Dallas Mayor Leppert announces resignation

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on February 23, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 23 at 7:27 PM

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DALLAS — It's official. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is leaving office.

Leppert confirmed Wednesday what News 8 first told you Tuesday night.

The resignation is effective Friday and ends his only term as mayor of the state's second-largest city.

Leppert didn't mention his U.S. Senate plans, saying he'll talk about the future in the next several days.

In his resignation speech at Wednesday's City Council meeting, he touched on past accomplishments and future politics.

Even though he has about four months left on his term, Leppert told his Council colleagues the time is right for him to leave.

Crime is down since his 2007 election and the city moved economic development forward in a number of ways, he said.

"I think that they'll see that this is one of the most productive times in our city's history," Leppert said.

But several council members, like Ann Margolin, hoped he would stay on, praising Leppert for listening — even when they disagreed — and for running meetings promptly and courteously.

"Particularly when we have difficult issues to deal with, he's been very solid and very strong," Margolin said.

But Leppert also sounded like a candidate who will fit right in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, criticizing the Council majority that raised the city's tax rate last year.

"High taxes hurt our competitiveness and they also drive down property values," the mayor said.

Council member Carolyn Davis voted for the tax hike and didn't miss the moment to urge Leppert to remember low-income citizens.

"That I voted on my conscience, and that I voted what my constituents asked me to do," she said.

Council member Angela Hunt, a frequent Leppert critic, also voted for the higher tax rate and skipped the opportunity to address Leppert. Her office said she was "otherwise engaged and couldn't be there."

In closing, Leppert said this: "I want to thank the citizens of the City of Dallas. Four years ago, you granted me the great opportunity to lead one of the finest cities in this world."

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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