Saturday, January 28, 2017
Beautiful weather week here in Addison, Texas. Wow! Sunshine and very mild temperatures all week in the middle of January?
I know our Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce is taking note.
Please remember that the final day to sign up for our outstanding Citizens Academy is fast approaching, so do not miss this once-every-18-months opportunity for a look behind the curtain at all that makes our Addison so special. The deadline is February 1! Sign up with this application form.
It was a drama-free night at our council meeting on Tuesday, January 24. Al Angell was absent and all other council members were present.
We began with an executive session that included an update on the litigation regarding the failed wind turbine project, as well as the beginning of our process to hire two new associate municipal judges.
Our work session included an update on the new dog park for Addison Circle with a discussion and guidance provided for naming opportunities.
The council then received an update and provided important guidance to staff on the next steps for our Inwood Road Corridor special area study.
I encourage you to take a look at this study that examined the current, less than ideal status of this area and developed some very exciting possible plans for this 60 acre area. There are 29 parcels of land owned by 24 different owners that are ready for redevelopment.
I am very pleased that we have taken a proactive approach to this area that included 15 volunteers on our study committee comprised of residents and property owners in the area. In addition to that community input we held two meetings that invited public input; over 120 folks participated in those sessions at our Conference Centre.
I believe this community input and involvement in developing our future land use policies and decisions is a critical component of our planning process.
Our third work session item was a look at possible revisions of several of our financial policies. We reviewed our reserve policy for each of our funds, a formalization of our Infrastructure Investment Fund and Economic Development fund incorporated into our tax rate, and several revisions of polices related to the accounting for old receivables.
Our Public Comment Section overflowed with speakers. We had six speakers who spoke on the need to replace the playground being removed by Oncor’s requirement, opposition to more apartments in Addison, and a recognition of the value of maintaining a healthy and sustainable compensation plan to continue to attract and retain great folks, observing that money alone does not make happy employees.
Our Regular Session included a very informative update on the pay for performance increases provided to our staff effective October 1, 2016. I have included a link below to this presentation for your review.
I believe you will find it very reassuring that now, after 3 years of work, compensation for our Addison employees is, in almost every category, at least at the midpoint for our benchmark cities.
This took a conscious and disciplined commitment from council, staff and your tax dollars to develop and implement a plan in 2013 that now has us in full recovery from a time when we were way behind our benchmark cities.
Now we can be very proud of our progress and utilize this foundation to continue to build on our Merit and Market based compensation philosophy to ensure we continue to attract and retain great folks.
Our FY 2016 total average increase was 6.70%. For FY 2017, 229 of 250 employees received between a 3% and 6% pay increase. As an example, Addison’s midpoint compensation for a firefighter paramedic is now $78,707.00 and $81,893 for a police officer, both based on a 40 hour work week.
We have come a long way and we will need to keep pace in a very competitive environment for police officers and firefighter paramedics. You can view the entire presentation here.
In other business, the council approved the minutes of our last two meetings, a resolution with Garver for airport on-call engineering services, lease extension for a hangar on our airport, and an ordinance allowing an election for mayor and council members on May 6, 2017.
Early voting runs from April 24 through May 2. You can vote early at Fire Station #1 or any other early voting location in Dallas County.
The Council also approved an economic development grant for Stream Gas and Electric and a resolution approving an agreement with Kimley-Horn for $338,000 to perform a self-evaluation and transition plan for compliance with the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA). This evaluation and plan development will begin in February and take 12 months to complete.
We adjourned for the evening at a very respectable 8:30 pm or so.
Council member activities
Council members Dale Wilcox, Ivan Hughes, Bruce Arfsten and Paul Walden joined me for the ribbon cutting for the new Skinny Pizza in Addison Circle on Monday afternoon.
Al Angell was absent and all other council members were present for our Regular council meeting on Tuesday January 24, 2017.
Filing for our May 6 local election is open until Friday, February 17, at 5:00 pm. This week 3- term former mayor Joe Chow filed, joining former 3-term council member and mayor pro tempore Blake Clemens as candidates for mayor; current council members Dale Wilcox and Ivan Hughes filed for reelection, and Lori Ward filed for council.
Q&A with the Mayor
Q: Mayor, what impact does the P&Z decision to approve 349 more apartments for Addison on the 5 acre site at 5015 Spectrum Drive have on the final decision by council?
A: An excellent question that goes to the role of the P&Z Commission.
Put simply, on rezoning requests, the P&Z Commission has an advisory role. Their non-binding recommendation is forwarded to the council for their consideration, but it is up to each council member to determine if they want to consider the recommendation and what weight if any should be given to that recommendation.
It is the council’s sole role to make a determination of the merits of the request and a final determination of the zoning change request. It is not unusual for councils in cities, including Addison, to choose not to follow a P&Z Commission’s recommendation, especially when it is a split decision.
In this particular request it will be up to each of us on council to make our own independent decision. The decision by P&Z was split; 4 in favor of more apartments and 3 opposed.
The AMLI request to rezone 5 acres of commercial property for 349 apartments is on the council agenda for February 14. There will be a public hearing opportunity for anyone to give us their thoughts on this request.
It will require a simple majority of the council, i.e. 4 votes, to approve the request to rezone for 349 apartments.
Your feedback and thoughts on more apartments in Addison has been a bit overwhelming. I apologize for not yet responding to all of you who have sent an email; it may take me a few more days. I would also encourage you to share your thoughts with my council colleagues.
As mentioned above, the proposal to rezone commercial property for 349 new apartments is on our agenda for February 14, so if you have thoughts or an opinion, you need to share them with the council now!
Here is a list of the council members’ official email addresses:
- Mayor Todd Meier: email@example.com
- Council member Bruce Arfsten: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council member Ivan Hughes: email@example.com
- Council member Al Angell: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council member Jim Duffy: email@example.com
- Council member Paul Walden: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Council member Dale Wilcox: email@example.com
We are there even when times are tough. On Monday afternoon Director of Economic Development Orlando Campos, Manager of Economic Development Drew Dietrich, Deputy Director of our airport Darci Neuzil and I visited with Joel Wolfe, Vice President of Information services at J-W Energy Company in their spectacular building at 15505 Wright Brothers Drive on the west side of our airport.
J-W Energy has been in energy services and development with a focus on the oil and gas business for a number of years, located in their beautiful 80,000 SF new building for about 7 years, and in a separate combination office building/hangar across the street that is about 18,000 square feet.
Their employment during their peak time was just short of 300 folks and now with the drop in gas and oil prices they have consolidated down to about 65 folks. Our meeting was to assure them we are supportive and want to be helpful in any way to continue to keep them here with us in Addison.
Persistence pays off! After over one year of hard work and dealing with way too many contractor issues, Skinny Pizza opened their doors with a flourish–a ribbon cutting and charity event on Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm in their new location at 5026 Addison Circle.
Working with our Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce partners, President Erin Carney and Marketing Manager Ryan Abrey, council members Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Paul Walden and Dale Wilcox attended for great pizza and to show our support for our newest entrepreneur and restaurateur!
It was a beautiful early evening for sitting on their patio or enjoying the totally remodeled, very upbeat space inside.
Their pizza is unique for Addison. This new, very hot franchise brings us New York thin crust pizza with fresh ingredients and “Pure Goodness”; no preservatives or additives, organic tomato sauce and all natural toppings. In addition they offer healthy soups, salads, piadas, gluten free and vegetarian choices.
Now that they are officially open I know many Addison Circle neighbors will enjoy the short or almost no walk, and with plenty of parking close by it is worth the drive! Show your support for our local restaurants and drop in and try some very special pizza!
The Hotcake Hustle on Saturday morning, January 21, took advantage of a weather reschedule by having it early this last Saturday with great success.
Their Fun Run, 5K, and 10K events drew over 1,600 runners on a day that was simply perfect! I was honored to be the official starter and share a few words of thanks. It’s always great to get a crowd from all over the Metroplex to enjoy and learn about our Addison.
Wednesday, February 1, 10:00 am Coffee with the Mayor, Dunn Bros. 3725 Belt Line Road. Come ask your questions and enjoy pleasant conversation with your neighbors.
Monday, February 6, 11:30 am Economic Development Lunch at a venue to be announced in next week’s newsletter.
Tuesday, February 14, our Next Regular Council meeting, 7:30 pm at Town Hall.
Looks like another beautiful Addison week ahead. Enjoy!
See you soon,
Headline photo: Young runners just waiting for the race to start at the Hotcake Hustle.