Saturday May 6, 2017
Thank you very much for the honor of being your mayor.
For those of you who may not have voted yet, please take time to do so today. This is your most direct opportunity to be involved in selecting the leadership of our Town and your choices will affect all of us for a very long time.
The future of Addison is quite literally in your hands today. For those of you who have already voted, thank you for your thoughtful and, I am sure, well researched participation in our process. Later today the results will be announced, electing a new mayor and a new group of council members. The voters will have spoken.
My best of luck, good wishes and full support to those that win.
And to those who did not, thank you, too, for your important participation and passion to serve our Town.
There was no council meeting this week. The next council meeting will be Monday, May 15 or Tuesday, May 16, depending on the availability of the official results of the election today.
Whenever that meeting is held it will be for purposes of canvasing the votes and swearing in the new mayor and council.
As many of you now know, April 25 was my final meeting as your mayor. During that meeting I was presented with a very nice crystal recognition piece and I made a few parting comments.
Several of you have asked for a copy of my notes for those comments, so I have included them here as part of my final message to you as your mayor.
“This will be my last Regular council meeting. Due to calendar confusion, I had May 9 as the final meeting. It was on my calendar as it is the second Tuesday of the month.
We have made great progress over the last 6 years, in so many areas and in so many ways:
1. Transparency; We have elevated awareness of its importance to our community and recognition of the critical role Transparency plays in building and maintaining trust.
It takes personal commitment and hard work:
Writing a newsletter every week, like a 2,500 word term paper.
12 Town Hall meetings, Spring and Fall, with an emphasis on important information for you and with open microphone time.
50 Economic development luncheons with informational and informal Q&A time.
144 Mayor Coffees or After Hours with the Mayor, with informational Q&A time.
37 HOA meetings, information and coffees.
Lots of Public Hearings and open meeting time; inclusive at every opportunity.
Public Comment section added to every Regular agenda.
Video and cable TV of all of our meetings and work sessions.
Being responsive to all of your emails, phone calls and text messages.
Visits at the grocery store, gym.
Even knocks on my door at home.
Fulfilling my obligation as a Public Official—two-way communication.
I hope we embrace continuous improvement for Transparency; it will serve us well.
2. Code Enforcement; no longer “just a Hobby”
We now have a serious commitment to maintaining and protecting our Addison brand.
3. Financial Services Department was in serious need of reform. The council fully embraced a process to review each part of what we did and make major revisions in how we protect and keep track of our tax payers’ money—your money.
While there were several surprises and disappointments along the way, the council and City Manager worked together closely to develop new internal controls and best practices. The result is evident in our most recent audit.
4. Community Involvement. We threw open the doors to Town Hall!
A welcoming attitude and encouragement of volunteers and new ways to connect with Addison.
Tapping the immense intellectual capital of our Town.
Community Partner Bureau, Addison Addvocates, ACAP (Addison Citizens Assisting Police).
Thousands of volunteer hours that not only save us money, but even more importantly, create a more intimate connection with our Town.
5. Business Development; a new concept and responsibility to Addison when I became mayor in May of 2011.
I took this very seriously and personally. This is where I spent the bulk of my time as your mayor, focused on the 5 Pillars of our Addison economy; rejuvenated, diversified and vibrant!!!
Airport Master Plan leading to our new South East Quadrant $20 million private investment and new development.
Office space; fill what we have and build more! Tollway Center full and broke ground on new 420,000 foot office complex.
Hotels; reinvestments by most of hoteliers and 2 new ones to total 24.
Restaurants; 180+, new concepts and a very small percentage of vacancies.
Addison TreeHouse; 100 new companies and new ideas and amazing energy all the time!
Those are our 5 Pillars and now maybe we can add a 6th Pillar?
The Cotton Belt is finally coming to Addison and with it amazing economic opportunities for us. There is a Special Area Study to position us to be ready to anticipate those opportunities.
Results speak for themselves:
$3 Billion to $4.4 Billion in property values, 90% commercial.
Over $1 million per month in sales tax revenue.
Provides more amenities for our residents and better compensation for our employees at a lower tax rate of 56 cents on $100.
If not for the growth in our economy and the commercial property values, our tax rate would need to be 80 cents instead of our current 56 cents to provide the current levels of service we now have for just 56 cents.
So many to thank, starting with the Good Lord for looking after me every day!
WE have accomplished so much together:
Past and current council colleagues, past and current P&Z members, BZA members and so many volunteers.
I recognize Bruce Arfsten for his service; very sorry I will not be here on 5/15 to congratulate you on 6 years of service. Well done!
Thank you, too, Ivan Hughes and Dale Wilcox for your service.
So many thanks to our staff, an exciting group of talented, smart, hardworking young folks who care about Addison.
Caitlan Smelley, Karla Horton, Mary Rosenbleeth,
Deputy City Manager Ashley Mitchel, new, experienced and making an immediate impact,
Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney, instrumental in helping to implement the many necessary changes and improvements in our Financial Services department; calm and steady during some challenging days of City Management transition.
Hamid Khaleghipour, Director of IT and cool new things, multiple hats, New Dispatch and Radio Center, critical during our transition of City Managers.
Michael Kashuba, Director of Parks and Recreation, another one of our Rising Stars, taking a big picture look at all of our parks.
Lisa Pyles, a huge job dealing with our current and future Infrastructure challenges and projects, weaving our way through the Wind Turbines and other missteps that occurred before Lisa joined us.
Fire Chief David Jones, long time Addison firefighter paramedic, came up through the ranks, gets it, wonderful family.
Police Chief Paul Spencer; very proud to have known Paul for a very long time, another star leader who has risen through our ranks, very important job, everyone can be a critic. Paul understands the challenges, embraces change and new ideas such as Community Policing; another wonderful family.
City Attorney Brenda McDonald, challenging job and brings experience and a strong will and understanding of her role.
Orlando Campos, taught us Economic Development!! From Village on the Parkway to Addison Town Center on the West to Vitruvian Park on the south to Methodist Hospital, MyCon and major new office development along the Tollway. Had a very limited budget, not writing checks, selling value. Addison teamwork creates that value message. All departments create that Economic Development success. I worked a lot with Orlando–a good man, we are very fortunate to have him.
Someone who is no longer working with us, yet came at a critical time and with his experience, calm demeanor and wonderful sense of humor brought us stability in our transition, Interim City Manager Charles Daniels.
Finally, with us since December, 2015, with his youth and enthusiasm, wonderful family and outstanding work ethic, an important sense of purpose and ability to Look Ahead, City Manager Wes Pierson.
A wonderful staff.
Thank you also to so many volunteers and supporters. I never felt like I was doing this on my own. In fact, all of them reinforced my commitment to always do what is best for Addison.
Special thanks to Paula Jandura. I met Paula while on P&Z over 12 years ago. We became friends and she has been my Treasurer since the beginning.
There are many reasons to aspire to serve on council and be a part of Addison community service, not the least of which is that you will meet and become friends with so many really great people along the way.
So many other supporters and volunteers to thank. Not enough time and I will slight some if I name a few.
Special thanks to my entire family; my son, daughter in law, grand kids, daughter, extended family, nieces, nephews, all great support and help. Thank you all.
Special thanks to Nelly, I could not have been mayor of Addison without her help and support. Her intellect, caring nature and love helped every day!
Now on to the rest of our meeting.”
On Tuesday morning Police Chief Paul Spencer and I welcomed the 73rd Annual National PAL Conference 2017 to Addison at our Crowne Plaza Hotel.
This Conference, put on each year by the National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Inc., has developed new tools to enhance the effectiveness of Community Policing with mentor programs and training programs for youth in our communities across the country.
We were very proud to let them know they are all very welcome here with us in Addison for their 4 day conference.
Public School 972 is a fun schoolroom-themed gastropub and patio offering American dishes, plus beer, wine and cocktails, located at 14854 Montfort Drive in Addison!
The perfect place for our final Economic Development luncheon with the mayor and council on Monday of this week. Council members Angell and Hughes joined me with a packed house of Addison residents enjoying the beautifully finished out new restaurant and fun lunch choices.
I spoke for just a moment, thanking everyone for their participation in helping support our restaurant community; then Director of Economic Development and Tourism Orlando Campos gave us an update on our robust Addison economy.
On Wednesday at 10:00 am we convened my final Coffee with the Mayor at Dunn Bros at 3725 Belt Line road. The standing room only crowd gave me the opportunity to thank them for the honor of being their mayor as I also encouraged them all to vote and to encourage their neighbors and Addison friends to vote as well.
We took just a moment to look around at all of the very positive changes that we have accomplished over the last 6 years with a heavy emphasis on our rejuvenated, reinvigorated and revitalized Addison economy and the significant improvement we have made in compensation for our Town employees.
While I was very pleased to have council colleagues Dale Wilcox and Ivan Hughes join us, I was disappointed that the other council members missed this opportunity and so many others to listen to the questions and concerns of our neighbors.
Over the last six years and 144 events like this one, I have enjoyed listening to the concerns of my neighbors and the folks I work for. I have always felt like that was a very important part of my job as one of your elected officials and it is also one of my favorite responsibilities.
My sweetheart, Nelly, the First Lady of Addison the last 6 years, is working with our Athletic Department and Pacesetters staff to provide some new free programs for you.
Nelly has spent the last 6 years at Brookdale in Plano working with people in different stages of cognitive impairment and memory loss. Nelly has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is a recent graduate of the Brain and Behavioral Sciences School at the University of Texas at Dallas, with a Master’s degree in Cognition and Neuroscience. She was recently certified by PAC (Positive Approach to Care) in recognition of her training and demonstration of her skills for dementia care and training for family members and caregivers.
Nelly is forming a primary family caregiver’s support group and will soon begin experiential classes at the Athletic Club that include practical tips and skills as well as hands-on practice for improving the life experiences of both people living with dementia and their care partners. Please click below if you would like to be informed of the specifics for these free classes and the support group details.
Thank you very much for reading our Addison Mayor’s Newsletter. Whether this is your first or one of many, I really appreciate your readership, feedback and encouragement over the last 6 years.
A special thank you to the many who have sent me or called me with questions of the mayor and information that have helped enhance the value of our newsletter. This newsletter has often been a collaborative project with our readers.
We have shared almost 1 million words and along the way I hope you have found the information informative and on occasion entertaining.
I hope we will continue to focus on doing what is best for Addison. I know I will find additional ways to work with you and continue to make our Addison a very special place.
Below you will see a fun short video of just a handful of the fun memories I have as your mayor. Thanks to Nelly for all of her help, including putting this video together for you.