After eight years of service, Waxahachie Mayor Pro Tem Mark Singleton was voted out of office Saturday. His last official regular council meeting was held Monday night.
Singleton expressed thanks to the council for the opportunity to serve. He plans to remain active in the community but was unsure of how to take the loss.
“You know I don’t know. I have gone all the way from the point of 'how disappointing' to where God said 'Mark go and do something different,'” Singleton said. “I have sat in council meetings the last two or three years, and I have gone 'I am damn sure not here because I love this.' I feel God has said hold the course.”
Singleton voiced that he feels qualifications or experience are not viewed as they have before during local elections. He worries about how the change will affect the community.
“It is disappointing. I have people who have spoken in my life for almost 40 years of my 54 years in this world and served this community for almost 100 years,” Singleton explained. “Now we have a lady that has been here for three years, and now she has a chance. All I can say is that it has got to be God’s will.”
Council member-elect Melissa Olson stated the facts are what they are and she has not been here for a long time.
“It is true. I haven’t been here long and I haven’t been as active as long. He speaks the truth on that. My focus was not on Mr. Singleton but improving the town,” said Olson in a phone interview Tuesday. “I think that where he is coming from is at a point of being hurt. It is unfortunate that he is hurt as he is, but I understand that he feels that way.”
Olson added she thinks Singleton will find a way to remain involved with the community whether he is on the council or not.
Over the past few years, Singleton has been vocal about his opinions even to the point of occasionally threatening residents with physical violence at meetings. He stated he is unsure if those actions played a role at the ballot box with voters.
“All I can say is that I am a man of conviction and a man of my word," Singleton said. “If anyone ever challenges me ethically on any of those pieces behind a podium or hiding behind the media, I have no problem of going into the hall and standing toe to toe with that man to see if he still has the same conviction in his beliefs.”
He added people today feel safe behind social media and the stage they have been given.
During his campaign, Singleton did place a few campaign signs around the community but did not use social media as a platform to reach out to voters. Though he agreed the lack of an online presence could have played a role in his loss, he is not sure since he only lost by 39 votes.
Singleton also stated he thought work on projects that make a difference in the community would be a better use of his time.
“The sad thing about the social media today is that there is not much of anything constructive,” Singleton remembered. “Again social media today is very disappointing just because it winds up for a place for an ax to be ground. I don’t use it.”
Unsure whether he will run again, Singleton encourages other business leaders and CEO’s to step up and serve the public in the future. He noted that he would continue to work for the betterment of Waxahachie outside of city hall.
“I have been put on the sidelines today, and I don’t understand it except to say that God has a different plan for me,” Singleton said.
He advised new Olson to work to build the community and keep her distance from local political activist Amy Hedtke calling her a “terrorist.”
Olson stated that calling Hedtke a terrorist is “ridiculous.”
“I don’t condone her actions or her behavior. I am definitely a separate person from her. I think that is evident in my behavior and actions,” Olson said. “It is very clear that Ms. Hedtke and I are two very different people in the way we approach pretty much everything. While I can admire her passion for what she does, I don’t agree with how she goes about doing it.”
In other business the city council:
• Named Caleb High as the honorary council member.
• Approved a request from David Hargrove for a final plat of phase two of Garden Valley Farms containing 78 lots.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the reimbursement of the water and wastewater fund working capital from the proceeds of future debt for a new field office building for the utility department.
• Approved a budget amendment for technology improvements in the conference room.
• Approved an application for the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Ellis County 5K race.
• Approved a seasonal an application for seasonal vendor permits at Lake Waxahachie.
• Named May 7 as Major Derwin Moody day in the city.
• Presented a proclamation naming May as preservation month.
• Heard a presentation on the city’s national main street accreditation.
• Heard a presentation on city’s Texas Travel Industry Association Best of Texas Award – Best City during.
• Recognized National Tourism week to take place from May 6-12
• Approved a request from David Hargrove to amend an ordinance for the Garden Valley Planned Development District to increase maximum lot coverage in the single-family three base district from 35 percent to 50 percent by the main building and accessory structures.
• Approved a request from Kenny Garcia for a specific use permit for a rooftop solar panel system to be used at 2204 Howard Road.
• Approved a request by Justin Hargrove for a specific use permit to allow a dance hall, tavern or nightclub to be located at 208 W. Franklin.
• Approved a request by Charles Brown for a zoning change from a light industrial two zoning district to a central area to be located at 200 E. Jefferson.
• Approved a specific use permit to allow a bail bond agency within a central area zoning district located at 200 E. Jefferson Street.
• Approved a request by Brandon O’Donald for a preliminary plat of Dove Hollow for 610 residential lots and 19 open space lots.
• Approved a bid to Envirodyne Systems, Inc. for the replacement of a clarifier for number two mechanisms at the Howard Road Water Treatment Plant.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the reimbursement of the water fund working capital from the proceeds of future debt for the replacement of clarifier number two at the Howard Road Water Treatment Plant.