This has been an unbelievably mild winter so far with beautiful sunshine-filled days and yet very cool evenings. Last winter by this time we had already had three ice events. I certainly do not want to jinx us; however, moderate weather is a lot easier on our budget and our streets folks do not receive that middle-of-the-night call to service.
We were back at Town Hall for our evening of meetings on Tuesday, February 9 beginning at 5:30pm with an Executive Session to review our status on three legal matters. The first was dealing with a very large sales tax collection issue, the second was dealing with the ongoing issues related to Farmers Branch Creek at Vitruvian Park and the third was getting an update on the status of our lawsuit related to the failed wind turbine project on top of our water tower on Surveyor Blvd.
Our Work Session items included discussions about a revised public information policy, the Council calendar for the next three months and open carry regulations at Special Events. We also began our discussion on developing a funding strategy for the reimbursement of infrastructure construction for the Addison Groves project. We reconfirmed that the total reimbursement for the Town-approved public infrastructure will be made in three payments, the first of which will not be due to the developer until the successful completion of public infrastructure as approved by staff. The second payment will made upon completion of 40% of the townhomes and live/work units and the third and final payment will be made upon completion of 75% of the new townhomes. This means we have quite some time to work on a taxpayer friendly funding structure for this project before any Addison funds are needed.
City Manager Wes Pierson began our meeting with a special recognition for Ricardo Garcia as our Parks Department employee of the 2015 year. Other announcements included a reminder that we need to keep the trees in front of our homes and businesses trimmed to at least 14 feet so that the Fire Department can get through our streets. Wes also let us know that the new Municipal Court software installation was completed on February 1 and that it has put much needed new internal controls in place and will also enhance our customer service capabilities. For even better news, Wes shared that we have learned we are able to refund some of our bonds and refinance them to a much lower rate without changing the term. We are estimated to save over $2 million in debt service over the terms. We will receive more information and Council will take action later.
Our Regular Council Session began at 7:30pm with our pledge of allegiance to our Country. There were no speakers for our Public Comment Section. The Council approved a consent agenda that included the minutes for our 1/18 and 1/26 meetings; an ordinance ordering an election on May 7, 2016 for the purpose of electing three Council Members for two-year terms; a license agreement with Greenhill School for the use of an easement on school property; approval of an assignment of a ground lease at Addison Airport to Duke’s Ice House; and consent to a structural modification for leasehold improvements for Duke’s Ice House.
The Council also approved a contract with Icon Consulting Engineers for public infrastructure design services for Vitruvian phase V. This is part of the master facilities agreement that was entered into several years ago when the Vitruvian project began that required the Town to pay for these services as they are utilized. This agreement obligates the Town for up to $50 million to be paid directly as the improvements are made and are not tied to any schedule of development construction or finish out time line. The Town has already paid about $28 million for these infrastructure improvements. We anticipate the developer, UDR, and our staff will bring a complete update on the status of this project in the next 30 days or so.
Agenda item #12 was the approval of a change order to John Burns, our contractor for the undergrounding of utilities on Belt Line Road project, for $257,886.68. The change order will extend the time for contract completion, but the dollar amount is still within budget. Our staff will provide a more detailed review and update on our progress, budget and timelines for completion at a later Council meeting within the next 30-45 days.
The Council approved a resolution to enter into a contract with Gary Osier Presents for $215,000 to retain and compensate The Band Perry as our performance headliners for our upcoming Taste Addison 2016! That will take place this spring, May 13-15!
The Zika Virus is all over the world media and was also on our Council agenda. Neil Gayden, our environmental services guru, gave us a sobering report on the virus and the steps we are taking to provide public health information. Please check out these links for more information and ways you can avoid these mosquitoes. The one point of reassurance was that none of these mosquitoes have been found in the U.S. and there have not been any cases of folks in the U.S. contracting the virus while they are here. The only known cases are of travelers to South American countries. We will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed here and on our website.
The Council reviewed additional information about the new open carry laws and provided guidance to staff that suggested we develop regulations that prohibit open carry during any open public meeting covered by the Texas Open Meetings Act, such as P&Z or Council meetings.
The Council reviewed the proposed draft of the Addison Athletic Club Master Plan, making suggestions on some refinements and revisions. The Council also agreed that we need to continue to be inclusive in our process and offer more opportunities for our community to be involved in helping us review, refine and reconfirm our Master Plan before it is finalized. Our Athletic Club is such an important part of our community and we want to be sure anyone and everyone who wants to offer their suggestions is included. As Council Member Mary Carpenter, who serves on our Athletic Club Master Plan committee, reminds us, “our Athletic Club is one of the crown jewels of Addison,” So, we will keep you all involved and informed as we go forward. Please stay tuned for more opportunities to give us your feedback.
Our final Regular Session item of the evening tied right into the above, with guidance from Council for staff to develop a public information and participation program as an important component of the development and process for the development of our Transportation Master Plan. The Council also selected the Inwood Road former Beverage District as our next Special Area Study project. Staff will now develop a plan for moving that study project forward with multiple opportunities for your involvement.
We adjourned at about 10:15pm.
Early Tuesday morning City Manager Wes Pierson and Assistant City Manager Chris Terry joined me for the monthly Metroplex Mayors Association meeting at our very own Marriott Quorum hotel. Our featured speaker was my friend Betsy Price, mayor of Fort Worth. Mayor Price shared with us her insightful perspective on upcoming challenges from the legislature and the need for us to maintain a united focus on protecting each of our cities’ ability to retain local control. With her professional background in understanding real estate property tax issues, Mayor Price is an outstanding advocate for the importance of cities’ ability to determine our respective destinies, with locally elected officials making important strategic and budget decisions. It was an excellent conversation and will help us stay focused on developing our upcoming legislative agenda.
On Wednesday afternoon, February 10, Economic Development and Tourism Director Orlando Campos, Economic Development Manager Drew Dietrich and I visited with key members of the leadership team for longtime Addison-based Concentra. Senior VP of Reimbursement and Government Relations Greg Gilbert and Vice President of Real Estate Bill Demianczyk greeted us with rave reviews about everything Addison. Bill and Greg heaped praise on our entire Code and Development team as being the “best to work with.” Concentra’s location at 5080 Spectrum Drive has been their home since 1999. They currently share 112,000 square feet in the Spectrum West Tower with over 450 employees and proudly display their corporate Concentra name on the south-facing Belt Line Road side of the building. Concentra operates 308 facilities in 38 states, including a location on Midway Road also in Addison with about 120 employees providing care and support services at that location. With 8,000 employees nationwide, Concentra is the largest occupational and urgent care provider in the country, treating over 30,000 patients each day and “improving America’s health, one patient at a time.” Bill described Addison as, “The Perfect Spot,” with the best combination of amenities and location for their employees and customers. Greg added that, “Addison’s hotels, restaurants, airport and overall central location were big factors in our decision to renew our lease just last year.” Greg and Bill both commented on how pleased they were that their mayor and team came by just to say hello and thank them for choosing Addison as their home… in turn we are very proud to have Bill, Greg and the entire Concentra team with us here in Addison.
On Thursday evening Economic Development Director Orlando Campos, Mayor Pro Tempore Janelle Moore, current WaterTower Theatre board member Blake Clemens and I hosted a brief reception and an evening of theatre for a group of Addison business leaders at the WaterTower Theater. We were joined by Executive VP of Bottle Rocket David Goldstein and his wife; Sandy Rao from Airborn and his wife Sharon; Chris Kulas from USAA and his wife Nicole; Scott Baradell, CEO of IdeaGrove, and his wife Maria; Globerunner CEO Eric McGehearty; and Joe Radovic, CEO of Armor Wealth Management, and his wife Jessica. During the reception we thanked them for choosing Addison as their corporate home and we encouraged them to enjoy our WaterTower Theatre often. WaterTower Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Terry Martin shared a brief history of the Theatre and a review of the artistic process that produces their award-winning work. This event was another excellent collaboration between our Economic Development Department and our partners at the WaterTower Theater, including Greg Patterson, to weave together our cultural amenities in building long term passionate relationships with our corporate citizens.
It sounds as though some of the links in the last couple of newsletters have caused the emails to be sent to spam folders. While we are still researching how to prevent this in the future, we wanted to share links with you to those emails. Newsletters are always posted under the “News” tab on our website if you ever need to go back and refer to one.
WaterTower Theatre: This is the last weekend to see the WaterTower Theatre’s production of Lord of the Flies.
Thursday, February 18: Third Thursday Coffee with the Mayor is cancelled this month due to a conflict with our next Council Strategic Planning Session.
Thursday, February 18, 4pm – 8pm: Council Strategic Planning Session, SkyVue Room , Fiori Addison, 3990 Vitruvian Way, 13th Floor
I hope you find a fun way to enjoy our Addison this weekend.
See you soon,