Updated: Third Candidate Files for Lewisville Council Seat: Matt Lampe

Date 2011/10/5 1:00:00 | Topic: Local News, Notes and Events

A third candidate filed today in the special election race for City Council Place 2 seat vacated upon the death of David Thornhill last month. Matt Lampe, 39, is an equine veterinarian who resides in the far Eastern part of Lewisville just a stone's throw from The Colony. Lampe's veterinary practice, Absolute Equine, is located in The Colony. Lampe has lived in Texas for 9 1/2 years and in Lewisville for just over a year.

Lampe will face Neil Ferguson and Steve Hill in the December 10th special election. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, then a runoff election would be called. City Secretary Julie Heinze said that she expects the special election to cost about $5,000, and a runoff would cost an additional $5,000.

Update - 10/7/2011
We had a chance to talk to Lampe today:

Matt Lampe (pronounced like "lampy") is a recent transplant to Lewisville, having lived in Keller until last Summer when he moved to his lake side home in far Eastern Lewisville. Lampe is married and has two daughters, in 2nd and 5th grades at Independence Elementary. He attended the University of Oklahoma, and graduated veterinarian school at Oklahoma State University.

Lampe says he is a conservative who is running because he is unhappy with the tax increase that he says Lewisville just passed* and is concerned about the amount of money spent and taxed. But Lampe says his philosophy is more about problem-solving and negotiation. "Ideologues are the problem on both sides of the spectrum," said Lampe, who sees himself positioned similarly to GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Lampe says he had planned to run for the Council in May of 2012, but with a currently open seat, he thought the time was right to make a run. Although Lampe has not served on any committees or boards in Lewisville, he says he was a member of the Animal Shelter Advisory Board in Keller, and spends time every day all over North Texas. He is running for Council because he believes he cannot affect the changes he would like to make if he serves in an advisory role.

A campaign website is in the plans for Lampe, who says he hopes to have it live by the end of the weekend. (Update: Campaign website is http://lampeforlewisville.com) Lampe said that he didn't think it would be a disaster if a candidate like Neil Ferguson won this election, but he said that regardless of the outcome, he will run again in May.

On the Issues:

- Doesn't take a hard line on illegal immigration, preferring a pragmatic approach. He thinks that the problem can be attacked by providing more support to our legal population through economic development.

- Believes there is some apathy in Lewisville, and wants to see a good turnout in this election to get citizens to participate. Vigorous debate is helpful in finding the right way. "A little friction polishes the stone," said Lampe.

- "Development is not rocket science," says Lampe, who thinks that tax abatements for business can be smart because they not only bring tax revenue from the property affected, but they help stop the "broken window effect" and reverse neighborhood decline. "No city functions without abatements," said Lampe.

- Supports the rights of mineral owners to lease or sell their minerals and have them drilled. He believes drilling is inevitable, but he wants to make sure that the drillers find legitimate sites with the least disruption to property values or quality of life. "They're going to drill. Lets negotiate on this," said Lampe.

- Would like to see a study of the feasibility of upgrading the city's rodeo grounds into a multi-use equestrian facility. The aging facility is currently out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, so this past Labor Day rodeo was the last one in the facility in its current form. Lampe thinks that because there are relatively few facilities in the area, the events and shows that such a facility could bring would bring in some tourism. "It fits with our city's identity and heritage," said Lampe.

About Lewisville's tax rates:
The City of Lewisville is maintaining its combined property tax rate for the third year in a row at 44.021 cents per $100 valuation, amounting to $440.21 for the owner of a $100,000 home. Because property values increased slightly this year, the city will collect more tax dollars than the previous year. Under state law, since more total dollars will be collected for maintenance and operations, the City had to publish this notice on its website:


The language is confusing and a little misleading for two reasons:

1) The 0.769% mentioned is not itself a tax rate, but rather the percentage of increase in tax rate. Nobody is going to be paying 76.9 cents.
2) Because the tax rate is not really going up. The city has two tax rates: The maintenance and operations (M&O) rate supplies the money to cover the city's operations, and the interest and sinking fund (I&S) is used to pay back long term debt on the bonds the city has sold to cover major projects like new facilities or streets.

As CTTX explains below in the comments, it's called a rate increase because the state requires calculating an effective rate based on the rate you would have to have to collect the same amount of money as the previous year. (I guess there's no such thing as city growth or inflation to worry about for the legislators who write such silly laws)

The total combined rate for both M&O and I&S stays exactly the same as the previous two years, and has the same breakdown as the previous year: 32.289 cents for M&O, and 11.732 cents for I&S.

By moving some money around in the budget, drawing down some reserves, increasing some fees, and other maneuvering, some extra revenue was found to provide a cost-of-living increase for city employees, and fund a 2025 plan. The city had more than enough money from the I&S rate to cover the coming year's debt service, and allow some drawdown of the reserves there.

(Update 10/8/2011: The above paragraphs were corrected to note that the I&S and M&O components stayed at the same rates. It seems the confusion even got to me. Friends don't let friends try to explain taxes on a Friday night.)

Lewisville ISD had a similar situation in that their M&O rate stayed the same, the I&S rate went down slightly, and yet because of increased property values, the district had to post a legal notice of a "tax increase". LISD worked to avoid confusion by adding additional language to their notice explaining that the district was collecting slightly more locally, but was losing a tremendous amount due to state funding shortfall of $5 billion to public education.

Related Content and Links:
- Hill Makes a Second Try for Lewisville City Council
- Ferguson Files for Lewisville Council Seat
- May 14th, 2011 Election Results
- Qualifications for Lewisville City Council
- Lewisville Property Tax Rates to Stay The Same
- Lewisville Council Maintains Tax Rate at 0.44021 per $100

- Lampe for Lewisville Campaign website.

- SpecialElection2011

This article comes from The Lewisville Texan Journal

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