This has been a great week with our fourth Visioning and Strategic Planning Session with Council and staff for FY16-17 and making final preparations for an excellent Town Meeting this Monday evening, April 11.
On Thursday afternoon beginning at 4pm at the Addison TreeHouse on Midway Road, our entire Council and city management staff and department leadership team gathered for further work on the Town’s strategic plan and goal setting for FY16-17 and beyond. Our focus over these last four open-to-the-public sessions has been, as our facilitator has recommended, on how staff and Council become more fully integrated as a team; thinking about not just the next election, but rather the next generation; focusing on what is best for the community in the future; and, avoiding zig zags which are not good government policy stewardship.
With those sound words of guidance in place we continued to work through the process of developing staff guidance for: “What is our organization becoming and where are we going? What do we want Addison to be in 20 years?” While constantly redefining the time horizon for the next generation, we will take these four sessions of work and reduce it to very specific guidance for our staff in our next, and likely our final, session on this very important subject later this month or early next month. This strategic planning work is certainly one of the most important Council responsibilities. I am very proud of the work the entire Council and staff have put forth in this important exercise.
Next week we will begin the busy week on Monday, April 11 with our Spring Town Meeting at 7pm at our Addison Conference Centre. We will have excellent, concise presentations from each of our Council Members; hear about important new projects; and, then allow plenty of time for your questions. I hope you will plan to come join us, hear the presentations and have a good time visiting with your neighbors. We will begin at 7pm; however, you are welcome to come earlier and visit and review some of the booths and explore volunteer opportunities.
On Tuesday evening we will have our first Regular Council Meeting for April and begin at 6pm with a Work Session to complete the discussion of a naming policy for WaterTower Theatre. During our Regular Session which will begin at 7:30pm, we will have our Public Comment section; a couple of assignment consents for lessees on our airport; our annual report from our Police Chief; and, several issues related to administrative issues with our zoning ordinances.
Last week I wrote about the great success of the RevTech event that was held in three different Addison locations last week, culminating with the final day at the Addison Conference Centre. It was great to see Addison on the front page of the Saturday Dallas Morning News with a very well written story about the event, with the headline “Startups make their pitches in Addison”- all under the banner of “Entrepreneurship.” While the reporter, Melissa Repko, is new to covering this subject, she is a quick study, recognizing Addison as a hub for tech and entrepreneurship. Melissa did an excellent job of pointing out the national draw this event had as startups from New York, Cincinnati, Boston and even San Francisco made their way to Addison for the three-day event. Thank you, Melissa, for the excellent coverage!
On Monday evening I welcomed a group of over 250 investors for a monthly seminar that Addison-based George Roddy, Jr. DFW Investors held at the Addison Conference Centre. I thanked the crowd for choosing Addison for their event and gave them a quick update on all of the great things we have going on in our Town. I also praised their willingness to take risks and the important role they play in investing in our community. Another great group of entrepreneurs coming to Addison!!
On Thursday afternoon I joined our partners at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, Council Colleague Ivan Hughes and our Economic Development team to celebrate the recent remodel, Grand Opening and ribbon cutting of the 101-room Radisson Hotel at 4690 Arapaho Road. Executives Susan Mason and Brad Mason from the hotel’s parent company Carlson Rezidor joined Leo Griggs, CEO of the Hospitality Management Corporation, who oversees the operations and management of the hotel.
General Manager Chuck Hernandez gave us a tour of the beautiful, very up-to-date renovations and they are impressive. The hotel renovations include a completely refurbished lobby, restaurant and guest rooms, as well meeting space throughout. It recently received a prestigious renovation award from Radisson Corporate for their outstanding efforts. Conveniently situated in North Dallas, the hotel offers premium amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a business center and an on-site restaurant, Harvest House, which offers local Artisan cuisine. It also provides guests a 24-hour fitness center, free on-site parking and 2,400 square feet of flexible meeting facilities. All that, plus with their primo location they will be one of the best spots in Town to watch Kaboom Town!
Today at lunch Mayor Pro Tempore Janelle Moore, our liaison to the Chamber, and I represented Addison at the 62nd annual Meeting of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The event featured NewsRadio 1080 host David Johnson interviewing CEO of Toyota Motor North America Jim Lentz. As you may well imagine, everyone in the room was pleased to welcome Mr. Lentz to the North Texas area and he was effusive in his praise of our community. The new jobs and projected prosperity for our area is impressive and we know the beneficial impact will be far beyond the boundaries of their corporate headquarters in Plano. We did have an opportunity to make sure Mr. Lentz is familiar with the many assets of Addison and we will soon explore additional opportunities to connect in beneficial ways with his organization. More on this later . . .
I am a big believer in the value of persistence. After four years of working with our neighboring Dallas City Council Member Lee Kleinman, the City of Dallas staff, our staff and TxDOT, I am very pleased to report improvements at the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and Belt Line Road are on the way! Design for the project is already complete and will consist of several key elements. This project will modify the existing U-turn lane medians to allow for combined left turn only and U-turn lane. This means that there will always be two left turn lanes at each approach!!! Finally! The project will also include new lane markings, signal poles and improved pedestrian access throughout the intersection. TxDOT will be performing the process of “letting” this project this summer. When we have construction updates we will pass them along. Persistence pays off!!
It was an absolutely beautiful Addison spring day for our First Monday of the Month Economic Development Lunch at the newly remodeled (complete with a new menu) Sidewalk Café. A large turnout of nearly 25 folks joined Council Colleagues Mary Carpenter, Dale Wilcox, Ivan Hughes and me and our Economic Development team of Orlando Campos and Drew Dietrich, all to enjoy the hospitality of new owner Sue Richter and her team that includes two new Cordon Bleu trained chefs and a very attentive wait staff. Sidewalk Café features white table cloths, excellent food, fresh and healthy food, with specials under $10, and a view of our beautiful Becket Park. It looked to me like everyone enjoyed sandwiches, gyro plates and salads, as well as excellent, very friendly conversation among neighbors….lots of fun. Make plans to join us next month on Monday, May 2 at a place to be announced soon.
On Monday evening after my chat with the DFW Investors group at the Addison Conference Centre, I headed over to the Circle and the Lion and Crown restaurant to join Ilene Cohen and her Addison Circle Community Association for their first Monday evening of the month meeting. This group of neighbors has really grown, as has their knowledge and interest in all that is Addison. Council Members Mary Carpenter, Janelle Moore, David Heape, Bruce Arfsten and I were there to answer their questions and give updates. Director of General Services and Events Mark Acevedo reviewed some of the fun details of the upcoming Taste Addison, as well as confirmed that our Summer Series will remain in Beckert Park this summer! Director of Economic Development Orlando Campos gave an excellent update on our Booming Addison Economy and the important role our Addison TreeHouse plays in our overall economic development strategy. It was an excellent meeting, with some very well informed questions from our neighbors.
On Wednesday morning we had a very nice turnout of about 35 folks for our First Wednesday of the Month Coffee with the Mayor. I was joined by Council Colleagues Mary Carpenter, David Heape, Ivan Hughes and Bruce Arfsten. We covered the excellent progress we have made on employee compensation with an aggregate raise of over 26% for our police and fire employees and over 18% for the rest of our team over the last four years to finally get us to market. To fund this, we have added over $3.5 million to our recurring compensation costs and maintained our long-standing traditional compensation philosophy based on annual reviews of market and merit adjustments.
In addition I discussed the significant progress we have made by updating our policies and processes to be consistent with the Kanter report recommendations regarding our inadequate internal controls in our financial operations related to purchasing practices, cash handling at our Special events, municipal courts accounting and the training and skill set levels of our staff. I shared that we expect the final report to be presented by Mr. Kanter to our Council by the end of this month along, with a status report from our staff on progress made on addressing each of his recommendations for improvement.
There were also several questions from this very well informed group that included details about the Proton lighting plans, the effectiveness of the new crosswalk markings on Beltway, the planned asphalt overlay for Belt Line Road and others. Plus, there was plenty of time for everyone to visit! A fun event . . .
Monday, April 11, 7pm: Spring Town Meeting, Addison Conference Centre, 15650 Addison Road. Please come join us for our community-wide get together where you can chat with neighbors and hear about some of our exciting Town projects and items of interest. There will also be plenty of time for your questions.
Tuesday, April 12: Regular Council Meeting, Work Session begins at 6pm, Regular Session at 7:30pm, Addison Town Hall, 5300 Belt Line Road
Tuesday, April 12: Community Giving Day at Whole Foods Supporting WaterTower Theatre – 5% of net proceeds for the day go directly to the WTT, so please go shop!
Monday, April 18, 7pm: Council Candidates Forum, Addison Conference Centre, sponsored by Addison Magazine, Sooner Management, Pollo Tropical, South and Western, Fast Signs and the Addison Morning Rotary Club.
We are all looking forward to seeing you at our Spring Town meeting this Monday evening where you will hear about all sorts of fun and exciting things going on in our Addison. You will also be able to see and feel the confidence that “All is well in Addison, Texas”.
See you soon,