Pilot Point candidates vie for seats
When residents who live within the city limits of Pilot Point go to the polls for the May 1 election, they’ll see six names on the ballot—two for the Place 5 seat and four for the Place 2 seat.
Incumbent Dean Cordell faces challenger Shaun Hopkins for his seat, while appointed incumbent Brian Ingram faces three challengers: Everett Cummings, Steve Keith and Brad Wooley.
Cordell, who grew up in Pilot Point and has lived here as an adult with his family, said he was inspired to run for reelection again because he wants to see the public safety bond projects that were approved by the voters in November 2018 completed while in office.
“I want to see that the police and fire station and our sewer plant get online,” he said. “I thought about not running, but I decided that I wanted to see those projects through.”
He added that he hopes to see business growth to go with the anticipated population bump.
He’s also open to input from residents, he said, with his phone number available on the city website and on Facebook.
Cordell, who served as a volunteer firefighter in high school and who retired from the Denton County Constable Precinct 5 office wants to continue to have a focus on police, fire and EMS services as well as supporting the Public Works Department.
He added that he would like to push for storm sirens as part of an effort to be more and more prepared for natural disasters.
“When the ice came, we didn’t have any 911 communication,” Cordell said. “… That’s a concern that I have. When the fire department was out on the structure fire, we had an emergency. We didn’t have 911 communication.”
He wants to try to prevent that from happening again, if possible.
His opponent, Hopkins, has lived in Pilot Point for 30 years.
She said she wants to focus on budgeting to be able to meet the needs of the city and its residents, while also keeping the tax rate from inflating.
She cited the plan to borrow money to start the process of building a new wastewater treatment plant as a point of concern for her, saying she would prefer the city use money from the Texas Water Development Board.
“Look to the state,” she said. “They understand small towns don’t have a lot of money. I would be going there first.”
Hopkins said the people who live in Pilot Point are the city’s biggest asset, and that the biggest challenge the city faces is its infrastructure.
“This town is old, and water pipes need to be replaced, sewer pipes probably need to be replaced, the water treatment plant has to be replaced, and that kind of stuff is expensive,” she said.
Being transparent and accountable is important to Hopkins as well, she said.
Cummings, who is trying to unseat Ingram, said he has been in Pilot Point for 28 years and has served on the EDC, thinks his time spent on that board has been a “good stepping stone to learn how the city operates.”
“I think I’ve got something to contribute with all the businesses I’ve owned over the last 40 years in home health care as well as some other business ventures,” he said.
He said that he wants to try to help the city grow in the face of the population growth heading north. One of the issues he identified is a lack of hotels in the area to allow people who are visiting for tourist purposes to have a place to stay. He also wants to focus on fiscal responsibility.
He also wants to help the existing businesses.
“There’s a lot of places this city can grow, in my opinion,” Cummings said. “There’s so many opportunities, and then everything’s coming our way.”
Ingram, who was appointed to fill Whitney Delcourt’s seat when she moved, applied for the seat initially because he wanted to make a difference instead of just complain about the choices made by the council.
He said he wants to continue serving the city and drawing from multiple people’s opinions to help inform his actions on the council while also helping the city staff have enough resources.
“The thing that I’ve tried to reiterate to our public servants and to our city manager is I want to help you get what you need,” he said. “If they get what they need, then the citizens get the care and the service that they expect.”
With his background in firefighting, his focus is naturally drawn to emergency response and infrastructure needs.
Updating the waterlines throughout town would help the city provide better services as well as support the fire department in its response to fires, Ingram said.
Ingram sees value in educating people about the process of how the City Council has to operate. He also wants input from the residents of the city.
“I only have one brain, and if I can get 100 different people’s perspective, then 100 brains are smarter than just one,” he said. “It’s not the citizens that work for me, I work for the citizens, and so I have to listen to those people and take their ideas, and there are a lot of good ideas.”
Steve Keith, who has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for six years as well as other city boards, decided he wanted to run again because he has felt “a lot of people [are] not being represented in our city right now, especially retired and lower income people.”
He’s concerned about the impact of increases on people on fixed incomes.
Keith wants to combine his love of Pilot Point’s history with his perspective fueled by having grown up and lived elsewhere to help retain the city’s charm as it grows.
He also said that he would like to see the commercial side of Pilot Point grow.
“I want to see the Square filled out,” he said. “I want to see more business and industry here in Pilot Point.”
Brad Wooley, who’s also vying for the seat, wants to draw on his experience in infrastructure maintenance to help the city renovate its infrastructure and be able to move forward with its needs met.
He said that having a plan in place can help with budgeting purposes, to help the city know what it means for the upcoming years and not just planning one year at a time.
“If we could have a system in place that would take care of these [infrastructure needs] in an incremented level, to do the right thing at the right time that would carry those things forward for a long, long time and save all the residents a lot of tax money,” Wooley said.
He also said that with the growth that’s coming, there needs to be the sufficient infrastructure in place so it can be ready to provide the level of service that new residents coming to the area are going to expect.
He identified “the people and the independently owned businesses” as the biggest assets with the growth coming as the biggest challenge.
“Growth isn’t always negative, but it’s definitely going to be something we need to be prepared and use to our advantage,” Wooley said.