Don Frantz | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Don Frantz 

Cary - Mayor and Town Council

Name as it appears on the ballot: Don Frantz

Full legal name, if different: Donald Phillip Frantz II

Date of birth: May 18, 1971

Home address: 706 East Cornwall Road, Cary NC. 27511

Mailing address, if different from home: 109 Canyon Run, Cary NC. 27513

Campaign Web site:

Occupation & employer: Business Owner, Frantz Automotive Center


What do you believe are the most important issues facing Cary? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?

My top priorities for Cary over the next four years are:

Economy and jobs

Fiscal management

High quality of life for all Cary citizens

It has been my honor to serve Cary citizens on the Council. With this office comes great responsibility as each decision we make directly impacts you. During my time on the council, I have focused on fiscal management and economic development. I have worked hard to provide the high levels of service that our citizens demand at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer, and to create an environment that encourages business growth and creates jobs. I have supported initiatives that further protect our environment, and I have worked to bring accountability and accessibility to our government. Most importantly, I listen to citizens.

Through my work on the council, I have earned a reputation for consistency and honesty. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I have gone to great lengths to better communicate with citizens via social media and my blog. Citizens deserve to know what it is I am working on as a member of the council and how I vote. We may not always agree, but you will always know where I stand.I have had the privilege of meeting and listening to most of you during my first term and many of us have worked together to solve a number of issues in Cary. We have accomplished a lot in four years, but we still have work to do.That's why I am running for reelection; to continue to serve the citizens of Cary and bring common sense solutions to town government. I hope that I have earned your trust and support and I ask for your vote on October 11.

Explain how—or if—Cary should continue to grow in Chatham County. How do the needs of Cary residents in Chatham County differ from those in Wake? How do you plan to address them?

Cary will continue to grow in Chatham County. It is how we grow that matters.

As a member of the council I have worked with elected leaders and citizens in both Cary and Chatham County to craft a land use plan for this area that helps to preserve the Chatham community's rural character and better protects Jordan Lake. We hope to have the joint Cary/Chatham plan finalized by this fall. I also supported the Jordan Lake Rules to further protect this most precious resource.

Tell voters about your vision for a revitalized downtown Cary. What should it include—and what should it avoid? What other cities are good models for your vision? And finally, how should Cary pay for it?

I share our community's vision for downtown Cary; a vibrant, safe and prosperous community of residents and businesses that creates a destination place where folks want to live, work and play.

Since my election in 2007, Cary has made great progress in downtown. Some examples of projects or initiatives that have occurred under my leadership include:

The Cary Arts Center – Fully funded with cash (no debt), completed on time and under budget

Hired Ed Gawf as Cary's Downtown Manager

Acquisition and planned restoration of Cary's historic downtown theater

We have acquired 75% of the property for the town center park.

Worked with NCDOT Rail on the Downtown Cary Rail Station expansion and improvements

Working with Wake County to site a new regional library downtown

Numerous neighborhood sidewalk, greenway and stream restoration and flood control projects

Historic Preservation Master Plan

Increased Public Parking spaces

Eliminated impact fees in the downtown core to better incent private investment

Worked with area businesses to address permitting process and code enforcement issues and concerns

New Wayfinding Signage

Increased Support for Cary's Housing Rehabilitation Program

Increased Crime Enforcement – Neighborhood Partnerships

We have made great progress downtown, but we still have work to do. I remain committed to Cary's efforts downtown as a healthy downtown community benefits all of Cary.

In your analysis of Cary's operating and capital budgets, what expenditures should take priority? What expenditures should be reduced? Should any items be eliminated entirely? Justify your priorities.

Just as families across America have had to tighten their belts and live within their means, so must government.

As a member of the council I have worked hard to provide the highest quality of life at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. Cary has the lowest tax rate of any municipality in Wake County. This was not the case before I joined the council. Through conservative budgeting and a focus on priorities, Cary remains in good fiscal health and ended last year with a $5 million budget surplus. To cope with the economic recession I supported postponing or eliminating over $100 million in capital projects; created Cary's first ever debt ceiling, which we have not exceeded; a hiring freeze on new town government positions; and I voted against reducing the town's general fund reserves from six months to four.

The median home price in Cary is $257,000, according to CNN Money. (By comparison, Durham's is $158,000 and Raleigh's is $170,000) How should Cary ensure there is adequate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents?

I have supported a number of affordable housing initiatives and projects in Cary to include:

Cary's Neighborhood Improvement Grant Program

Increased funding for Cary's Housing Rehabilitation Program

Supported partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and other area non-profits

Increased Senior Housing Development

Increased code enforcement to better address minimum housing requirements and hold deadbeat landlords accountable.

Would you support placing a half-cent transit tax on the 2012 ballot? Why or why not?

No, I do not support increasing taxes to pay for mass-transit initiatives. I will not support any transportation revenue increases until North Carolina can demonstrate the ability to use existing transportation dollars wisely; and reform our state's inequitable equity distribution formula that currently rewards political power and fails to focus on the areas with the greatest needs.

I do support increased bus service throughout our region and the continued partnership between Cary's C-Tran and TTA. Bus service is a more cost effective and efficient transit option as it can be adjusted based on demand and growth. Buses can be moved to where the people are. You can't pick up rail and move it.

What sort of relationship do you think the Town of Cary should have with the Wake County school system? Do you believe that, in the future, western Wake County municipalities should form their own school system, either by a formal breakaway or through the creation of a sub-district?

As a member of the council I have a proven record of listening to and representing Cary families concerns to the Wake County School System, and I have collaborated with both past and present school board members to address a number of community issues.

In the past I have made statements that I believed that WCPSS should be broken up into smaller, more accountable districts. This was largely due to my frustrations with the school system's inability – or unwillingness - to address community concerns.

However, given the current efforts by WCPSS to increase parental choice and reduce forced busing, my position has since changed.

I am pleased with the actions and manner in which Superintendent Tony Tata has worked to reduce the rhetoric, and especially his efforts to bring the community together so that we may focus on what's most important – educating students. Compromise is a two-way street and it will take all sides working together to bring about positive change in Wake County Public Schools.

I also remain committed to increased vocational education opportunities. A highly skilled and educated workforce is critical to our economic future. Preparing our children to compete in a global economy must include investments in vocational education for those children who may not go to college. We must educate not only the next Fortune 500 CEO, doctor or pharmacist, but also the next electrician, service technician and nurse. Providing increased opportunities for students to learn a skill or trade not only increases their chances of success once they leave the public school system, it will also significantly reduce North Carolina's abysmal high school drop-out rate.

Earlier this year, after public protest the federal government withdrew its plan to site an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office, which would have included temporary detention facilities, in Cary. In retrospect, how could that issue have been handled differently, internally among planning staff and elected officials, with the federal government and with the public?

The issue could have been handled a lot differently had town officials been made aware of the Federal Government's intentions at the beginning of the process. Unfortunately that did not occur. Cary planners who had communicated with developers representing the proposed ICE facility in 2010 failed to notify town management and department directors about the inquiry.

There is no question that mistakes were made and that there was clearly a breakdown in communication between planning staff members and department directors.

We are currently working on a number of options to correct this; including a centralized filing system to better track development inquiries and through additional training to town employees on how to better recognize and address controversial items.

This will not happen again.

What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

My record on the Cary Town Council is one of collaboration with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address key issues in our community. Political bickering and partisanship doesn't get things done. As an active member of the Cary Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Leadership Council I have worked hard to support Cary's business community, and that of our region. I have an open-door policy and I have never refused a meeting with anyone. The best decisions are made when all stakeholders are involved in the process.

My Public Service Background:

Cary Town Council: 2007 – current

Town of Cary Planning and Zoning Board Member: 2005-2007

Town of Cary Citizen Budget Review Commission Member: 2004-2005

Council Liaison: Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Board

Council Liaison: Town Center Review Commission

Wake County Growth Issues Task Force

Past President, Heart of Cary Association

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Leadership Council

NFIB NC Small Business Champion Award Winner: 2010

Cary Chamber of Commerce

Cary Chamber of Commerce Small Business Community Service Award: 2003

Triangle J Council of Governments Smart Growth Committee

Cary Elementary PTA

Cary High School IMP Club

How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am a husband, father, businessman and public servant; all of which takes priority over politics.

My principles and values – not politics - are what guide me. Roy Disney once said, "It isn't hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." I couldn't agree more.

Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I have a proven record of opposing government giveaways to out-of-state corporations even though many in the business community and my colleagues on the council have supported such incentives packages.

Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. It is government's job to create a business friendly environment that treats all businesses fairly and equitably, and provides everyone the opportunity for success.

The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

I believe my responses to the previous questions above adequately answers this question. If reelected I pledge to continue to serve with integrity and transparency and to focus on results, not politics.

To learn about other candidates' stances on the issues, read their 2011 Candidate Questionnaires.

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