October 14, 2019 Newsletter
Both Big Items for Tuesday's Agenda Are NOT HAPPENING!!!
The Evening Meeting Agenda Says 5:30PM (not the normal 6:30)
The evening agenda for Tuesday, October 15 came out. The two items that were to be on that agenda ARE NOT THERE.
The second reading for the 331 apartments on Hwy 360 at Debbie Lane will NOT happen until October 29 now.
The public hearing for the city's first RMU (Regional Mixed Use) zoning, 1201 E Division is NOT on the agenda. RMU zoning allows for apartments up to 100/units without a development plan approval [a blank check I hope never gets approved].
Arlington is a city where citizens are relegated to being spectators rather than players. The SPECTATOR helps citizens know what is happening on the field. Only the few on the in-house team are allowed to play ball in Arlington. The SPECTATOR helps citizens understand the game.
October 14, 2019 – Volume 12 Number 39
Monday, October 14: Columbus Day Holiday.
Tuesday, October 15: City Council meetings, 101 W. Abram Street, 9:45am, 2:00pm, 5:30pm.
Wednesday, October 16: P&Z meeting, City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 5:30pm.
Thursday, October 17: AISD Board meeting, Administration Building, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Monday, October 21: Early Voting Begins.
Tuesday, October 29: City Council meetings, 101 W. Abram Street, TBA.
Thursday, October 31: Halloween.
Friday, November 1: Early Voting Ends.
The Arlington Spectator can now be found on Facebook.
From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
The next regularly scheduled city council meeting will bet this Tuesday, October 15. The first of three committee meetings will begin at 9:45am. The afternoon session begins in executive session at 12:15pm. The open portion will begin no sooner than 2:00pm. The evening meeting is at 5:30pm.
The first of three committee meetings is scheduled to begin at 9:45am. They are scheduled to meet for no more than 30 minutes and their agenda item is the naming of facilities.
The second committee meeting begins at 10:30am. There are three topics: CDBG Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program, the Block Party Ordinance, and the Housing Tax Credit Policy.
The final committee meeting is in a different conference room and all the subjects are scheduled to be discussed in executive session. It begins at 11:15am while the second committee meeting is going on. The agenda includes city-owned property at 200 N. Cooper, discussing leasing property from Exelon along Lake Arlington, and the always popular Offers of Incentives to Business Prospects.
The afternoon session begins at 12:15pm in executive session. The agenda includes seven executive session items, including the three that were discussed in executive session of the third committee meeting. A couple of the other executive session agenda items are a legal discussion of SB 1004 and SB 1152, and discussion of the Theresa Tennerson lawsuit.
The open portion of the meeting will begin no sooner than 2:00pm. The agenda includes four work session items and two informal staff reports.
The four work session items:
1) Housing Tax Credits
2) Connect Arlington (transportation)
Transportation Advisory Committee Report
3) 2020 Census Outreach Program
4) Gas Well Post Production Inspection
Informal Staff Reports
1) Median Nose Markings
2) Tree Trimming Contract Tabled at the Last Meeting
The evening meeting starts at 5:30pm, not the normal 6:30pm.
The agenda includes two executive session items, three sets of minutes, 20 consent agenda items, one ordinance, and two resolutions.
Consent agenda item 8.6 is $855K for continued asset management software licensing.
Item 8.9 is a modification to the $8. 4 million Ditto Golf Clubhouse, adding another $1.3 million for kitchen equipment, audiovisual equipment, and security. [Weren't these items already budgeted in the original? Why were they so underfunded?] [ https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/448738/Rev-SR_Ditto_Golf_Course_-_Kitchen-AV-Security_equipment_Change_Order__1__BMA_.pdf ]
Item 8.12 is the second reading of the 331 apartments at Hwy 360 and Debbie Lane. They have a request for it to be at the next meeting, no reason given.
Item 8.16 is a resolution in support of Arlington's “Bee City” application. It will cost $750 if the application is accepted [what a waste of money no matter the cost—what do we get for this cost? We get to say we are a “bee city”. That and a $1.08 might get you a drink at McDonalds, if the sale is still on.]
Item 8.18 is a modification such that the city will now be contributing between $25K-$30K to Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (DAMC) to meet payments on contracts. [ https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/448734/Resolution_in_Support_of_Arlington_Bee_City_USA_Designation_Application_SR_10.15.19__2___2_.pdf ]
The first resolution at the end is item 12.1, a corporate welfare deal with Six Flags. They will use the old Texas Rangers Corporate Offices for their corporate offices. [ https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/451856/SR_Six_Flags_Chapter_380_Agreement_10-15-19__BP_10-9___3_.pdf ]
This is the ONLY time that I have seen Six Flags get any corporate welfare from the city. [It may have happened, but I've never seen it.]
The second resolution at the end is item 12.2, is the tree trimming contract the city council tabled from the last meeting. The afternoon session informal staff report explains how the 28% higher bidder won. This has happened in the past on other contracts. The problem is simply they weigh the other factors that are part of the formula far more than price. The afternoon informal staff report:
[https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/451478/Informal_SR_FINAL__003_.pdf] The evening staff report: [ https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/446037/19-0137_Staff_Report_-_Final_-_nocc.pdf ]
The next P&Z meeting will be this Wednesday, October 16. They will also have only one public hearing zoning case for a Special Use Permit (SUP). That SUP is for a restaurant with a drive through at 2121 E. Lamar. The SUP is required since it is in the Entertainment District.
The next board meeting is on Thursday, October 17, 7:00pm.
The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.
The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.
The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water, quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historical sites while not increasing the rate of the sales and use taxes.
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.
The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.
The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.
Tarrant County College District Proposition A [For/Against] The issuance of $825 million of bonds and notes for the purpose of constructing, improving, and renovating and equipping school buildings in the Tarrant County College District, and the levying of a debt tax in payment thereof. [bond information: https://www.tccd.edu/community/2019-bond-election/]
ARLINGTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSITION A [FOR/AGAINST]
The issuance of $966,000,000 of bonds by Arlington Independent School District for the acquisition, construction and equipment of school buildings and the purchase of school sites and school buses and levying the tax in payment thereof.
[bond info: https://www.aisd.net/bond2019/].
[Texas Score Card Opposition: https://texasscorecard.com/local/arlington-isd-wants-966m-bond-on-top-of-billion-dollar-debt/].
I have been asked for an opinion on the items:
Prop 1 – very slight lean FOR, because I believe it helps smaller communities, possibly saving on increasing costs.
Prop 2 – AGAINST, why should other areas of the state help pay for certain groups, just not fair.
Prop 3 – FOR, allowing local governments choosing to give property tax relief to disaster victims.
Prop 4 – FOR, prohibiting an individual income tax.
Prop 5 – AGAINST, creates another level of funding where items do not have to compete against other items.
Prop 6 – AGAINST, oppose tax dollars going to charities.
Prop 7 - ??? - still researching, leaning against until done.
Prop 8 – AGAINST, getting into flood infrastructure business is an expensive,, and very bad idea.
Prop 9 – FOR, the exemption of ad valorem taxation on certain possible precious metals.
Prop 10 – FOR, because for some reason this a problem preventing this from happening already.
TCC Prop A – AGAINST, though they have not issued debt in 25 years, they wasted so, so much on a downtown campus. The taxpayers' percentage of expenses keeps going up.
AISD Prop A – AGAINST, though this has less “fluff” than the 2014 bond, we still feel abused from 2014. They have unnecessarily kept the debt service portion of the tax rate high, just so they can say they will still raise taxes but not the tax rate.
Abram Street Construction Continues
The expected finish is now May 2020. [http://www.theshorthorn.com/news/abram-street-rebuild-project-deadline-extended-to-may/article_c16cb7ae-e577-11e9-a911-17162a5a64bd.html].
VIA by the Numbers
On December 11, the VIA pilot program began its second year.
VIA's August 2019 Service Update to the city council shows that over 1/3 (37%) of the survey participants thought their experience was POOR or NEEDS IMPROVEMENT!!! [https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/403687/Presentation_-_Via_Rideshare_Update_080619.pdf#page=11].
It only covers about 30% of the city, meaning most of the taxpayers have to pay for VIA, but receive no benefit from it. All those taxpayers are subsidizing something that competes against the private sector Lyft and Uber services.
The Spectator . ...ArlSpectator@yahoo.com
The Arlington Voice (online newspaper covering Arlington) www.arlingtonvoice.com
City of Arlington website www.arlingtontx.gov
e-mails of mayor and council
mayor = jeff.williams
district 1 (north) = helen.moise
district 2 (sw) = sheri.capehart
district 3 (se) = marvin.sutton
district 4 (west) = andrew.piel
district 5 (central/east) = ignacio.nunez
district 6 (all) = robert.shepard
district 7 (all) = victoria.farrar-myers
district 8 (all) = barbara.odom-wesley
city council grades:
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Reich......................... - firstname.lastname@example.org
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NW Arlington Newsletter:
SE Arlington Blog
Texas Legislative Online
The Texas Bond Review Board ....