43 Mayor Matthew Merchant grew up near Carrolton's historic city square. Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman

Carrollton

Carrollton’s mayor, Matthew Marchant, is aware that people like that his Twitter avatar is Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons. His social media feed is a mix of Onion articles, musings on movies, and tweets pertaining to city life—and he does everything himself, from responding to residents on Facebook to putting together Carrollton’s e-newsletter.

He operates in similar fashion offline, firing off a Smiths reference before personally going to bat for Dead Wax Records, a once-endangered record store. It’s now relocated in the ground level of an apartment building that marks private–public investment around the suburb’s historic downtown.

“I’m a dorky dad,” Marchant, 37, says. “I’m just a guy who lives here. I like Breaking Bad. People relate.”

Marchant grew up on Crosby Road, not far from where Dead Wax Records plies music snobs with obscure LPs. He and his wife, Lindsay, and two daughters live in north Carrollton. His father was the mayor back in the ’80s, and Marchant, a real estate lawyer, was just 25 when he was first elected to the city council. He ran for mayor in 2005. He lost. He got back on the council eight months later, ran again for mayor in 2011, and won. He was re-elected after running unopposed in May.

“You learn a lot when you lose,” Marchant says. “But it also got me to appreciate the time you have in office, the things you can accomplish.” 

What he wants to accomplish is this: build density around Carrollton’s three DART stations; prioritize redevelopment, especially in blighted retail areas; attend his daughters’ unending soccer games; resist the pastries at Cuban Dulceria; and just generally make things happen—like the park improvement project that was accomplished just five months after the city council approved the funding.

“I’m incrementally moving the ball on 20 or 30 different projects at any different time,” Marchant says. “I tend to be way in the weeds on certain projects, because that’s what it takes to get it done.” — Liz Johnstone

Demographics

  • Median Age: 36
  • Population Growth (2000-2013): 15.60%
  • Population Density: 3,490 people per square mile

Schools

  • Students Passing STARR K-11: 82%
  • Average SAT Score: 1512
  • Students Taking SAT/ACT: 69.20%
  • Instruction Spending Per Student: $4,345

Crime

  • Violent Crime Rate: 1.45 per 1,000 residents
  • Non-Violent Crime Rate: 27.54 per 1,000 residents

Real Estate

  • Average Price of Homes Sold (2013): $200,247
  • Sales Price Change (2011-2013): 11.90%
  • Owner-Occupied Homes: 63.10%

Ambiance: 69