Saturday, November 19, 2016
We need volunteers that are interested in helping launch a new event that will be fun and help raise money for our Addison!
Our Addison Legacy Foundation has put together the “Run the Lights” event for Friday afternoon and evening December 2. There are multiple ways for you to volunteer and three time slots: 4:00 pm, 4:30 pm or 5:30 pm.
We want and need your help to make sure this new event is successful. Come join us and you will always be able to say, “I was there for the very first ‘Run the Lights’!” Here is the link: http://runthelights.org.
Our council meeting this last week was held on Monday evening beginning with a work session that included some very important material.
Since we now have all of our meetings in the council chambers so that they can be recorded and broadcast live, I encourage you to watch.
Our first topic included comments from our Police Chief Paul Spencer acknowledging the need for us to improve our process as it relates to racial profiling data collection and a sincere commitment to fully integrate technology into our process.
Chief Spencer has retained the assistance of the outside consultant criminologist and expert Dr. Alex del Carmen who presented his summary of his racial profiling audit where he concluded that the Addison Police Department is not in compliance with state law as it pertains to racial profile reporting.
Further, he said, “I would strongly recommend that a modified report is made for the 2014 and 2015 data and that this report, which should contain all of the revisions outlined in this audit finding (items 1-4), are incorporated.” This process is well underway and Chief Spencer anticipates reporting back to council early in 2017 with a status update.
The council was further briefed on current and future training plans that will include topics covering racial sensitivity, violence de-escalation and dealing with emotionally and mentally disturbed persons.
Chief Spencer has brought a refreshing and forthright approach to fully implementing the Community Policing model and as he indicated the need to balance the hard edge aspects of law enforcement with the new soft edge as reflected in the training curriculum for 2016 and 2017, all of which will make our community safer.
Again I encourage you to watch this video. I believe you will see and hear an earnest commitment to public safety.
Our next work session item was information related to the Town of Addison’s participation in the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS).
This somewhat lengthy and detailed presentation and question and answer session with council was very revealing.
Given the importance of this benefit that the Addison taxpayers provide for our employees and the enormous impact it has on our annual and future budgets, I urge you to watch this video (start at 43:45) as well as review the attached material.
As you will see in the report on page 24, if the council approves this COLA, it will increase our annual contribution rate by $55,695 this year and for the next 15 years for a total cost increase of $835,425.
In addition to the cost increase, our unfunded pension liability will increase from $4,542,059 to $5,074,634 or an increase of over $500,000 in one year.
As discussed at the meeting and in the video, this is all based on assumptions on future investment returns of 6.75%. In the event these assumptions are too optimistic, the Town and Addison property taxpayers are the backstop for any plan shortfalls.
This issue will be considered and voted on at our next meeting on December 13.
Our Regular meeting began with our pledge and announcements of the fun upcoming Addison events.
Our Consent Agenda was approved unanimously and included approval of final payment to McMahon Contracting for their work on the northwest channel located on the Addison airport, an interlocal agreement with the Trinity River Authority for the monitoring of wastewater for certain industrial uses, and an interlocal agreement with Dallas County Health and Human Services for coordinated health services.
Our staff presented the basic demographic parameters and strategy for our entertainment for future Addison Special Events with Taste Addison up first in May of 2017. We reviewed the strategy for improving our attendance and the demographic for our targeted audience, with the council affirming the staff’s recommended strategy.
After an extensive review of ensuring that the residential neighbors will be protected from noise disturbance, the council approved a new corporate headquarters for Knight Renovation at the southeast corner of Westgrove Drive and Sojourn Drive.
The construction of the combined office and warehouse will begin soon on this brand new building on a currently undeveloped piece of land and, once complete, will be the home for Knight Renovation and 35 of their employees.
There was an excellent dialogue and Q&A as we worked through all of the big picture as well as the details of this new plan.
The council postponed a final approval of the plan until our meeting in December so that we could all once again review the draft and give our community one more opportunity to offer input.
We have had 5 different community meetings and opportunities for input in addition to online surveys. However, due to the nature and magnitude of this plan, we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to offer their input.
I encourage you to take a look at the proposed final draft and let us hear from you.
The balance of the evening was spent in Executive Session as we completed the evaluations and reviews of our City Secretary Laura Bell and Municipal Judge Larry Dwight.
We adjourned at just past 10:30 pm.
Council member activities
All council members were present for our Regular Council meeting on Monday evening.
Council members Ivan Hughes, Jim Duffy and Al Angell joined me for the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce annual Legislative Review breakfast on Tuesday.
Council members Ivan Hughes and Jim Duffy joined me for the Meritorious Service luncheon on Thursday.
Council member Ivan Hughes attended the “After Hours with the Mayor” event on Thursday evening.
Q&A with the Mayor
Here is a question I received this week from newly appointed by BZA Board member and former P&Z Commissioner Linda Groce who was just last week appointed by council member Jim Duffy.
Ms. Groce marked copies of her email to me to all of the current council members and the three newly appointed P&Z Commissioners:
Q: “Mayor Meier, I see that you initially forgot to include Ron Whitehead’s statement in your newsletter. Did you also forget to acknowledge and congratulate the new appointees to the P&Z Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustments or do you think their willingness to volunteer and serve our city is less valuable and desirable than your hand-picked ones whose terms are expiring?
This is the response I sent to Linda after receiving her email on Saturday:
A: Linda, I did actually fail to initially attach Mr. Whitehead’s statement however, we did follow it up to all of our subscribers about 4 hours later with a new email with the attachment.
While you may have forgotten your Open Meetings training that prohibits my ability to “reply all”? Or maybe you do remember and just wanted to limit my ability to respond to you that others would see?
I did not congratulate you and the others because your appointments do not take effect until January at which time I will be delighted to acknowledge your willingness to serve again.
Mostly I expressed my disappointment with the process or lack of process used by Mr. Duffy, Walden and Angell and just how incredibly disrespectful it was of them to not at the very least acknowledge the service of the current P&Z Commissioners and BZA board members with the courtesy of an interview or conversation.
They chose the same disrespectful approach with the pool of applicants, not what I would think you would characterize as the “Addison Way”, or do you agree with their process? Todd
I have not received a response from Ms. Groce.
Unfortunately, Ms. Groce’s rancor and sarcasm are exactly why I hoped our appointment process would be more inclusive and transparent. I am hopeful we can put this divisiveness behind us very soon.
Q: Mayor, why have you not shared or provided the engineering report of Guymon Phillips that Mr. Whitehead references in his statement to the council on November 8 as the source of his estimate of $16 million on the Midway Road reconstruction project?
A: An excellent question that prompted me to do some research.
I first contacted my council colleagues Ivan Hughes and Paul Walden, who were both on the bond committee in 2012 to see if they recalled receiving a report or any conversation with Guymon Phillips.
I heard back from Ivan Hughes and he had the same recollection as mine: no report was shared nor did he have a copy of any report, and no conversation occurred.
I have not heard back from council member Walden.
I was then able to contact Guymon Phillips to see if I could learn more about our process used in 2012 to reach the $16 million estimate for the work to reconstruct Midway Road that we now know will cost $38 million.
I read the quote from Mr. Whitehead’s statement to him, “The Midway Road reconstruction is one such project. The estimate for construction came from Guymon Phillips, a registered professional engineer in Texas.”
Mr. Phillips told me that was not an accurate statement and that he did not provide an estimate for $16 million on the Midway Road reconstruction project.
Mr. Phillips is a professional engineer and former Assistant City Manager in Austin. Mr. Phillips told me he did do some very cursory work back in 2012 with very limited information that was provided to him by an intern person from Addison and that he did not produce a report.
His role was simply to look at a long list of projects and offer some advice on prioritizing projects. He was not provided any “as built” drawings or conditions reports of the subgrade. Mr. Phillips reiterated multiple times in our conversation his work was to be conceptual only, “a cursory review”.
He was paid $2,000 for what he recalled to be a $40 million dollar cursory review for the Midway Road project that he thought may have also included some underground electrical work.
His work was as a subcontractor of AGC that he expected would be involved in developing detailed and good cost estimates as part of the bond program and communication plan. That step did not take place.
Mr. Phillips said he had no idea where the $16 million dollar estimate came from, it was not his work. Mr. Phillips said over and over that there was no detail and that “if that was used as a bond election number it was a very bad decision; that was for discussion purposes only.”
He went on to say, “When I was in Austin we had a very thorough process that went well beyond conceptual and included a clear scope of work. You never give voters a low number; we would never have used what I had provided for Addison.”
So now we know the answer to the question about what “process” was used to develop the estimates provided to voters in 2012 and now it is time to move on.
As we now know, our current staff is working to develop plans for our next steps to deal with Midway Road and we hope to hear those recommendations in early 2017.
We are very pleased to announce that Stream Energy, formerly based in Dallas, will be moving into 55,000 square feet of the new 6 story Tollway Centre at 14675 Dallas Parkway.
Stream was formerly based in the Infomart on Stemmons Freeway and they will be bringing their entire upper management team to Addison.
Stream Energy is a retail electricity, wireless and security firm. The building is now fully leased as Stream Energy joins Maxim Integrated and Behringer Harvard as the major tenants.
This is a very exciting time for new office development and office remodeling in Addison! On one of the last large building sites on the North Dallas Tollway, developer Bill Cawley has announced that now that he has completed and fully leased his Tollway Centre project in Addison, as referenced above, he will begin construction at 14555 Dallas Parkway on two six- story 240,000 square foot office buildings on the former Ewing automobile dealership site.
Construction will hopefully begin soon since Cawley has also announced that Occidental Petroleum’s chemical unit will be moving into over 120,000 square feet of the building as soon as it is completed!
All great news for Addison: more folks for our restaurants, business visitors for our hotels and property taxes generated by new buildings on previously vacant land! We will keep you informed as more details become available.
I had fun on Monday being interviewed by the morning folks on CBS radio’s affiliate KVIL 103.7 about all of the fun things going on here in Addison! Click here to listen: http://morehits1037.cbslocal.com/2016/11/14/mayor-monday-we-talked-to-addison-mayor-todd-meier/
Early Tuesday morning council members Ivan Hughes, Jim Duffy and Al Angell joined me for the North Dallas Chamber’s annual Legislative Preview breakfast. As you can see from the photograph, from left to right: former state representative Dan Branch moderated for State Senator Royce West and State Senator Don Huffines.
It was a very good conversation and while you would expect significant differences of opinion since Senator West is a Democrat and Senator Huffines is a Republican, there was also agreement on several important subjects.
The legislative session begins just after the first of the year and lasts 140 days. We will see if our legislators in Austin focus on the big challenges facing our State that include Education, Transportation, Water and Infrastructure.
The council will finalize our Addison Legislative agenda in December and share it with our representatives in Austin shortly thereafter.
As you may know, the council and staff have worked together with several volunteers in our community to develop and fund a new dog park in Addison Circle that we hope to have completed by late next spring.
That is the good news.
The bad news is that apparently some folks seem to think that all of Addison is an open dog park (or their own yard) and that it is ok not to “curb their dog”. Actually, we are supposed to pick up after our dogs in the dog parks as well.
If you do not know what the heck I am talking about, great; just skip this section. If you do, then you know the problem.
We do have an ordinance in Addison that addresses picking up after pets; however, do we really think it is best use of our taxpayer dollars to direct those dollars to some sort of enforcement action? I hope not.
I have always felt like a community has a responsibility to partner with government to make the community better, not just let others take care of things. Rather, let’s pitch in, and do our part as citizens on simple things like picking up after our pets and encouraging our neighbors and others to do so as well.
Why? Because that is how we continue to make Addison a great place to live! If you have taken on the responsibility of having a pet, then you have also taken on the responsibility to be a good pet owner, which includes picking up after them.
Come on, it’s basic courtesy, spread the word. Addison has provided free bags all over town, so please use them!
Our entire Addison Legacy Foundation Board met for an almost 2-hour long Board meeting on Wednesday afternoon, making final preparations for the First annual “Run the Lights” event on Friday, December 2.
The Board, led by Chair Blake Clemens and fellow board member Bob Heckman, outlined the open event assignments and every board member was fully engaged and responsive as a volunteer to ensure the success of the event!
Special thanks to the entire Board; Blake, Bob, JJ Horan, Marlin Willisen, Tamela Thornton, Robert Kantner, Chick Martin, Ray Ryland, Janelle Moore, Debbie Staggs, Jessica Zazzara and Tom Lamberth, as well as my council colleague Bruce Arfsten.
We still need volunteers and of course, runners, so please contact us so we can get you on the team that is making this fun event happen as well as raise money for a great cause!
On Thursday for lunch council members Ivan Hughes, Jim Duffy and I joined City Manager Wes Pierson as he led our entire professional organization and several of our Addison volunteers through our quarterly Meritorious Service and annual Thanksgiving luncheon held at Fire Station #1 on Airport Parkway.
The food was fantastic and everyone seemed to be in great spirits and enjoying having the opportunity to connect with folks in other departments.
Wes worked through an extensive list of recognitions including new folks, promotions, and tenure from 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of service. One employee, longtime police officer Sergeant Phil Darnel, has been with Addison for 30 years!
As if on cue, just as Wes completed recognizing one of our Firefighter/Paramedics, the emergency alarm sounded and our guys were called out to a major accident.
The entire room paused and watched in amazement as firefighter/paramedics all over the room dropped their forks and in less than 90 seconds had three apparatus fully staffed on their way out the door to work the emergency. It was really quite remarkable to observe; needless to say, the crowd broke into spontaneous applause.
The Lion and Crown was just the right venue for our Third Thursday of the month “After Hours with the Mayor” at 6:00 pm on Thursday evening.
Our crowd enjoyed beverages on my tab and great conversation that ranged in topics from the upcoming COLA vote by council to the concern for folks being responsible pet owners.
Sounded like everyone enjoyed the visit and opportunity to get to know more of their Addison neighbors and begin our Thanksgiving celebration.
Join us next month on the first Wednesday of the month, December 7, at 10:00 am at Dunn Bros, and for the Third Thursday at 6:00 pm at Lion and Crown in Addison Circle.
Right after Thursday night’s event, I dashed over to the Athletic Club to wish our Addison Pacesetters group Happy Thanksgiving and to thank our staff for doing such a great job putting the event together for our community.
Deena and her team turned the basketball courts into a large Thanksgiving dining room with dance music and all sorts of opportunities for fun. A very large crowd expressed their enthusiastic appreciation for the continuation of this Addison tradition.
Lots of fun events coming up so be sure to check the Town website and here so you do not miss one minute!
Next week of course is Thanksgiving. Town Hall will be closed Thursday and Friday; however, a very large portion of our staff will be working to keep our community safe.
Please be sure to include all of our First Responders and folks that have very dangerous work here in our community in what is likely your very long list of thanks for Thanksgiving Day!
Friday, November 25, we will “Flip the Switch” on over 1.5 million lights at Vitruvian Park at 6:00 pm!
Come join us for an entire evening of fun, food, music and, of course, a chance to make sure Santa has you on his list.
Friday, December 2, join us for the Run the Lights event at Vitruvian Park, as a volunteer as noted above, a runner or just come out to enjoy the festivities and the beautiful lights. Festivities began at 6:00 pm.
Sunday, December 4, from 10 am-2 pm join us at our Addison Conference Centre for our annual Holiday Brunch for residents and employees. Be sure to make reservations!
We have so much to be thankful for here in Addison! Happy Thanksgiving.
See you soon,
It’s that time of year to have this meal and reflect on all the things we should be thankful for. Photo by Allen.