s very important that voters hear what each of the candidates has to offer so that they can make an informed decision in the election, especially since early voting has started,” said Haltom United Business Alliance Communications Director Joe Palmer.
Cindy Sturgeon outlined her experience as a business owner and a paralegal and added that her passion for the city in which she has lived over 50 years made her qualified to be mayor and able to empathize with the citizens of Haltom City, as she lives in the central declining area. She said that she would like to have town hall meetings to listen to the citizens, and that they are not being encouraged or allowed to speak at current council meetings. She also advocates putting a process in place to track inquiries with the city from those who want to start a business in Haltom City or relocate one to the city and the outcome of those inquiries.
Jeff Barlett stressed the need to review city ordinances and deregulate and decriminalize the building codes.
Dr. An Truong, the incumbent, talked about his multiple academic accomplishments and leadership for the past two years and the ways those qualify him for the next two years. He has posted many certificates and other awards on his Facebook site, but he has not posted diplomas from his MBA or doctor’s degree.
At the forum, candidates were asked an important question: “What is the most pressing issues facing Haltom City?”
Ms. Sturgeon stated that Haltom City’s commercial corridors did not present well, and these inner corridors have too many vacant buildings.
Ms. Hilliard (who holds a seat on Council and is running for reelection) stated the city was better off than it has ever been. She also noted that Haltom City used to have 5 large grocery stores, but currently only has one. HUBA believes that the city is not doing as well as it once did and that an obvious sign of that fact is the 29% vacancy rate on the main corridor, Denton Highway, created by all the businesses that have left, taking commerce, jobs, products and services from the city.
HUBA notes the important disconnect between current city leaders, who say the city is doing better than it ever has, and residents, who say the decline is obvious.
One of the questions was about reforming codes, to make it easier for businesses to start. Most of the candidates wanted to know more about this but stated that they weren’t hearing from the residents about these issues.
HUBA has raised this issue many times over the last year and a half and even submitted a third-party study a year ago outlining the issues and solutions, but the study was not considered. Clearly, residents are not likely to be aware of these issues, unless they have tried to start a business in Haltom City.
An additional dimension of this problem is the attitude of current city leadership toward members of the business community. Haltom City Council has made it clear that business owners that don’t live in the city are not considered in these discussions. HUBA believes this is a fundamental disconnect, and the root cause of many of the issues between the business community and the city. Business owners understand that they cannot run the city, and they don’t have a vote, but believe their input is important, particularly in the economic development of the city.
Mr. Truong said the city had many programs to help small businesses. HUBA is not aware of any material programs or any specific city plan to bring back the small businesses that have left so many vacant buildings.
Mr. Truong reiterated that the city was doing great and on the right track.
Almost all the questions posed by the audience were about how to bring back more businesses and restore the city’s corridors in South and Central Haltom City.
About Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA)
HUBA represents business interests in Haltom City and advocates for much-needed change, including revision of the outdated and restrictive use matrix that discourages new business and deters growth. HUBA believes that Haltom City should prioritize development of inner-city land and vacant buildings, particularly in the major corridors close to the city’s center, in order to create a stronger tax base and enhance quality of life. All Haltom City business owners are eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. For more information, contact Joe Palmer by phone at (682) 310-0591 or email at [email protected], or visit the group’s Facebook page.
For the original version of this press release, please visit 24-7PressRelease.com here