Council hears mayor’s key items
By Elsa Maxey
Upon Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella’s election to his 22nd term of office, which means he is now in his 41st year, he outlined items at the city council meeting that he said are about the health, safety, and welfare of the community.
“I think that you have to look at going forward,” said Mayor Scarcella, noting the importance of the Stafford Municipal School District to the city, which he said is the only breakaway school district in the history of the U.S. He said 300 tried and there’s only one success. The mayor told of the tough battle that led to the creation of the municipal school district. In 1976, he said Stafford provided the majority of commercial funding for Fort Bend ISD “and yet, our children always seemed to be pushed to the rear,” which led to the creation of the city-run school district. He said its future depends on working together and making the school’s and community’s diversity a strength.
“I am here to take care of Stafford,” he said when he took his turn on council expressing his appreciation to the voters. He spoke about the recent passage of the Fort Bend WCID No. 2’s bond referendum with concerns about who he said it will benefit. “We have to pay 80 percent of all the bills and yet those entities outside Stafford will be the huge beneficiaries.” In what Mayor Scarcella referred to as the beginning of a drama to be unfolding, he asked that residents listen to what school board members and the city administration will say about who is looking for Stafford’s best interest, “and who wants Stafford to have a viable water source half a century from now.” As if to be preparing for a battle, Mayor Scarcella said “sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in,” as he referred to the country’s formation based on a revolution that no one gave the founding fathers much of a chance other than fighting for a belief in principles. He said Stafford is much like that with respect to differing with neighboring cities and the county on a philosophy. Mayor Scarcella also said he is proud of the city’s democratic process and alluded to a local area mayor whom he said recently told a councilmember to hush, “not once, but twice.”
He told residents that since they don’t pay city property taxes, he encourages them to take the money and invest it in their own property to enhance the city. “To me, that is a small price to pay for your own interest,” which the mayor said will elevate the community as, well. The elimination of debts is one thing the city also intends to tackle. It currently has a debt of about $1 million that it plans to eliminate altogether. Mayor Scarcella challenged others across the nation to show a record of what the city of Stafford has done referring to its no property tax status and confidence and support at eliminating city debt.
At this May 18 city council meeting, Felicia Evans-Smith was nominated to be the new Mayor Pro Tem and was elected by acclamation. Evans-Smith is serving her second term on the city council.