Home Elections 2021 General Elections Interview Series Helotes City Councilmember Place 3 Candidate Matthew...

2021 General Elections Interview Series Helotes City Councilmember Place 3 Candidate Matthew McCrossen

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Matt McCrossen Pro Headshot Web

Helotes News sends interview questions to the candidates via email. Publish the interviews in the order in which we receive them. We email all candidates at the same time. Please view the Helotes News Election Center 2021 for a log of our out-going initial emails to candidates.

General Background

Helotes News:  How long have you been a resident of Helotes?

Matthew McCrossen:  I moved to Helotes in September 2017.

Helotes News:  What do you enjoy about Helotes?

Matthew McCrossen:  I personally enjoy the variety of restaurants and stores that are a few minutes away from my house. My kids and I enjoy the central location to various parks and lakes we like to visit. We absolutely enjoy the various City-hosted events like movie nights and the Christmas parade where I was judge in 2019, as well as our iconic Cornyval.

Helotes News:  What frustrates you about Helotes?

Matthew McCrossen:  As a citizen, very little frustrates me. As a former board president of a HOA who dealt with the city, we had a good working relationship. As former director of the board of the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC), my frustrations are born from the micromanagement of the current mayor over city staff. My frustrations are compounded by the silence and apathy the pre-November 2020 election councilmembers had for the loan and grant programs coming out of the HEDC.

Here is an example: The mayor and council can have an item such as the splash pad for around $300,000 placed on the HEDC agenda that is available to board members usually seven days prior to the meeting. The mayor can show up to the meeting and in one night secure the majority of board members’ votes to give the city money from the HEDC budget for the splash pad. I was the only board member who voted against allocating HEDC funds to the city for this project.

Along comes 2020 and I won’t get into very sad details of last year’s HEDC push to establish a loan and grant program for small businesses because, it would turn out to be a book. I’ve wrote about it in my personal blog and published on Helotes News. All the emails are available to the public via Public Information Act (PIA) requests.

I will leave the reader with this; in one night the mayor secured nearly $500,000 from the HEDC for a splash pad and sidewalk. The sidewalk was another item on the HEDC agenda the same night as the splash pad. It took months since I emailed the HEDC’s only employee on March 19th, 2020 at 8:50PM CST, for the HEDC to be allowed to offer loans to our small businesses for a total of $300,000 allocated towards loans. Months after that to convert them to grants. Frustrating, is a very nice way of conveying my feelings on the matter.

Helotes News:  Are you currently employed? If yes, with whom?

Matthew McCrossen:  Yes. I am self-employed. I am the owner of McCrossen Marketing & Consulting and Helotes News.

Helotes News:  If you are not employed, are you retired, a business owner or financially independent? N/A

Helotes News:  What is/was your professional background before you were added to the ballot?

Matthew McCrossen:  My professional background of the last twenty years is split between active military service and as an entrepreneur. After graduating high school in 2000 I enlisted in the U.S. Army a Private. I served in tactical, strategic, national and multi-national assignments in my short military career.

I rose to the rank of Sergeant First Class during my seventh year of active-duty service. Technically, I was also a student while on active duty. I earned my AAS in Intelligence Operations with Honors from Cochise College in Sierra Vista, AZ towards the end of my military career.

I left active duty in 2009 and enrolled at St. Mary’s University. I graduated from St. Mary’s in 2011 with a BBA in Applied Management Cum Laude. I freelanced as a business consultant for a while after graduation. It was a good experience.

Things dramatically changed one day in 2012. I just backed out of the driveway and was heading to an event for the San Antonio Small Business Advocacy Committee in the afternoon. I quickly stopped a few houses up from mine. I stopped because parked at a neighbor’s house was a truck with a business logo I had seen many times. The logo belonged to a small home-based HVAC company a few houses down from mine.

I got out of my car, and helped the employees push a minivan up my neighbor’s driveway. Apparently, her minivan failed on her way to drop her kids off to school. The company owner struck up a conversation with me after that. They contracted me for consulting and website development a few weeks after. They were my first anchor client on March 2013 when I formed the LLC until the pandemic parted our ways on good terms in 2020.

Anyone can Google my name and discover all my titles and accomplishments. In this part of the response, I wanted to share something more than the standard resume-checklist of political candidates. I wanted to share how sometimes; it is serendipitous events that create opportunities in life.

I could have just kept driving… there were already around eight guys pushing. I was in a suit headed towards an event for an organization I volunteered for. There were so many reasons to keep going. Stopping to help was the right thing to do. That one act that morphed into a business relationship, that kickstarted my marketing agency that has led to an return on investment like no other, that is still my premier professional accomplishment as an International award winning Certified Internet Marketer… and it started with a U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran watching me help his guys push a minivan up an inclined driveway in a suit.

Civic Engagement & Community Events

Helotes News:  Tell us a few things about how you are involved in our community.

Matthew McCrossen:  I am most recently a former director of the board for the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC). I served two years spanning 2018 to 2020. One of my biggest accomplishments was being instrumental in the development of the HEDC loan and grant program of 2020. The other accomplishment is the creation of a board policy decision making tree that is only one two board policies. The policy forces staff and board members to run through a checklist to ensure HEDC projects are legal, aligned with the Strategic Workplan and requires explanation of how any HEDC funded project will support sales tax generation.

EDC_Meeting_Agenda_11.18.20_Packet_Page_17

I’ve also served on the board of directors of Cedar Springs Homeowners Association as the board president. I served from early 2018 to mid-2019 when two back-to-back family tragedies required me to reduce my time to volunteer in the community.

Helotes News:  What events have you attended in our city?

The kids and I have attended everything from MarketPlace, Cornyval, Balloonapoliza to the movie nights. Most recently, we attended the 2019 Christmas Parade where I was judge, and my kids got a front row seat!

Matt and Xander McCrossen 2019 Helotes Christmas Parade Judge Booth

Helotes News:  What events do you support or think should be eliminated/reworked? Tell us why.

Matthew McCrossen:  At present, I don’t have any recommendations for events to be eliminated. I give credit where credit is due. We have a good mix of activities that the mayor and council have developed over the years.

The only reworking I would advocate as a councilmember is to break out each event on the budge as its own line item with specifics in terms of costs we incur via staff time, marketing expenses, equipment, rentals, permitting, etc. I’m clearly throwing a lot out there. Our city staff will help me shape the end-product. In the end, my goal is to a clear picture of costs that we can reasonably match to sales tax revenue.

Helotes News:  Do you have any ideas about adding public spaces or additional community events to Helotes?

Matthew McCrossen:  I applaud previous mayors and councilmembers combined efforts to host events and create public spaces. Unfortunately, for the incumbent I am challenging, the events we now enjoy are about 50% of the reason I decided on Helotes when I moved from San Antonio after my divorce.

One thing I would consider adding as a councilmember is a job fair type event. This sort of event cross-promotes the City, the businesses who participate and the Helotes Area Chamber of Commerce. There are other benefits such as networking, enticing area companies to build franchise locations in Helotes, and simply the publicity that comes with hosting this type of event.

Political

Helotes News:  What is your primary motivation for seeking reelection/election to City Council?

Matthew McCrossen:  Sadly, there is no positive way to spin this. I am running for office because I, Matthew McCrossen, as a resident, father and business owner feel under-represented by the incumbent I challenge on the ballot. I am committing my time, resources and risking my professional reputation towards the belief I would serve as a better councilmember than the incumbent.

Helotes News:  As an incumbent, what is the primary argument you should be re-elected (includes those who were appointed to a City Council Place)? N/A.

Helotes News:  As a challenger, what is the primary argument you should replace the incumbent councilperson for your place?

Matthew McCrossen:  The primary reason I am seeking to replace the incumbent is I believe my time in office will be more beneficial to the families, business owners, commuters and visitors of Helotes. This is based on my record as a board member on the Helotes Economic Development Corporation when I would not sit idly by as Mayor Schoolcraft brought several items before the board that I vocally and through my vote, disagreed with. This is based on my record for the advocacy for small businesses fighting for them during the early weeks of the pandemic and throughout 2020. This is based on my record of accessibility as a board member, that now carries through as a candidate and evidenced by all the methods available to contact me.

Helotes News:  If re/elected to council, how will you approach decision making as one of five voting members?

Matthew McCrossen:  I will approach this position the same way I did as a director of the board on the Helotes Economic Development Corporation. Each agenda is published well enough in advance so that any questions I have prior to the meeting can be addressed. If my questions or concerns are addressed sufficiently, then I will vote for the item accordingly. If my questions or concerns are not adequately addressed before the meeting, then I ensure they are voiced in the open meeting and vote accordingly.

Helotes News:  How will you engage citizens in the decision-making process, or will you?

Matthew McCrossen:  I will absolutely engage citizens. My campaign is very accessible via phone, email, Zoom, social media and I personally visit with voters. These communication methods will remain in place once elected. That is the passive, incoming constituent services side.

In terms of the active, out-going communications, I will routinely publish an email newsletter, social media and plan to publish either on the campaign blog or my personal blog. The website I publish on will depend on the results of future communication with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Helotes Thematic

Helotes News:  How would you describe Helotes to someone who has never visited our city?

Matthew McCrossen:  I would describe Helotes as a small city with great schools, good neighbors and a variety of stores that meet all my family’s needs. It’s a city that is still developing with room for new businesses or house to be built.

Helotes News:  Do you view Helotes as a small town with small-town charm? Or, do you view Helotes as a small-town that has outgrown or is outgrowing that theme?

Matthew McCrossen:  I believe myself and anyone else who has visited Old Town Helotes, attended any of the City hosted events, or the Helotes Festival Association events would agree there is still small-town charm in Helotes. With the events we can retain our charm. I believe the key to ensuring the small-town charm doesn’t erode is with a serious discussion on what resources our community wants to invest in the Old Town Helotes Special District, where those resources come from, and having a solid plan to preserve that special district.