In the wake of Plano City Council delaying a short-term rental vote, a real estate advocacy group that supports the owners of the rentals donated campaign contributions to all city council members, reports KERA.
The Texas Realtors Political Action Committee (TREPAC) donated $1,000 to all council members’ campaign funds in 2021 or early 2022, including $2,000 to Mayor John Muns. The donation was the only contribution listed on their campaign finance reports.
KERA reported that four council members — Rick Grady, Shelby Williams, Julie Holmer and Maria Tu — are up for reelection in May 2023, but that doesn’t mean they will seek reelection. TREPAC donated to all of their campaigns in late 2021. Mayor Muns isn’t up for reelection until 2025, and Grady does not plan to run in 2023.
According to KERA, the donations were made to council members during the same time that the Plano City Council was receiving complaints about short-term rentals and looking at ways to regulate them. Short-term rentals have been out city council agenda for several years, but have yet to make a decision on how to regulate them.
“The approach of city staff and council on the issues surrounding short-term rentals continues to be measured, detailed, methodical and driven by data,” Director of Media Relations Steve Stoler told Local Profile. “During the course of their political campaigns, city council members receive an array of contributions from across the Plano community. That said, council members make decisions as a whole based on what is best for Plano.”
The donations are publicly available on the city of Plano website.
Local Profile previously reported that a vote was supposed to occur at the November 14 city council meeting, but was delayed. The council reasoned that more information had come out about possible regulations and decided to hold an executive meeting to discuss the new information.
“We just wanted to let the audience know that one of the reasons why we had to go back into executive session was we have some additional information we need to receive regarding short-term rentals,” Mayor John Muns said at the time. “And so, it will be the intention of this council to table this item.”
After the brothel situation back on September 23, groups such as the Texas Neighborhood Coalition has been pushing the city council to implement regulations on the rentals. But Plano City Council is denying that the donations will impact their decision regarding short-term rentals.
Plano isn’t the only city getting donations from TREPAC. The organization has also donated to elected city officials in other North Texas cities such as Dallas, Arlington and Grapevine. Donations of $7,500 were made to three Dallas city council members’ campaigns in 2022, $11,000 total to four Arlington representatives’ campaigns in 2019 and $3,000 total to three Grapevine council members in 2021 and 2022.