April 29, 2019 Newsletter
STR Ordinance Set – Second Readings Pass
The Short-Term Rentals (STR) are set. On Tuesday evening the second reading of the UDC code passed by the same 6-3 vote. The second reading of adding a STR chapter to the city codes passed, 9-0.
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.
April 29, 2019 – Volume 12 Number 17
Monday, April 29: Early Voting Continues. 7:00am – 7:00pm.
Monday, April 29: City Council Retreat, Richard Simpson Lake House, 6021 W. Arkansas Lane, noon.
Tuesday, April 30: Early Voting Ends.
Thursday, May 2: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Saturday, May 4: Election Day. 7:00am – 7:00pm.
Tuesday, May 7: City Council Meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, times TBD.
Tuesday, May 14: City Council Meeting to canvas the vote, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, time TBD.
Thursday, May 16: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Tuesday, May 21: City Council Meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, times TBD.
From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
The Arlington City Council met this past Tuesday, April 23. All council members were present. They will meet again this Monday, April 29, at noon, for the City Council Retreat at Richard Simpson Lakehouse.
The first committee met for the Neighborhood Matching Grant Awards. $197K had been requested. $150K in taxpayer funds was available. As a result, more flowers, signs, and the like were approved last Tuesday evening.
The second committee met to discuss three items: investment policy, Local Government Pool, and debt and disclosures.
The third committee met in executive session.
The afternoon session began in executive session. The open portion of the afternoon session started on time. They began with its one work session item, about arlingtonpermits.com website and electronic plan review.
The three informal staff reports (results of the Aging Well Expo, VIA rideshare update, and Putting Technology to Work newsletter) were discussed. The city manager said it would take $7-$8 million to expand VIA city-wide. [Bull! You cannot just take the current and multiply by four. You could if all the vehicles were to stay within their quarter of the city, but since you would have trips in all directions, we must believe the cost is considerably more, or service level expectations are considerably less.] [Based on the ridership number presented, and the last open records VIA Brain Tree Report, each trip costs approximately $12-- $2 paid by the customer and $10 by the taxpayer (local and federal)].
There was an update on state legislative actions. The Council also discussed the short-term rentals (STR) “flow chart calendar” as the result of the evening's vote. For some reason they are expecting 300 addresses to apply to be STRs [?!? Highly unlikely considering the restricted area and the cost!]
The 6:30pm evening meeting saw a large audience mainly because of the STR issue.
The second reading of the update to the UDC for STRs was pulled from the consent agenda. The rest of the consent agenda passed, 9-0, with no discussions.
The UDC update passed by the same 6-3 vote as the last meeting, with Thalman, Wolff, and Shepard opposed.
The first public hearing for a planned development at 4500 W. Pioneer Parkway and 1611 W. Green Oaks Boulevard was continued.
The second public hearing was for more apartments at 715 and 735 Washington Drive. This was approved, 9-0.
The third public hearing was for 170 units, mostly small lot single family homes, on 15.3 acres at 8224 Webb Ferrell Road, 1003 Ragland Road, and 1121 Debbie Lane. This was approved, 9-0.
The fourth public hearing was for a SUP (Special Use Permit) to sell used cars at 3028 E. Abram Street. The person requesting this wanted to conduct internet sales, not operate a used car lot. It was denied, 8-1, with Glaspie in opposition of the denial.
The fifth public hearing was for modification to the UDC (Unified Development Code) regarding Hotel Design Standards. This will also drastically limit the types of hotels and in what areas of the city they can be built. There were five speakers in support, and two opposed. It passed, 9-0.
The first additional ordinance was to issue [if I added correctly] over $122 million in revenue bonds for water, wastewater, and drainage systems. It passed, 9-0.
The last item was to add the short-term rentals chapter to the city codes. Many citizen cards in support and opposition; more in support. This passed, 9-0.
There were two speakers during citizen participation. The first speaker spoke about the lack of jobs “guaranteed” to high school students. The second speak spoke about the STR item on the state level.
City Council Retreat
Today, Monday, April 29, at noon, is the City Council Retreat at the Richard Simpson Lake House. The agenda includes ten items [http://arlingtontx.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=arlingtontx_8fab0ace656c045ea927720bb502b329.pdf&view=1]. The council will be updated on numerous subjects. They usually wrap things up about 5:00pm.
The next scheduled AISD Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 2.
May 4 Election Best Choices
Mayor – ASHTON STAUFFER
District 3 – undecided (see website above for thoughts)
District 4 – TERESA RUSHING
District 5 – ANDY PRIOR
District 8 – ROBERT HARRIS
Election Day is Saturday, May 4. Early voting ends Tuesday, April 30.
The Shorthorn's Article on the 17 Candidates
Abram Street in front of City Hall is expected to be closed May 1 – June 30. [http://www.theshorthorn.com/news/section-of-abram-street-scheduled-to-temporarily-close-for-construction/article_15d8f1ba-6173-11e9-8065-d3b8f9a9a38e.html?utm_source=The+Shorthorn+Newsletter+%5B4-19-2019%5D&utm_campaign=The+Shorthorn+analytics&utm_medium=email].
Public Hearing TIRZ #5
There will be a public hearing to extend TIRZ #5 on May 7, interesting enough, after the election. TIRZ #5 is for the entertainment district. I assume [,but don't know for sure] the extension is for an additional 20 years. The council recently extended the downtown TIRZ (#1) from 20 years to 40 years.
How TIRZs work. They basically siphon money off the top of tax money going to the general fund to give to specific projects so those projects no longer have to compete for funding against the general fund (where police and firefighters are paid).
For example, let's create our own fictitious TIRZ, TIRZ #0, which is also the number of people that actual care about the taxpayers that should vote for it [zero]. TIRZ #0 will be the whole city, minus existing TIRZs. It's purpose is to encourage economic development by providing full price season tickets to Texas Rangers to all the friends of the city council. After all a happy city council is good for economic development.
So what happens is the TIRZ only contributes to the general fund to the evaluation amount that is was when it started. So the downtown TIRZ for the past 20 years has only been contributing at 1998 prices for police, fire, administration, etc., and we, the nonTIRZ taxpayer, has been making up the difference. The increases in property value over the start/first year, remember those recently received TAD statements with those gigantic increases, goes to the TIRZ to fund those special projects, which no longer need to compete against the other projects battling for general fund dollars.
So now with TIRZ #0, even with those gigantic TAD increase, there are NO additional funds to the general fund, unless the tax rate is increased. So in addition to the gigantic TAD increase, the only way police/fire raises, or any other general fund project, gets funds, is to increase the tax rate, since everyone is in a TIRZ and there are NO nonTIRZ people to make up the difference. So those season tickets for city council friends have no problem getting funding, while anything in the general fund, well, you can forget about it.
VIA by the Numbers
On December 11, the VIA pilot program began its second year. The City Council approved the second year of the pilot program [for $2.1 million] on December 4.
When the pilot started, the staff report stated it expected to reach I-20 within four to six months of the pilot’s initiation. That did not happen until September 20, more than nine months after the pilot began. The project has been a disaster and a major waste of taxpayers' dollars.
Even with its newly expanded area, it only covers about 25% of the city, meaning a majority of the taxpayers have to pay for VIA, but receive no benefit from it. All those taxpayers are paying for 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
Opinion Arlington (comment on issues of Arlington) www.opinionarlington.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) = roxeanne.thalman
district 4 (west) = kathryn.wilemon
district 5 (central/east) = lana.wolff
district 6 (all) = robert.shepard
district 7 (all) = victoria.farrar-myers
district 8 (all) = michael.glaspie
Charlie Parker Blog:
city council grades:
AISD website ....................... www.aisd.net
e-mails of the AISD board .....
whole board ..................... - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hogg ......................- email@example.com
Reich......................... - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapa .....................- email@example.com
Walton .. ................ - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hibbs ........................ - email@example.com
Mays ............ - firstname.lastname@example.org
NW Arlington Newsletter:
SE Arlington Blog
Randol Mill Park Nature Area
Texas Legislative Online
The Texas Bond Review Board ....