It was a busy week with our Town Meeting, Council Meeting and a beautiful rainbow over Addison.
On Monday evening we held our annual Spring Town Meeting with well over 180 folks in attendance. At about 6pm the skies got very dark and opened up with a heavy downpour. I was concerned that the weather would discourage folks from coming; however, just in time the sun came out and we ended up with a beautiful rainbow over Addison to greet our neighbors for our event that began just a few minutes past 7pm. We did livestream the event and it is also in our video archive, so if you missed our very positive meeting you are welcome to check it out here. After a brief welcome from me and reminder that all of us on Council serve with a heart for community service, I introduced Council Member Mary Carpenter who celebrated our many volunteers and their generous donation of their time to Addison. Mary gave us a quick update on the many successes of the WaterTower Theatre and on the success of our sustainability and new recycling programs. She also gave us an update on the Addison Athletic Club Master Plan and additional ways for the Town to receive more feedback from our community before we proceed to the next steps. Council Member Bruce Arfsten was up next with his review of the excellent work the Arbor Foundation is doing, from installing public art to planting lots of trees. Bruce also covered his work with the RTC on transportation and emergency preparedness as well as highlighted some of the early results of the new NTECC, our combined dispatch center with Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Coppell.
Council Colleague Dale Wilcox demonstrated his passion for fiber and the technical advantages of upgraded fiber for Addison. He also gave us a quick update on our capital projects including the Winnwood Pond desilting project; Les Lacs water well rebuilding and transfer piping system upgrades; and the construction and development plans for the next phases of Vitruvian Park. You can register to receive regular email updates on these and other projects here. Council Member Ivan Hughes followed with his presentation that included an explanation and recognition for our Community Partners Bureau volunteers and a thorough review of the next steps in our Master Transportation Plan. Ivan emphasized the importance of community involvement in this plan that will literally shape Addison for many years to come.
Our Deputy Mayor Pro Tempore David Heape shared with us the remarkable demographic picture of Addison, highlighting our median age of 32.5 years young and highly educated, and that with high quality development we will continue to attract a more diverse and educated population. David went on to update us on the undergrounding of utilities on Belt Line Road, the resurfacing of Addison Road and coming construction on the North Dallas Tollway. David is also one of our airport liaisons and he continued his presentation with an update on the numerous upgrades we have made to our airport and the next steps in finalizing the Airport Master Plan.
Since Mayor Pro Tempore Janelle Moore became very ill right before our evening began, I had the opportunity to recognize the excellent work of the Addison Legacy Foundation, from their recent donation of a people/pet fountain in our parks to a video announcing the refurbishment of our old Fire Engine #30 to making plans for our Big Idea of a park/pedestrian crossing over the Tollway to connect east and west Addison.
I covered the definition of our customer service model called the Addison Way and the important role it plays in making our community unique and special. I also covered how our traditional compensation philosophy that is based on Market and Merit increases for each employee is critical to motivate and reinforce that culture of customer service. Alignment of our customer service philosophy and compensation philosophy are critical to maintaining our superior customer service culture and attracting and retaining employees who embrace that culture. My presentation also included a reporting of the actual numbers that reflect that Council added $581,377 to the FY16 Budget for compensation for our employees which has been allocated by our City Manager to provide 5% increases to our sworn police and fire personnel and 2% increases for our civilian employees. The aggregate increases over the last four years equal $3.5 million added to our annual compensation budget and equates to 26.51% increase for police officers, 26.64% for our firefighter/paramedics and 18.19% for all of our civilian employees. Based on an outside independent market survey and study, our compensation for our employees is now at market.
Before we began our Q&A section I invited City Manager Wes Pierson to join me in front of the room. As he made his way to the stage I reintroduced him and shared his extensive background and qualifications to be our City Manager, as well as reviewed the extensive process the Council went through in finding Wes. Wes made a few brief remarks and then we headed into the questions. They ranged in topics from rescued baby ducks and the service levels of the new dispatch system to the future of stop signs on Beltway and, one of my favorites, “What is going to happen at the old Sam’s site?” One of the other questions prompted comments about the ethics of elected officials endorsing candidates. I assured the questioner that it is permissible. For clarity’s sake on this issue I will quote from a recent memo sent to the Council from our City Attorney: “I wanted to remind each of you about the Town’s Code of Ethics contained in Chapter 2 of the Code of Ordinances. Section 2-93(11) specifically applies to campaign activities and I have attached it for your reference . . . . Section 2-93(11) however, specifically allows each member of the City Council to lend his/her name and official city title (Mayor or Councilmember) ‘in connection with any election for public office or in connection with any election ordered by the Town on a proposition or measure.’ ”
These twice a year Town Meetings are a great way to remind us no matter what we do well, we can always improve our communication. We concluded well before 9pm with a very upbeat recognition that all you need do is Look Around and you too will know All is well in Addison.
On Tuesday evening we began our Council Work Session at 6pm with a very good discussion about the naming rights policy for the Addison Theatre Centre. We also received an update on our Master Transportation Plan with initial survey results from our two meetings at the Conference Centre and the online surveys. We discussed our process of including more folks from our community by way of appointments to an advisory committee. As a result, if you have an interest in serving on this very important committee, please contact any one of us on Council and we will provide the brief application and synopsis of the committee member expectations. We anticipate making these appointments at our next Council Meeting on April 26 and then the committee will begin their work at their first meeting on May 12.
Our Regular Session began at 7:30pm with recognition of the outstanding work our Director of Public Communications Mary Rosenbleeth and Assistant to the City Manager Caitlan Smelley did in helping us host a very successful Spring Town Meeting. Announcements from our City Manager Wes Pierson included letting us know that the State Comptroller’s office has sent us notice of a routine audit of our Municipal Courts system. The Comptroller has jurisdiction over that portion of their revenue stream that flows through our Municipal Court system. Wes also let us know we will be celebrating Earth Day on April 23 at our Community Garden and that details are on our Town website. Our Spring Garage Sale will take place on Saturday, May 7 at a new location! We will be set up with all of the fun and opportunities to sell, buy and recycle at Addison Town Center, right in front of Crunch Fitness just east of the Kroger store. Applications for booth space can be found on our website.
Our Public Comment section included a request from resident Guillermo Quintanilla to expedite his request for the release of a document he has requested and the presentation of a check from the Addison Legacy Foundation by Board Chair Blake Clemens for the reimbursement of the cost for our newest people and pet fountain recently installed at Celestial park.
Stacy Love, our volunteer coordinator, was presented a proclamation declaring April 11-16, 2016 as National Volunteer Week in Addison, Texas. While it is certainly appropriate for us to recognize this week in a special way, it is pretty clear that volunteering is an all year round activity in Addison. Stacy’s team of volunteers has committed more than 28,000 hours since the inception of the program, equating to over $600,000 in value to our Town!
Our consent agenda included approval of a resolution adopting the naming rights policy for the Addison Conference Centre that will give the WaterTower Theatre the opportunity to raise funds by offering benefactor’s a chance for name recognition that can be displayed in various locations within the Theatre. The Council also approved a budget amendment that adjusted the employee count in our budget for FY16 by 5 FTEs. The employee count was the only adjustment to the budget, the funds for those positons will come from savings and efficiencies. The final consent item was an approval of a name change on a lease for one of our current tenants at the airport.
The regular items on the agenda included the approval of an ordinance amending the sections of our ordinances to revise the terms of office of existing and future members of our P&Z Commission and our Board of Adjustments in order to align terms in accordance with recently adopted City Council policy. Our policy and ordinance were revised so as to have terms end on a calendar year basis and to facilitate a more orderly transition, coupled with consistent orientation and training for new members.
Our next three items are intended to continue our efforts at making Addison even more business friendly by approving an ordinance revision that will allow our P&Z Commissioners to have final plat authority and bringing clarity to our landscape ordinances.
Our final agenda item for the evening was a presentation regarding the 2015 annual Report for the Addison Police Department presented by our Police Chief Paul Spencer. We have added a link for you here to review the Chief’s report and I encourage you to also watch the video. The Chief began his report by reminding us that it is for 2015 and that the reporting for 2016 will be much better, with more complete and useful data. He suggested that some of the uptick in a few of the categories is attributable to his new initiatives and more aggressive approach resulting in more arrests. He also noted that in terms of traffic violations there are more warnings written than actual citations.
The Chief noted that we currently have positions for 64 officers and that we only have 4 vacancies, with a number of interested applicants in the queue. He shared that compensation and benefits are no longer an impediment to hiring qualified officers and that our compensation packages are now competitive in the market place. The Chief also reviewed several new initiatives and programs that will make our community even safer including a Neighborhood Watch program that resident Tom Schaeffer has helped initiate, the Chief’s procedural justice training program, Best Practices reviews and implementation and an organization-wide emphasis on Community Policing and pushing crime mitigation. Parts of the Community Policing and Outreach program include not only the Neighborhood watch programs, but our Coffee with a Cop program, social media, Addison Citizens Assisting Police and other new and creative ways to engage our entire community. It was an excellent report that provided reassurance that we are certainly on the right path with the new leadership we have in our Police Department.
The Council also covered two Executive Session items before we adjourned for the evening. We reviewed the next steps in finalizing the infrastructure reimbursement agreement with the developers of the Addison Grove project and a real estate issue related to the property the Town owns at 4460 Belt Line Road.
We adjourned for the evening before 9pm.
Election reminder from our City Secretary Laura Bell
Early voting begins on Monday, April 25 and runs through May 3. For early voting all precincts can vote at the Central Fire Station at 4798 Airport Parkway or any Dallas County Early Voting locations. For a list of these, visit the Dallas County election website. Here are the hours:
- Monday, April 25 – Friday, April 29: 8am – 5pm
- Saturday, April 30: 8am – 5pm
- Sunday, May 1: 1pm – 6pm
- Monday, May 2 – Tuesday, May 3: 7am – 7pm
Election Day is Saturday, May 7. Polls close at 7pm and results will be posted shortly thereafter at fire station #1 on Airport Parkway and Addison Road. On Election Day, residents will need to vote at the location that corresponds to their precinct number:
- Precincts 2900 & 2901: Addison Fire Station #2, 3950 Beltway Drive
- Precincts 2902, 2903, 2904, 2905: Addison Fire Station #1 (Central Fire Station), 4798 Airport Parkway
If you don’t know what your precinct number is, you can look it up on the Dallas County election website.
Early Tuesday morning City Manager Wes Pierson, Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney and I helped host our colleagues for the monthly Metroplex Mayors meeting at our Marriott Quorum hotel. After a very good reminder from our representatives at the NTTA to avoid Distracted Driving, we heard from the Director of Dallas Water Utilities Jody Puckett. Jody impressed upon us the future challenges of meeting our regional water needs as we continue to grow the area population. Her basic point was that the only way we can actually meet the future demand is the addition of new reservoirs and the ability to conserve and reuse at least 25% of our demand.
Later on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm Council Colleagues Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox and I joined our staff at our pavilion at Addison Circle Park to help launch and celebrate Taste Addison 2016 with a food and fun preview. Invitations with the theme that every flavor strikes a chord were extended to various food writers and bloggers to be our judges at the “Taste: The Competition 2016.” We had eight restaurants participate and each of the participant’s owner or chef spoke for just a few minutes to introduce their restaurant and whet our appetite with an explanation of the details of their respective food entry for the contest. Entrants included Blue Mesa Grill, Lazy Dog Restaurant, Stadium Cafe, Rio Mambo, Sidewalk Café, Table 13, Thai Orchid and Union Park. Also, a special thanks to our beverage partners Anheuser Busch and The Wine Group for coming out as well! As you can see it all looked good and the reports are that it tasted even better. You can get your Taste Addison advanced, discounted tickets now at TasteAddisonTexas.com and residents can even buy your Tasty Bucks during the month of April at the Finance building or the Athletic Club to avoid any lines.
On Thursday afternoon I dropped by our Addison Conference Centre to support and express our appreciation to the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce for holding their 2016 Business Expo in Addison! With 53 tables for sponsors including our very own Economic Development team of Natalie Rogers and Drew Dietrich, this event was heralded by the many business folks I had a chance to visit with as “a Great Success,” “This really got us in front of lots of potential clients,” “The seminars were really helpful, I got some great ideas.” Sounds and looks like the Metrocrest Chamber is doing quite well under the leadership of President Erin Carney and her team. Thanks again for choosing Addison for your event!
Saturday morning was a perfect day for us to celebrate the annual MS Walk at Addison Circle Park. I was honored to read a proclamation and share our support of their outstanding fund raising event with the very large crowd that included over 3,100 walkers, runners and folks making it around in wheelchairs right before the Walk began at 8:30am. All of these early morning supporters were truly making a difference with their participation as over $420,000 was raised to battle MS!
Saturday evening our Marriott Quorum did an excellent job as the host site for the WaterTower Theatre’s annual Gala as they begin their 20th anniversary celebration. Our entire Council joined me, Mayor Pro Tempore Janelle Moore, Deputy Mayor Pro Tempore David Heape, and Council Members Mary Carpenter, Ivan Hughes, Dale Wilcox and Bruce Arfsten, along with our staff member Natalie Rogers, to show our unified support of this Addison icon and all the folks involved who help make the WaterTower Theatre such an important part of our Addison culture. Congratulations to Gala Chair Barbara Daseke, Gala Co-Chairs Laree Hulshoff and Deborah Staggs, Honorary Chairs Barbara and Bob Bigham and all of the outstanding performers that made for the best Gala yet! Well done.
Our very active and successful Addison Legacy Foundation recently cut the ribbon on their new pet/people water fountain in Celestial Park – the same one mentioned above for which the Legacy Foundation reimbursed the Town $7,000 at the Council Meeting earlier this week. Here Board Chair Blake Clemens is joined by fellow Board Members Janelle Moore, JJ Horan, Chick Martin, Bob Heckman, me and, of course, one of our newest 4 legged “customers.”
Monday, April 18, 2016, 7pm: Addison Candidate Forum, Addison Conference Centre. Sponsored by Addison Magazine, Sooner Management, Addison Circle Community Association, South & Western, Fast Signs, The Addison Morning Rotary Club, with food provided by Pollo Tropical.
Thursday, April 21, 6pm: Third Thursday of the Month Coffee with the Mayor, Sidewalk Café at 5030 Addison Circle. The coffee is on me! Come bring your questions and conversation as we meet with our neighbors to take about all that is Addison.
Coming Earth Day Events
Friday April 22, 3pm to 5pm: Bitter Sisters Brewery, 15103 Surveyor Blvd. $20 admission includes an educational tour of the brewery, 3 drink tickets and pizza. Half of the price is tax deductible and goes toward Arbor Foundation landscaping and art projects. Drink tickets not used can be saved for future visits to the brewery.
Friday April 22, 10am – 9:15pm: Raising Cane’s, 4100 Belt Line Road. Mention the Arbor Foundation and 15% of your order will go to landscaping and art projects in the community.
Saturday, April 23, 10am – 11:30am: Community Garden at the Addison Athletic Club. Bring your children of all ages to decorate their own container and plant their own Texas native and adaptive plant! Cost is FREE for Addison residents. Register at the Addison Athletic Club or call (972) 450-7048.
It was great to see so many folks this week at our Spring Town Meeting event – the vibe was very positive as I believe we all see just how fortunate we are to be in Addison Texas. Just look around and we can see that things are very good.
See you soon,