It was another beautiful week in Addison! Our tulips and daffodils are looking fantastic and the temperatures are great—I hope you can get out and enjoy beautiful Addison this weekend!
Council had a very important work session Monday evening focusing entirely on the continuation of our analysis of the Bond Evaluation Committee’s recommendations. We continued the prioritization process overlaid with the financial analysis and projected impact on our future tax rates. We learned that since it has been 12 years since our last approved Bond election, we have a reasonable capacity to add debt without a significant impact on our tax rate. The Council is seeking to balance the need to maintain and where possible enhance our infrastructure with the objective to keep our tax rate low. As we reviewed conservative financial projections it became apparent that we will in fact be able to maintain that very important balance with a basic bond package.
We then turned our focus to the specific nature of each recommendations and the anticipated pricing and cost analysis. This still preliminary project list includes street and utility improvements for Belt Line Road, Midway Road, Vitruvian streets as well as undergrounding of utilities on Belt Line Road. We are also considering projects for our Parks and pedestrian trail improvements, neighborhood street lighting improvements, crosswalks, sidewalks and bike trail improvements as well as some pavilion/stage enhancements at Addison Circle Park. We also are considering projects that will improve our technology capabilities with new communications equipment and a wireless network infrastructure and electronic signage for Belt Line Road. In addition to these basic infrastructure needs and enhancements, we are considering strategic land acquisitions for parking for the arts and entertainment district, street improvements and our airport redevelopment. As you can see these are all very basic needs that need to be addressed for us to continue to enjoy the Addison that we have.
During our Regular Council meeting Tuesday evening, we held a Public Hearing to listen to any comments or thoughts Addison folks had regarding a potential bond program and election. Speakers included local residents Lance Murray, Austin Spoonts, Mary Carpenter and Tamela Thornton. Town staff, bond attorneys and outside financial and bond consultants all made excellent presentations covering the possible financial consequences of various Bond scenarios impact on our tax rate. Each Council Member asked excellent questions that reflected the seriousness with which they take this matter as well as a depth of knowledge that will enable each to make an informed decision and recommendation. Very impressive work and again, a big Thank You to our Addison volunteers who served on our Bond Evaluation Committee.
The Council will meet again tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. at Town Hall to further review and analyze all of our options and the relative cost impacts. We will meet again on Monday, March 5, in our final scheduled work session and meeting on this subject. We we will make a decision Monday night whether to hold an election on May 12 to give all of our neighbors and voters the opportunity to exercise their right to vote approval or disapproval of the propositions at the ballot box. In the event the Council does decide to hold an n election on these possible Bond Propositions we will continue to make information available to you so that you too can make an informed decision. Of course you are welcome to join us tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. or Monday evening at 6:00 p.m. at Town Hall.
Council had a very interesting work session on Tuesday to hear from Addison Police Chief Ron Davis. Chief Davis presented his plan regarding a potential Addison Citizens Assisting Police program. The Council wholeheartedly endorsed the Chief’s plan to get more of our residents involved in leveraging the efforts of our sworn staff with the addition of well qualified and screened volunteers. Duties of these volunteers might include patrolling our many retail parking lots, working special events and helping to keep an eye on our many walking tails as well as other important duties. The Chief expects to have the program up and running by early summer. If you think you might be interested in participating please let me know.
We began our regular Council meeting with Boy Scout Sullivan Curry leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and several announcements about upcoming events. Mark your calendars for our Spring 2012 Town Meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Addison Conference Centre—please put that on your calendar now and plan to join us for some very exciting news.
The Council approved contracts for work to rewire traffic signals at three intersections in Town and for Airport ramp improvements. Marisa Perry was on hand from our Finance Office to receive the 35th consecutive Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting for our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010. This is great recognition for our entire team and it is very likely we are well on our way to the 36th such recognition! Thanks to all of our professionals in our finance office for your tremendous work!!
Deputy Mayor Pro Tempore Kimberly Lay appointed Addison resident and active citizen Roy Stockard to our Planning and Zoning commission to fill the spot vacated by Margie Gunther who recently resigned as required by our Charter so she could run for City Council. Good luck to Roy and Margie, thank you for continuing to be willing to serve Addison!
The Council also authorized additional work at our Vitruvian Park for slope protection and stabilization of the downstream weir as well as an agreement with Halff Associates for a storm water utility fee study. The Council made very quick work in authorizing our City Manager Ron Whitehead to enter into an agreement with the FAA for us to accept money for Addison airport Improvements.
Chief Davis brought us the independent report written by an outside specialized consultant demonstrating and validating that our Addison Police Department follows necessary protocol and does not racial profile. The report reviewed the training and oversights we have in place to insure we follow appropriate procedures and that we treat everyone fairly.
Marisa Perry was back to present to Council the Department of Financial and Strategic Services Quarterly Financial Review for the Quarter ending December 31, 2011. I encourage you to take a look at the very extensive report for yourself online. While it is still very early in our fiscal year it looks as though we are on budget and slightly ahead on our revenue side with a modest increase in sales tax revenue. The General Fund, Airport Fund and the Utility Fund are all much improved and we are working on plans to get our Hotel Fund headed in that same positive direction.
We concluded our evening with a very positive executive session focused on the evaluation of City Manager Ron Whitehead who has been at the helm for nearly 30 years. This has been a new process for us this year that has gone very well—we should conclude early this month.
Other Addison News
I was very proud Monday to welcome a very high profile and well respected group of over 250 government agency professionals to Addison. That’s right, I am not at liberty to say who they were or where they actually stayed, however, I did let them know that all of us here in Addison deeply appreciate the work they do helping to keep us all safe.
Before our Council meeting Tuesday night, I dropped by to congratulate the folks at Intelligent Interiors on Addison Road, and Proterra Advertising on Keller Springs, for being ranked by the Dallas Business Journal as in the top 25 largest north Texas Hispanic-owned businesses; just to let them know we are proud they call Addison home. I also dropped in on President Tina Young and vice president Susan Yost at Market Wave a marketing, public relations and design firm that has been a long time Addison creative presence in the Madison building on the Tollway. I let them know we have a new marketing and communications director, Carrie Rice that is taking a fresh look at all that we do in that area. I also encouraged Tina and Susan to check out the many opportunities to become active with the Metrocrest Chamber and the Addison Business Association.
Wednesday, I went by to see Kenneth Kracmer, managing partner at HCK2 Partners, a great Addison-based Public Relations firm. I stopped by to thank them for their recent help and work on some of our social media and on our new online calendar, http://www.addison2012.com/. HCK2, led by Heather Capps, have been great partners with Addison and we really appreciate their help—great folks! Since HCK2 is located at 16775 Addison Road, I thought it might be a good idea to stop in across the street to welcome the Riata Group, a new Addison business that is just moving into and doing fantastic improvements to the building at 16803 Addison Road. I met with Julie Fincher and Amanda Trinh both of whom are responsible for the coordination of the move and beautiful improvements. The Riata Group is a locally owned, private company that has holdings all over the world in everything from oil and gas exploration and oil field services to restaurants and entertainment. The have 85 employees here at their international headquarters in Addison and over 1,000 more spread all over the world. This is a very family oriented and operated business…I mean “very”—they have 12 married couples in their group of 85 local folks! Drive by sometime and check out the amazing landscape work they’ve done in front of the building…this goes a long way to help beautify Addison! Just take a look at this landscaping–wow!!
Council Members Neil Resnik, Roger Mellow, Bruce Arfsten, Chris DeFrancisco and I cut the ribbon for the new Lazaranda Mexican Seafood Grill on Thursday. Owners Antonio and Mario were on hand to give us samples of their fantastic food and hospitality that they are bringing to us from Monterrey, Mexico. Their concept is to bring fresh seafood along with healthy sides made with fresh local produce and prepared to individual tastes. Attendees at the ribbon cutting raved about the food; I plan to head back soon to their very convenient and high-profile location at the southwest corner of Belt Line Road and the Tollway. I encourage you to go give it a try, remember supporting our local Addison businesses is good for all of us!
Friday morning, Council Members Roger Mellow, Neil Resnik, and Bruce Arfsten, and several Town staff, read Dr. Seuss books to students at Bush Elementary here in Addison–lots of hugs and laughs were had by both adults and students!
I spent time Friday with our Orlando Campos, our Director of Economic Development, working on a couple of very exciting projects that we hope to develop into real opportunities for Addison. For competitive reasons we need to keep these projects confidential for now but stay tuned. I also had time to drop by and thank the volunteers from our newest restaurant in Addison—Raising Cane’s—as they worked to spread rock for the pathways at our Community Garden. Raising Canes will be cutting their ribbon Thursday March 8 at 9:45 a.m. so come by and join us for the fun as we welcome yet another new business to Addison…they are located at 4100 Belt Line Road.
Council will meet tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. at Town Hall for our final work session to help us make a final determination on whether to call for a Bond Election on May 12. Council will vote on issue this Monday, March 5 at Town Hall—the meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.
One quick reminder: I have a few spots left at my table if you would like to join me at the annual Metrocrest Social Services Breakfast at 7:15 a.m., April 10 at the Marriott Quorum. Or, if you would like to be a table host of your own table just let me know and we’ll get you in contact with the good folks at Metrocrest Social Services.
All for now, I hope you and your family have a great week enjoying all of the many benefits of living in Addison!