George Shackelford; City Manager, City of Tomball

Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Author: Emily Roberts

 

City Manager, City of Tomball


By Emily Roberts


While Hwy. 249 may not be a priority for the Texas Department of Transportation, it is

a priority for George Shackelford. Before coming to Tomball in 2010, Shackelford worked

for Dean International, Inc., a transportation consulting firm based in Dallas, for three

years. He traveled the United States meeting with local, state and federal appointed and

elected officials and was a part of a national steering committee on transportation. In this

role, he met key players in the industry and built relationships with state and federal legislators.

It is these relationships he draws on to work to move construction on Hwy. 249

forward, which he said is essential to the advancement and growth of Tomball.

Previous to his work with Dean International, Shackelford worked for 28 years in city

management throughout Texas. He began his career in Canyon, Texas as an administrative

assistant after graduating from West Texas A&M University. From there, he became

the city manager of Littlefield for 5 years and then on to Port Lavaca for two years. Next,

he spent 18 years as the city manager of Texarkana. It is his love for working with cities

that brought him to Tomball in July after leaving Dean International.

“I missed being in city government,” Shackelford said. “The best part [of the job] is

when you can help someone down the street from you.”

Shackelford said he enjoys working for the City of Tomball because while a lot of small

towns are happy to keep the status quo, Tomball leaders are progressive and passionate

in pursuing growth. With many years experience working with city councils, he said the

Tomball council is open to change and new ideas, and he has been impressed with the

leadership of the Tomball Economic Development Corporation in bringing growth to the

business community.


What are the current priorities for the City

of Tomball?


We’re working on reworking the zoning

ordinances. We’ve had some workshops

with council and the planning and zoning

department. It’s been very productive for

both groups—a lot of good ideas have

come out in the process of rewording a lot

of sections of the zoning code. Some of the

ideas will help expedite zoning changes

and simplify the process.


What is the progress on the Downtown

Specific Plan, which will set standards for

the downtown area?


We’ve had public meetings, focus groups

and walk-throughs at the 2nd Saturday

at the Depot event where people can give

their thoughts on the kind of design and

architecture they would like to see in the

downtown area. [The plan] should be

finished later this year and adopted by the

end of the year.


Talk about the upcoming budget process

and how the city is doing financially.


We’ve started the budget process with

department heads and gone through preliminary

meetings on what we’re looking

for next year. It’s hard to know what the

budget’s going to do at this point. Sales tax

has been real good this year. We are up 7.92

percent for the first six months of the fiscal

year. If it stays at around 8 percent, we’ll

be up about $500,000 for the year. All our

expenditures are under budget; the budget

looks good this year. We’re getting ready to

give a six-month report to the council at its

May meeting.


Besides Hwy. 249, what other

transportation projects are a priority for

the city?


Medical Complex Drive is a priority. The

EDC [Economic Development Corporation]

budgeted $850,000 this year for the

project, and we’re trying to tie up the

western and eastern ends. We don’t know

where the funds are going to be spent yet.

When the road is done, it will give a complete

route through Tomball, like FM 2920.


What is the relationship between the city

and the Tomball Economic Development

Corporation?


We include the EDC in everything here.

It’s funded by city sales tax and has a separate

board. They have a very progressive

thinking board. The EDC has really done

well attracting new businesses to the area.

They are creating incentives for companies

to relocate here. They know if they provide

things like water, sewer, gas, fire hydrants,

it’s a huge incentive for companies to come.


Talk about recent efforts to increase

tourism.


When I came to Tomball, I knew about

it but not what all was here. It’s a nice-kept

secret. There are great community events

and festivals here. We’ve been holding

monthly meetings with the tourism

advisory committee that was formed to

give recommendations to council. I think

they’ve already seen some fruits of their

labor. They did additional advertising for

our Christmas event, and the German

Festival was a great success this year.


What is your vision for the City of Tomball

over the next five years?


I would like to see a lot of our street

and drainage projects done. I’d also like

to see the depot area mature a little bit

and become more of a destination point.

I want to continue to work with the sister

city organization on their festivals, like

the German festival. I would like to work

on a better promotion of the Spring Creek

Historical Museum, which is four blocks

north of city hall. It’s really nice and such a

great asset for a small community.


Michael Baxter

Tomball/Magnolia edition | Volume 1, Issue 8 | May 6–June 2, 2011

 

PEOPLE

 

George Shackelford