Saturday March 25, 2017
A beautiful Addison week with unseasonably warm weather is bringing all of our plant life to full bloom very early!
Check out these beautiful grounds right outside my window here at Town Hall.
Several of you have contacted me in the last couple of days and complained that you have received an unsolicited email from mayoral candidate Joe Chow.
I want to assure you that I have not shared my list of subscribers to the mayor’s newsletter with anyone.
We will work to determine how Joe Chow and his campaign received the list of subscribers to the mayor’s newsletter.
If you have received, or do receive, the above referenced unsolicited and unauthorized email, please let me know.
On Monday afternoon we held a 2 hour Special Meeting and work session at our TreeHouse to receive an update from staff on Phase 1 (from Marsh Lane to Midway Road) of the Belt Line Road utility undergrounding project.
Our staff presented an excellent power point presentation showing the timeline of the project from its beginning on October 31, 2014 to the present. We learned that a combination of problems with our contractor, design errors and changes, and the utility contractors have led to significant delays in completing the project.
While much of the underground work is completed, there are still many very important details that remain, including sidewalks for our intersections, ADA improvements and landscape improvements.
We hope that the various utility companies will soon complete the work of bringing their various services into the underground duct banks that have been completed so that we can soon get to the fun part of pulling down those unsightly power and utility poles.
We are still on budget and are hopeful that, working closely with the respective utility companies, the project will be completed in the fall of this year.
In related action the council decided to delay Phase 2 (from Midway to the Tollway) of the undergrounding utilities on Belt Line Road, at least until we go back to revisit ways to improve the aesthetics of Phase 1, complete the engineering study of Midway Road ensuring conformance with our recently completed Master Transportation Plan, and complete the overlay of Belt Line Road from Marsh all the way to the Tollway.
I also anticipate that when we complete our entire Town-wide Asset Management Plan we will want to review the priorities for all of our Capital Projects.
Our Agenda for our Regular council meeting next Tuesday, March 28, will include:
- more discussion and (hopefully) action from council to receive some additional technical and legal guidance on environmental issues related to the property recently rezoned from commercial to residential for 349 apartments at 5015 Spectrum Drive,
- the development of a written Transparency Policy,
- consideration of our current Ethics Guidelines with respect to council member political endorsements, and the possible development of a process of evaluating potential ethics violations.
The council will also hear a report from staff with respect to potential new sites for relocating the playground currently in the ONCOR easement, a presentation and update on our new Public Education and Governmental Channel, and the very important annual report for our Police department that will include updates on new training protocols for racial sensitivity, violence de-escalation and dealing with the complex challenges of the mentally ill, as well as the Addison Police Department’s 2016 Racial Profiling report.
I have also added an item to our agenda for 3/28 to address the unauthorized use of the list of subscribers to the mayor’s newsletter. We will see what action the council will take.
Our Work Session will begin about 5:30 and will include an update on the Midway Road project, an update on the Les Lacs Lake edge project, and final council planning for our Town Hall Meeting on April 3.
Council member activities
For our council work session on Monday afternoon all council members were present except Jim Duffy.
Council members Dale Wilcox, Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes, Al Angell and Paul Walden attended the Metrocrest Services Keyholder Breakfast on Thursday morning.
Council members Dale Wilcox, Al Angell, Bruce Arfsten and Ivan Hughes attended the ribbon cutting for our newest hotel, the Home2 Suites by Hilton on Belt line Road, on Thursday morning.
Q&A with the mayor
Q: Mayor, I received an unsolicited email from a political campaign this week. I signed up to receive your newsletter and that is all I want. I did not sign up for any political advertising. I am very upset. What can be done?
A: Please know, as mentioned above, I did not give out your email address to anyone! What can be done about the unauthorized use of the list of subscribers to the mayor’s newsletter remains to be seen. I have asked to have that item added to our agenda for this Tuesday, 3/28. We will see how the council chooses to handle the matter.
On Monday afternoon Manager of Economic Development Drew Dietrich and I visited with Maureen Tarantello and Tim Sullivan of Willis Towers Watson in the Colonnade building at 15305 Dallas Parkway.
They employ about 120 folks and occupy just over 1 full floor in that beautiful building. They are a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ as a “leading global advisory, brokering and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating back to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 40,000 employees serving over 140 countries.”
Willis merged with Towers Watson in January, 2016, forming the current structure and thankfully choosing to stay with us here in Addison.
Maureen and Tim both sang the praises of Addison, from our great location to all of the fun things to do so close by. The DFW market is one of the most productive for the company so they expect continued growth with us here in Addison.
Very early on Wednesday morning at the request of our partners at DART, I headed to Austin to testify before the Senate Committee on Transportation regarding a bill they are considering that may have some impact on our Cotton Belt Line.
Following my comments to the Committee, members asked me questions and assured me that the Cotton Belt was not a target of their efforts. We will continue to monitor the proposed legislation to make sure we “stay on track for 2021”!
On Thursday morning council members Dale Wilcox, Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes and Al Angell joined me in celebrating the opening of our newest Addison hotel, the Home2 Suites by Hilton at 4875 Belt Line Road.
This Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting event led by Chamber President Erin Carney was very well attended by Chamber members, neighboring hotel management, and friends, along with the entire onsite management and ownership team of the hotel.
On Monday evening I attended the annual Towne Lake Homeowners Association meeting at our Athletic Club to share my annual report and be responsive to their questions.
We spent over an hour together discussing everything from our recent very positive report on our financial status and clean audit to the progress on our various capital projects.
We also discussed the more challenging subjects related to the recent approval of the AMLI apartment project, environmental issues and council member accountability.
There was significant resident angst expressed about the lack of inclusiveness and the appearance that a group of members of a small particular private club, the Tuesday midday Rotary, have an outsized influence on Town policy and council decisions.
We concluded with a very positive and upbeat discussion about the Cotton Belt finally coming to Addison.
The Towne Lake Homeowners Association is a very well informed group of folks who care deeply about our entire community. I provided very positive reassurance and encouragement for them to continue to stay well informed and engaged in our process.
Please know I am happy to visit with your HOA or neighborhood group to listen to your concerns and share all of the information I have any time.
What an emotional way to start a day! Wow! The 12th annual Metrocrest Services Keyholder Breakfast on Thursday morning featured speaker after speaker reminding us of the growing need of so many of our neighbors and the fine work Metrocrest Service does in providing for and filling those needs.
Council members Dale Wilcox, Al Angell, Paul Walden, Ivan Hughes and Bruce Arfsten joined me along with our City Manager Wes Pierson, Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney, Deputy City Manager Ashley Mitchell and 500 of our neighbors that packed the Crowne Plaza main ballroom.
With so many generous folks in the room I am sure the financial goals for gifts was reached!!! A “Very well done” to CEO Tracy Eubanks and their entire team of staff and volunteers for another great event and, most importantly, “Thank you” for all you do to help our neighbors in need.
Tuesday, March 28, Regular Council meeting 7:30 pm at Town Hall. Executive Session begins at 5:00; Work Session follows. This should be a very interesting meeting. If you are unable to attend I hope you will join us “live” by watching the stream on our website.
Monday, April 3, Economic Development Luncheon with the mayor and council members. 11:30 am-1:00 pm, Remington’s Seafood Grill, 4580 Belt Line Road.
Monday, April 3, our Spring Town Hall Meeting at our Addison Conference Centre, 7:00 pm. Please plan to join us for brief presentations from each council member and your opportunity to ask each council member any question you like.
Wednesday, April 12, the Spring Mayoral and Council Candidates Forum, 7:00 pm, Addison Conference Centre.
I hope you have an opportunity to be outside with family and friends this weekend to enjoy what now seems like settled down, pleasant Addison weather.
See you soon,
Headline photo: If you’re a fan of Gotham, you may have spotted the mayoral campaign of Oswald Cobblepot, the future Penguin …