This is a date that if you are old enough to read this newsletter, you will always pause and remember where you were. Hopefully you will also use it as a reminder to be so thankful for the men and women we have who serve as our first responders.
Our Tuesday evening Work Session began with an item to discuss and understand the meaning of “Sanctuary City” and a confirmation of Addison’s policy. Police Chief Spencer gave us an update that reflects that our current and past policies have been entirely consistent with following all of the Federal Government guidelines and laws. The Chief explained that there is no clear definition of the term “Sanctuary City” and it is a media-created term that generally refers to cities that protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainers or otherwise impede open communication and information exchange between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents. Chief Spencer confirmed that there is no resolution or guidance from Council or staff to ignore Federal Laws. Our policy is to verify immigration status for any person arrested and booked into the Addison jail and respond accordingly to any direction from ICE. The Council confirmed that we do not want to become a “Sanctuary City” and confirmed the current policy for Chief Spencer.
Our second Work Session item was a review of a staff proposal to address our current appointment process for our P&Z Commission and BZA Board. The Council has observed that over the last 12 months or so, with the significant amount of new folks joining our Boards and Commissions, the orientation process was very costly and time consuming since the appointments all occurred at different times sprinkled throughout the year. The staff’s proposal would permit us to have a more formal and inclusive process which would synchronize terms so that all appointments for the year are made on the same date. We reviewed the staff’s recommendation and provided feedback for a few revisions. We hope to bring the item back very soon for Council action.
Our Regular Council Meeting began on time with our pledge and a few announcements. Director of General Services and Events Mark Acevedo shared with us the early success of advanced ticket sales and hotel package sales for our upcoming Oktoberfest event that will begin this next Thursday with our annual “Tap the Keg” event. We also had reminders that our Fall Town Hall meeting is coming up on Monday, October 19 and that we just have two openings left to fill out our Citizen Academy class.
There were no speakers during our Public Comment section this week.
Our consent agenda approved our minutes and a resolution authorizing us to enter into an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program Grant to help insure the safety of our streets targeting enhanced traffic enforcement.
The Council unanimously passed a resolution nominating former Council Member Blake Clemens as a candidate for the Board of Directors of the Dallas Central Appraisal District. Blake is now a nominee and will seek the support of a majority of the 23 other cities he would represent as a member of the Board if he is elected in October.
To begin our regular items, we presented a proclamation declaring September 12, 2015 as Chocolate Day in Addison in honor of the Chocolate Festival to be held at the Addison Conference Centre on Saturday, September 12. We followed that with a proclamation declaring September, 2015 as Blood Cancer Awareness Month in Addison and we were honored to be able to present that to 42-year cancer survivor Tony Garcia.
Police Chief Paul Spencer and Deputy Fire Chief David Jones joined together in presenting our highest honor and award – our Life Saving Award – to Addison Police Officer Ryan Williams for his quick action in applying a lifesaving tourniquet to a motorcycle accident victim who had suffered a severe leg injury on August 2, 2015. Congratulations Ryan, you make us all so proud. In this day and time when law enforcement professionals across the country are reminded almost daily of the perils of their work, it is great to have an opportunity to thank Ryan and all of our Officers for what they do protecting us. This is also a great opportunity to let them know we have their back.
The Council approved a resolution adopting a policy for granting license agreements for the private use of the public right of way in Addison Circle. This policy creates a process for businesses in Addison Circle to apply for a license to use the public right of way in front of their respective businesses. The Council adopted a policy that created parameters for the license applications, as well as the process to be used for their consideration. The Council arrived at a policy intended to enhance the retail businesses in the area and improve the overall ambience and walkability of the neighborhood. The resolution has a “sunset” provision that requires that the policy be reviewed in one year to examine its workability and to check for any unintended negative consequences.
Vice President of Development at UDR Tom Lamberth brought us an excellent update on Vitruvian Park, which UDR developed. We have linked his PowerPoint here for you to see for yourself. The positive financial impact on our Town and aesthetic enhancements are rather obvious. What hopefully is equally apparent is the important public-private partnership that exists with Addison and UDR as we work collaboratively to build a whole new community and weave in all of the amenities of Vitruvian Park into the fabric of our entire Town. As you can see from the photos, the recent improvements that the Town made to the Vitruvian Park amphitheater were a huge success during the Salsa and Vitruvian Nights events this summer.
The Council and staff have been working on our FY16 Budget since May. We’ve had many meetings and excellent conversations, both before the City Manager turned in his proposed Budget on July 31 and many more good meetings and conversations since. We also held two Public Hearings, several Public Comment sections and numerous coffees and neighborhood conversations. As a result, the Council approved the City Manager’s revised Budget for FY16 with a 6-1 vote. Council Members David Heape, Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Mary Carpenter, Dale Wilcox and Todd Meier voted in favor of the motion to approve and Council Member Janelle Moore voted in opposition to the motion. I have included the summary of the revised Budget for FY16 here for your review without any additional editorial comment from me. We have also linked the final presentation in an outstanding series from Interim CFO Cheryl Delaney for you. I will add kudos to our City Management team, and specifically to Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney for serving double duty as our Interim CFO during this process. Also, a special big shout out to Assistant to the City Manager Caitlan Smelley and Senior Budget Analyst Paul DeBuff for handling all of our “curve balls” and requests for data and information in such an amazingly timely and professional manner.
Our next agenda item was consideration of an ordinance establishing the tax rate for FY16 to fund the approved City Manager’s revised budget. The Council approved a motion establishing our property tax rate for FY16 at 57.9150 cents per $100 of assessed value. The impact on our average homeowner who saw their average ad valorem value increase after exemptions from $258,203 to $269,455 will be an increase of about $9.16 per month. Voting in favor of that motion were Council Members David Heape, Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Mary Carpenter, Dale Wilcox and Todd Meier. Voting in opposition to that motion was Council Member Janelle Moore.
Agenda item 14 was consideration and action on an ordinance ratifying the property tax increase reflected in the Town’s annual budget for the fiscal year commencing October 1, 2015 and ending September 30, 2016. Council Members voting in favor of that motion were David Heape, Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox, Mary Carpenter, Todd Meier and Janelle Moore.
I encourage you to take a look at this link to the video of the comments made by each Council Member regarding their thoughts and deliberations reflected in these votes. I believe you will all agree that independent of the outcome of this process or vote, every Council Member was respectful, thoughtful and clearly did what each independently felt was in the very best interest of Addison.
Agenda items 15, 16 and 17 reflect a significant amount of work by our staff in updating important parts of our Town ordinances. Fire Chief O’Neal brought us updates in our Fire protection and prevention ordinance that have not been reviewed in over 10 years. Revisions to our property maintenance and signage code that have not been updated for a similar 10 year period were developed with our City Attorney Brenda McDonald working collaboratively with Director of Infrastructure and Development Services Lisa Pyles and Assistant Director of Development Services Charles Goff. Finally the Council also approved revisions, updates and increases related to the development and utility permitting process, more closely covering our costs so that taxpayer are not subsidizing the developers. These fees have not been updated since 1982. The Council unanimously approved all of these revisions and updates and they will be brought forward for formal adoption in the coming weeks.
The Council convened in Executive Session to review the City Manager search process, the status of the Farmers Branch Creek issue and conditional zoning requests for the former Sam’s Club property.
What a great way to celebrate Labor Day! A large group of Addison lovers, including Council Colleague Mary Carpenter and P&Z Commissioner Jim Robinson, showed up to support one of our newest Addison businesses on Monday, September 7. Over 22 of us made the day for the good folks at Fast and Furious Japanese Grill at 3761 Belt Line Road. Our group represented the largest portion of their business on what ordinarily would have been a pretty slow holiday lunch crowd. That is exactly what we are trying to accomplish with our Economic Development Luncheons on the first Monday of each month. Thanks to all of our Addison folks who came to share their day off with us and help support our local businesses. It was lots of fun.
Our Addison Hilton Garden Inn, located at 4090 Belt Line Road, just completed a multi-million dollar update and renovation. That is the kind of reinvestment in Addison that prompts me to make sure I go by, take a tour and say thank you. So yesterday I dropped in to see Vice President of Equinox Hospitality Adam Suleman, the hotel owners and operators, and his management team General Manager Tiffany Ramirez and Director of Sales Selina Darwin. As you can see from the photos, the renovations are complete and look fantastic! They have also expanded their food service to include hot breakfast options and a diverse dinner menu. Each and every guestroom was updated with all new furniture and fixtures and beautiful new paint and carpet. In fact, that goes for the entire hotel! The meeting and conference rooms look great and will accommodate business meetings of sizes up to almost 50. The hotel not only looks great, but it is operating at well over 90% occupancy, with most week days sold out. This hotel has deluxe accommodations and amenities that include not only food service, but also an outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. Congratulations to Adam and his entire team on a job extremely well done. We are so pleased to have Adam and his Equinox Hospitality team with us here in Addison. They really are helping us build and enhance our brand.
On Tuesday of this week, Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney and I helped host our area Metroplex Mayor’s Association meeting and breakfast at our Marriott Quorum. Our speaker for the morning was none other than one of our own members, Mayor Mike Rawlings with a Dallas Update. Mayor Rawlings began with a discussion of the status of the Dallas budget process, indicating that while their ad valorem values were up very nicely, almost 7%, they were struggling with a recognition that back in 2008 and 2009, they did not provide sufficient dollars to maintain infrastructure and now many of their streets need large financial reinvestments. “Lots of potholes.” He discussed their shift to begin to look at policy development on a neighborhood basis rather than a city-wide basis; both Love Field and DFW are doing quite well; the odds of the high speed rail project actually happening have improved; they continue to place a high priority on resolving the Trinity Parkway issues; DISD remains one of the largest challenges for our entire region; and cities need to understand and develop policies on “Sanctuary Cities.” Mayor Rawlings also acknowledged the importance of all of us continuing to work together with regional view and doing all we can to help our entire DFW “neighborhood.”
On Friday morning, September 11, I had the honor of welcoming a unique gathering of single-engine, high-performance airplanes and their owners at the Hotel InterContinental as the 2015 Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) came to Addison. Over the weekend we will have 160 extra aircraft parked throughout Addison Airport, a first for our airport. As you can see from the photos, there are planes parked in every nook and cranny, but we are very pleased to have this group in town.
I wanted to let you know that we received confirmation from Walmart to use the former Sam’s parking lot for our Fall Community Garage Sale on Saturday, October 3. This is always a favorite event for our residents, so I wanted to share the date so you can mark it on your calendar.
In the next few weeks, Texas Campaign for the Environment kicks off its door-to-door campaign. This organization is licensed by the state and its representatives are not considered “solicitors.” They typically are in the neighborhoods in the early evenings, so I just wanted to make you aware that you might receive a knock on your door in the coming weeks.
Saturday, September 12, 10am – 4pm: Dallas Chocolate Festival, Addison Conference and Theatre Centre.
Thursday, September 17, 6pm: Third Thursday of the Month Coffee with the Mayor, new location! Taco Borracho, 5004 Addison Circle. In response to several suggestions that we spread the Addison love around, we are having this month’s get together at this fun, still relatively new, Addison Circle business. There will still be great, open conversation, with plenty of time for your questions.
Thursday, September 17, 8pm: Oktoberfest Official Keg Tapping Ceremony. Come join us to Tap the Keg as we open the 28th annual Addison Oktoberfest in the big white tent in Addison Circle Park.
Don’t forget to vote for Addison’s Oktoberfest in the USA Today’s contest. Here is the link – please vote early and often!
See you all next week at Taco Borracho on Thursday evening for our Coffee with the Mayor and then immediately after to Tap the Keg for our 28th annual Oktoberfest!