Newest council member long on service
As the newest member of the Katy City Council, Frank O. Carroll III has a long history of community service, while being a relative newcomer to city politics. He was appointed in September to fill a Ward A council member vacancy and will serve the unexpired term which runs to next May.
Though your children are fifth-generation Waller County residents, you have been in Katy for the last 10 years. How did you end up in Katy?
A: About 15 years ago, my wife, April, and I decided to give our best shot at the pursuit of the American dream. I was working as a construction laborer; April was a nanny. We moved into a 1989 Flair 19-foot motorhome so we could scrimp and save enough to pay for community college classes (and as April will tell you, we ate a lot of beans back in those days). I earned a scholarship that paid for my bachelor’s degree, but we knew the American dream is not just found in education, but in the community you call home. I had heard stories from my grandparents about Katy — they pastored churches in the area back in the early 1960s. They spoke of Katy as a utopia: a community of people who possessed great character and American virtue. April, a fourth-generation Waller County resident, agreed wholeheartedly — so we made the decision to chase our American dream to Katy. And we found it. It has been said America is “a shining city on a hill,” and nowhere does that light shine brighter than Katy, Texas.
Why did you want to serve on City Council?
A: Seeing your community devastated, as we did during Hurricane Harvey, has a sobering effect. I think everyone realized that we all have a collective responsibility to place our community in a better position for the next storm. I had been serving on the Board of Adjustment, and attending nearly every City Council meeting and workshop for over a year prior to my appointment, just to be better informed and to volunteer where needed. I think this had a lot to do with why I was chosen for the seat. Importantly, the vacancy arose just a few weeks before a critical budget meeting, and I was able to hit the ground running and immediately begin representing the residents of Katy.
What are your goals as councilman and for the city of Katy?
A: As a councilman, I have a simple goal that serves as my guiding principle in everything I do: preserve and fight for our small-town values, as it is these values that have made Katy the greatest place to live in America for over 100 years. This personal goal and guiding principle manifests itself in my goals for the City: 1) fully fund our first responders, as you cannot have a world-class small-town without safety and security in our neighborhoods; 2) work every single day on drainage, attacking the problem on all fronts: upstream, downstream, and in the individual neighborhoods, as you cannot have a world-class small-town if people are constantly worried that they will lose their home; and 3) strictly manage growth, ensuring that every new deal is consistent with, and reflects, our small-town atmosphere, as it profits us nothing if we gain hundreds of businesses, but lose what made Katy special to begin with.
What is the most fun and what’s the most challenging part of serving on council?
A: The part that is most fun on City Council is what was most fun before City Council — interacting with the wonderful people who make up our community. The difference now is I have a little more authority to actually address community concerns, and solving problems for my neighbors is both fun and the most rewarding part of the job. The most challenging part is confronting the enormity of the issues presented by flooding. As we all know, the floodwaters do not know nor respect the boundaries of city and county, so addressing the flooding issue requires regional cooperation and working with more than a dozen different governing bodies. As you can imagine, that presents quite a challenge. Fortunately, the entire City Council and the Mayor work very well with each other, and we are all focused on the same goal: working every single day to make Katy safer and better prepared.
You are a lawyer now, but previously served as an interim pastor. What led to your career choice?
A: April and I have always served in various roles in our church. We were youth pastors for 6 years, and I was an associate pastor for 2 years. When our church at 10th and Avenue D in Old Katy had a vacancy in the senior pastor position, I stepped in to fill that role, giving the church board an opportunity to perform a full search and ultimately hire the great pastor they have today. I chose a career in law because I have always admired the role lawyers play in ensuring businesses and people play by the rules in their dealings. I believe being a partner in a large real estate firm has helped me carry out my responsibilities as a councilman, whether it is fighting for a better deal in our service contracts, or drafting ordinances that help preserve and protect our small-town values.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: Just that I am deeply humbled and honored to have the opportunity to represent the residents of Katy, and to help preserve the small-town American dream found in Katy. Folks should know that every decision I make, I make it with full respect and appreciation for the legacy that has been built here, and with the upmost dedication to preserving the values that has made Katy an enduring American dream for over 100 years.