Now that we have changed our clocks and the weather is warmer, we know it is spring in Addison so I wanted to share a few more great photos around Addison for you all to enjoy!
We began our Council Work Session Tuesday with a discussion and consideration of action regarding our new Community Partners Bureau. The Council developed a priority in our Strategic Plan to involve more of our citizens in what we are doing in Addison—tapping into the intellectual horsepower of our Town. As a result, we are implementing several initiatives like our Bond Evaluation Committee, our Citizens Assisting Police, our Addison Legacy Foundation and others. High on that list of initiatives is our Community Partners Bureau that will work closely with Council to keep us connected to the many not-for-profit organizations that work closely with the Town. Council Member Chris DeFrancisco and Deputy Mayor Pro Tempore Kimberly Lay are leading the effort to launch this new group of volunteers. Graduates of our Citizens Academy and Leadership Metrocrest were chosen to serve one year terms with periodic reporting responsibilities to the Council. Long time Addison resident Kathie Wood has been selected as the Chair of the Bureau and will be joined by Laurel Brewster, Becky Thompson, Dan Heinzerling, Sabina Bradbury, Sharon Ashton, Donna Hugly, Lance Murray, Troy Cooper and Linda Curl. Many thanks to each of you for your service to Addison and your willingness to jump into a brand new program and help us launch it successfully! Over the next several weeks, this group will meet and finalize their direction and structure and begin their important work. I will keep you informed of their progress.
Our next agenda item was a review of our recently completed Financial Audit. Outside independent auditors Weaver and Tidwell reviewed their work on our financial matters for the year ended September 30, 2011. They noted no material weaknesses, yet did note that our financial statements needed adjustments with respect to the way a federal grant for our airport work was accounted for only on the financial statements as well as compliance with our purchasing policy. These deficiencies were reviewed and corrected and management plans in place to insure no reoccurrence of these relatively minor issues in the future.
Our Regular Council meeting began right on time at 7:30 p.m. with our pledge and a few announcements which included a very favorable mention in the Dallas Morning News Editorial page about our current and past Council’s support and compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Law. In that same regard, Addison was recently named one of only 214 out of 6,000 Government websites to earn the Sunny Award and a grade of A for transparency. Both of these are very significant indicators of the positive inclusive and open government culture we are nurturing here in Addison.
Council approved a bid for the installation of 38 LED bollard lights along the Redding Trail; aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits of these lights they will also enhance the safety and security of the trail. Council also approved the release of the Fiscal Year 2011 Comprehensive Financial Report…this is the very thorough publication of all of the important financial information about our Town. If you are interested in a copy you are welcome to stop by our Finance building on Belt Line Road for your very own copy. The Council also approved a Final Plat of the land that is now the site of our new Water Tower and our Addison Water Station at the corner of Arapaho and Surveyor. In addition, Council approved the appointment of Deputy City Manager Lea Dunn as our representative to the North Texas Council of Governments Surface Transportation Technical Committee. Thank You Lea for adding to your already very busy list of duties and responsibilities.
The agenda also included a presentation from long time Addison resident Jerry Stephens regarding Addison Trail safety. Jerry came well prepared and reminded us of the perils of mixing bicycle traffic with walking and jogging traffic on our trail system. As a reminder, anyone can come speak to the Council on about any subject you choose by simply writing an email or letter to me or City Manager Ron Whitehead requesting time to speak and giving us the subject of your comments so that we can post it on our agenda and let our community know what you want to speak about. That is precisely what Jerry did and we were happy to accommodate his request.
We also had a public hearing and Council consideration of an amendment to the SUP for the Back Nine Restaurant on the south side of Belt Line Road to permit them to expand their outdoor patio. One Addison resident spoke opposing the change, and the current business operator spoke in favor of the change. The Council voted and approved 6-1.
Council concluded our evening fairly early…about 8:30, which hopefully will not create unrealistic expectations for three of our visitors; Council candidates Margie Gunther, Janelle Moore and Austen Spoonts…all three of whom attended the earlier Work Session and the regular Council meeting.
Early last Saturday, Mayor Pro Tempore Blake Clemens and Council Member Neil Resnik met with Deputy City Manager Lea Dunn and the Addison Airport management team to plan their next steps in developing our Airport Strategic Plan.
On Monday, I joined Orlando Campos, Addison’s Director of Economic Development, and our great partners at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce to greet and welcome to Addison the new employees of American Home Mortgage. They are just completing their move to 16675 Addison Road which will be their new call center. They have added 480 associates to their team here in Addison with at least 200 more to come in 2012! Thanks to Paulette, Bobby, Scott, Frank and Chuck for the great tour of their beautiful new corporate home—we are very proud to have you here in Addison! This group brings incredible financial benefit to our community for our retailers, restaurants, and of course apartment and home demand!
Monday afternoon, I met Phyllis Silver, our DART liaison and Addison resident, at our Addison Transit Center on Arapaho Road just south of our Addison Circle Park. Phyllis familiarized me with the amazing connectivity our Transit Center provides—we have 13 Bus Routes stopping here in Addison which gives us direct access to downtown Dallas, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Carrollton and Plano, as well as direct access to the Red, Blue and Green rail lines. Even though Monday was the beginning of spring break for many, I was impressed with just how many people come through our center and are connected by way of Addison. Phyllis also reminded me that the station is manned 7 days a week and fares for all day passes range from $2-$10. The entire visit served to further reinforce the value of the Cotton Belt Rail Line for Addison; we are continuing to press on with our efforts to accelerate the pace of that project. I hope you all will join us for the Spring 2012 Town Meeting on Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Addison Conference Centre. We’ll provide you with more information on our status and give you a sign up opportunity to help us spread the word!
On the way home from the Transit Center I dropped by to say hello to the folks at Loving Hut, a new vegan dinner on Midway Road next to Jaxx Café and Addison Cleaners. They are still hiring staff and in their “soft” opening phase but the Won Ton soup is already great—be sure to check them out!
On Tuesday, we hosted the monthly Metroplex Mayors Breakfast at the Marriott Quorum. Our speaker was from the North Texas Tollway Authority who reviewed current and proposed projects with the group. Needless to say we have seen an increase in the proliferation of tollroads and it is simply a result of demand for improved roadways and that toll mechanisms provide the funding source.
Later, Ron and I welcomed 13 new employees to our Addison team. These are not new positions for us but rather new folks that are filling vacancies from retirements and natural attrition. In our remarks we emphasized the need to build on our Addison tradition of service excellence and the important role each of them play in the “Addison Way” by being kind and finding a way to say “yes” in their interactions with our customers.
In the afternoon I stopped by to see our friends at USAA to wish them Happy Birthday! They’ve been in Addison for one-year and we are proud they call Addison home! I also dropped by to welcome the folks at Bar Louie to Addison and to thank them for choosing Addison as the site for their national corporate headquarters; they relocated from Illinois to Addison. They plan to expand their restaurants across the U.S., and hopefully soon we can see one of their restaurant concepts soon right here in our own backyard!!
Wednesday afternoon I attended a touching and fitting funeral service and tribute for long time Addison resident Gene Bailey. Gene lived fully and well as evidenced by the comments and emotion shared by his family and friends. His sweet daughter Pam was at his side always, returning her Dad’s unselfish love these last many months as the 92 years took their toll on Gene’s health.
Wednesday evening, the District A Homeowners Association held their annual social event at the Lion and Crown Tavern, right there on Addison Circle. The Lion and Crown is under new ownership and management, and they are doing a great business with a new found enthusiasm and much approved food and service! Good luck to the Lion and Crown—you have a great spot and a great eatery! The HOA hosts greeted over two dozen residents for an opportunity to meet their neighbors. Well done to HOA board members Ginger Morgan, David Misko and Brian Nelson; thanks for including me.
Thursday, Council Members Bruce Arfsten, Roger Mellow, Neil Resnik and I were joined by our Visit Addison team of Bob Phillips and Diana George, along with Michele Hilgart and our City Manager Ron Whitehead, to help celebrate the opening of the remodeled, reinvigorated and rejuvenated Marriott Quorum Hotel lobby, reception, and restaurant and bar areas on their main floor. With a lobby full of cheering employees, community supporters and customers, Marriott Quorum General Manager Mark Brooks cut the nice big Red Ribbon to formally open the beautiful new space. Our Marriott Quorum serves as home away from home for 4 International commercial flight crews (including Emirates Airline), hundreds of business travelers and conventioneers that all bring retail dollars and jobs to Addison. Mark Brooks and the Marriott Quorum folks are also planning to make even more significant investments in their beautiful facility to better serve their customers, all of which reflects well on Addison and helps our local economy. By the way, you do not need to be a traveler to enjoy their beautiful new facility, go by for a fun break, a great meal, or just to check it out. You will realize why people from (literally) all over the world come to Addison to rest their head at the Marriott Quorum.
On over to Coffee with the Mayor at the Astoria Cafe in the Circle where we had a nice group of folks that were all interested in discussing our upcoming Bond Election as well as talking to the Addison Council candidates that are on the spring ballot (Bond and Council elections are Saturday, May 12). Council Member Neil Resnik who is seeking reelection, was joined by candidates Janelle Moore and Margie Gunther, as our attendees peppered them with great questions about their credentials and motivations for running for Council—great job by all! Don’t feel like you missed your chance. There will be a Council Candidate’s Forum on Monday, April 23 at the Addison Conference Centre where all four candidates will appear and be ready to answer your questions and give you an opportunity to get to know each one of them. More on that later, but mark your calendar for Monday, April 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the elections on Saturday, May 12!
To round out my busy Thursday evening I dropped by our Addison Conference Centre to check out, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: A Wedding Open House.” The entire Conference Centre team put together an amazing event for meeting planners, and brides and grooms, and their families, to plan and shop for their special day all in one place—and of course showcase the Conference Centre as an ideally exquisite location for weddings! With 33 incredibly talented Addison vendors participating, the event showcased everything from dresses for the bride, tuxes for the groom, photographers, caterers, florists, and jewelry and decorations. This was Addison’s first wedding open house, however, based on the smiles of the over 300 attendees who took dance lessons and sampled wonderful cake and reception food—and from the participating vendors who were delighted with the networking exposure—I suspect this new social wedding event may become part of our annual business model for our Conference Centre! If you’d like more information about how our Addison Conference Centre team can help you plan your special day, please call Elizabeth Kaminski at 972-450-6201.
Public Safety and Emergency Notification System
There are many joys to living in Texas but we always need to keep an eye on our weather. I do not need to remind you to look all around the country to recognize the calamity a weather incident can cause a community. In that regard we are very fortunate that our Fire Chief John O’Neal is a recognized expert in the field of emergency preparedness. Chief O’Neal suggests two very important and worthwhile pieces of information: The first is our March 2, 2012 Tornado Safety Blog; and the second, is we encourage EACH of you to go online and register for our Emergency Notification System—you can select alerts to come to you via phone, text or email—or all three if you prefer. It is critical that we are all kept aware of what is going on when serious weather or emergency situations occur. Registering and receiving the Emergency Notification System alerts—rather than calling our 911 Dispatchers—will allow open communication lines for those who need to communicate immediately with first responders. We put a high priority on YOUR safety! Effective emergency preparedness requires each of us to take a significant amount of personal responsibility for utilizing the very best information available to protect ourselves and our families. Please do so!!
In addition, I have been encouraged by Addison Police Chief Ron Davis to remind everyone to lock valuables in the trunks of our cars when we park. Leaving anything in our cars; cell phones, iPads, sunglasses, handbags, laptop bags, brief cases, even diaper bags. These items left in the cabin of our cars serve as magnets for car burglars. Broken car windows, lost valuables, inconvenience and insurance headaches can all be avoided by putting everything in the trunk—or better yet, take it with you.
I am sure each of us has a dozen stories about what makes our Town so special; undoubtedly most of those stories would include a special act by one of our caring employees. A recent blog posting by one of our Addison residents thanked police officer Mike Hardin for the “love note” left under his car wiper blades reminding him to close his garage door. Our officers routinely perform courtesy checks for our residents, but this is just another great example of the Addison Way. Thanks for noticing “blogger,” I know our officers really appreciate the positive feedback.
Kudos also goes out to our Addison Fire Department! They received notice that our ISO rating has improved from a 3 to a 2 putting us in the elite company of only 92 other departments in Texas with this rating. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, this rating change may lower our insurance premium costs from state regulated insurance carriers for residential and commercial fire insurance! Way to go AFD!
Have a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow—be sure to wear something green and celebrate responsibly. See you soon!
Upcoming Addison Events
Monday, March 19, 6:00 pm: Council Work Session, Town Hall
Tuesday, March 27, 6:00 pm: Council Work Session followed by our Regular Council meeting, Town Hall
Monday, April 23, 6:30 pm: Addison Council Candidates Forum, Addison Conference Centre
As always, please register for our online Addison calendar, to always be in the know about Town meetings,special events, and fun Addison happenings!