Job descriptionThe Council is the city’s governing body. Term is two years.
DutiesEnacts city laws and ordinances
Determines city policies
Adopts city budget
Appoints city manager to administer city government
Annual salary$25 per Council meeting attended; reimbursed for official city expenses.
MeetingsCouncil meetings twice monthly; special meetings called as needed.
City contact informationContact City Secretary
https://haltomcitytx.wufoo.com/forms/m7x1q9/ (website form)
817-222-7749

Who’s Running?

Nicholas DoniasWebsite: https://doniasforhaltomcity.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoniasHC
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/doniashc/
Email: doniashc@gmail.com
Marian Hilliard (incumbent)Email: hilliard.marian@gmail.com

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Nicholas Donias
Experience, vision, aKelly Jonesnd leadership. Related to experience, I have worked across all levels of government--from advising local municipalities on financing infrastructure projects, to working in the federal government drafting policy in the National Economic Council. This experience has taught me the inner workings of government and how to get things done. Additionally, I have a Masters in Public Policy from Columbia University in addition to my Bachelors from Brown University.
Second, I have a vision for the city that is informed by the voters. For the past two months, I have been going door to door, listening to concerns of the community. This has helped me develop a vision and goals for the city, which include 1) focusing on community focused development: such as parks, activities for youth, businesses that allow residents to stay in Haltom City (grocery store, entertainment district, etc.); 2) bringing and keeping business in Haltom City; 3) improving city infrastructure; and 4) building the relationship between the school district and the city.
Lastly, I have been an effective leader my entire life. From the time I conducted my high school band as drum major, to my career where I've worked as a project manager leading teams on complex projects; city council members need leaders that know how to champion projects, ask the right questions, and push forward with a plan. I would bring much needed leadership to city council to be a champion for the community.
Marian Hilliard
2. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT NEEDS OF YOUR DISTRICT/AREA AND WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR ADDRESSING THEM?
Nicholas Donias
When talking to residents, priorities that I hear for our city include: 1) a grocery store within Haltom City, 2) bringing restaurants and other similar businesses to Haltom City, 3) developing more common space and activities for our youth, and 4) fixing our roads. All of these align with my priorities if I'm elected as a City Council member.
The best way to address many of these issues is to incorporate these priorities into the budget process and to find all available outside sources of funding that can support these projects. These sources of funding can include matching grants from the state and funding from the county. By seeking sources of funds from outside the city, we can magnify the impact of our local tax payer dollars, instead of solely relying on them.
With respect to incentivizing a grocery store and businesses to do business with Haltom City, the second set of tools city council can use is zoning, ordinances, and incentives. Having worked on and reviewed multiple public-private-partnership contracts, I understand the right balance when negotiating with a business. I believe the city should lay a marker down and keep the residents informed about the progress of bringing the businesses that residents need.
Marian Hilliard
3. THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE CITY’S BUDGET AND SERVICES, AS WELL AS THE LIVES OF RESIDENTS. HOW WOULD YOU GRADE YOUR CITY’S RESPONSE AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Nicholas Donias
From my perspective, I would give Haltom City an "A" during the first year of the pandemic. Unlike cities that depend on sales tax for a large portion of revenue, Haltom City has a strong industrial property tax base (including warehouses and distribution centers) that continued to generate revenue for the city. Additionally the city was able to keep up with services and keep many doors open with safety protocols in place.
One thing I would have done differently would have been to seek more opportunities to refinance bonds and execute on targeted projects in typically high traffic areas. Due to the low interest rate environment enacted by the federal reserve, the city could have taken advantage of refinancing outstanding debt to save on debt service costs. Secondly, many projects can be hard to execute due to having to close roads in high traffic areas. I would have looked into timing of projects and see if there was room to shift around projects that would typically be in high traffic areas.
Marian Hilliard
4. HOW SHOULD THE CITY ADDRESS THE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING? WHAT ROLE SHOULD CITY GOVERNMENT PLAY IN RESPONDING TO PANDEMIC-RELATED EVICTIONS?
Nicholas Donias
Evictions have a detrimental impact both on families and the local economy. Especially during the pandemic, since any income lost due to the pandemic is a temporary loss. It is worse to make a shared temporary problem into a long term struggle for any family. I fully support not allowing evictions during the pandemic and finding ways to ensure landlords have their safety net as well. I believe all parties need to work together--banks, tenants, landlords, federal and local governments--to help weather this temporary issue. Overall related to affordable housing, the city can look to examples in other cities, such as New York City, to make sure new housing developments have a balance of affordable housing. Mixed-income housing developments work because it helps to lessen the divide between resources only available to certain zip codes or areas. In a mixed-income community, people from a range of socio-economic statuses can enjoy the same schools and other public services.
Marian Hilliard
5. HOW TO BEST ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY IS AN IMPORTANT TOPIC. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BALANCING THE FUNDING AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF BOTH POLICE AND COMMUNITY SERVICES?
Nicholas Donias
Haltom City is quickly growing and our public safety officers currently do not have the staff or resources to do their job effectively. Compared to our peer cities, we have fewer public safety officer per capita and we have one of the oldest law enforcement centers. I'm fully supportive of making public safety a budget priority to help in catch up with our peer cities not only to keep our city safe, yet to also help educate and engage in community outreach.
Marian Hilliard
6. IN THE LAST TERM, WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT VOTE? WHY? HOW DID OR WOULD YOU HAVE VOTED ON THE ISSUE AND WHY?
Nicholas Donias
In this past term I think it was important to vote to approve brining a bond proposal to improve the law enforcement center. Voting for bond issuances and large infrastructure projects can be seen as unpopular. Yet, having spent years working in infrastructure, delaying or postponing needed improvements ends up costing more in the long run. For example, in many cities, it can be unpopular to upgrade water systems since it might lead to a water rate increase. Yet, when cities wait too long in order to artificially keep rates/taxes low, when something breaks, the result to the rate payers is often a very large, sometimes double, rate increase when the alternative could have been to slowly increase rates over time in order to keep up with maintenance. The same thing could be said about municipal building infrastructure such as the law enforcement center. I would have voted yes to bring this proposal to a ballot measure.
Marian Hilliard
7. DO YOU THINK IT IS EVER APPROPRIATE FOR STATE LAWS TO OVERRIDE LOCAL CONTROL OF ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE CITY? IF SO, PLEASE PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE.
Nicholas Donias
I am generally in favor of local control for issues directly related to the city. Nevertheless, I understand the need for leadership and direction for the state and county to provide guidance and standards for cities.
Marian Hilliard
8. THE RECENT “BIG FREEZE” CAUSED MANY RESIDENTS TO GO WITHOUT POWER OR WATER FOR HOURS OR EVEN DAYS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CITY’S RESPONSE? HOW WOULD YOU WORK TO IMPROVE ELECTRIC/GAS/WATER INFRASTRUCTURE SO THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN?
Nicholas Donias
The Texas winter storm was an avoidable tragedy that should have never happened. Unfortunately, many of the power resides with the State of Texas in making decisions on how to winterize our energy and power infrastructure. I give credit to cities who found the ability to open warming shelters, make wellness checks, and deliver food/water to immobile residents. The power the cities has to improve our power and utility infrastructure would be investing in upgrading distribution lines to help against freezing temperatures as well as review code enforcement for shut off protocols to avoid flooding in large apartment complexes. Overall, we shouldn't always be responding to the past disaster, yet keep mindful, aware, and prepared for potential future natural disasters.
Marian Hilliard
9. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Nicholas Donias
Marian Hilliard