August 12, 2019 Newsletter
City's Budget Process Begins
A copy of the city manager's presentation to the city council can be found here:
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.
August 12, 2019 – Volume 12 Number 30
Monday, August 12: District 2 Town Hall, South Police Center, 1030 S.W. Green Oaks Boulevard, 6:30pm. Guest Speaker: Mayor Williams.
Tuesday, August 13: City Council Budget Meeting, City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 1:00pm.
Tuesday, August 13: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 Pioneer Parkway, 5:00pm. Special meeting to put the $966M (that’s MILLION) bond on the November ballot.
Tuesday, August 20: City Council meetings, 101 W. Abram Street, times TBA. First Public Hearing on the tax rate.
Wednesday, August 21: P&Z meeting, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 5:30pm.
Thursday, August 22: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Tuesday, August 27: District 1 Town Hall, Lamar High School Auditorium, 1400 W. Lamar Boulevard, 6:00pm.
Wednesday, August 28: District 4 Town Hall, West Arlington Police Service Center, 2060 W. Green Oaks Boulevard, 6:00pm.
Thursday, August 29: Budget Town Hall #1, South Police Center, 1030 S.W. Green Oaks Boulevard, 6:30pm.
Thursday, September 5: Budget Town Hall #2, City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 6:30pm.
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From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
The Arlington City Council met this past Tuesday, August 6. All the council members were present. They will meet again this Tuesday, August 13 for more budget talks, and to establish the public hearings.
The first committee learned of Vision Zero, which is aimed at eliminating traffic deaths, kinda like saying I will not sneeze/cough/hiccup.
The open portion of the afternoon meeting started with a budget discussion that lasted almost two hours. They will be reducing the tax rate by a little over a penny to $0.624 (from $0.6348). Property tax evaluations were up by 10.3% meaning the current rate was above the rollback rate $0.629839.
One of the low points is that they are increasing the funding for VIA from under $1 million to $1,865,226. They hope to expand the coverage zone in January to include most of southeast Arlington and a small expansion to the Park & Ride at Park Springs and I-20.
Water & sewer rates will change. The variable rates on water usage will be the same. The fixed monthly portion will go up slightly. The increase for sewer is a bit more, and is on the variable side, from $4.75 to $5.13.
Republic services will be raising their charge $1.07 (I believe that means $1.16 with sales tax.) Most of the increase is due to recycling. [Now is the time to contact your council people to suggest a change to the pickup schedule, for example, maybe recycling once/month instead of once/week.]
One of the informal staff reports was an update on the VIA rideshare program. One of the council people asked about satisfaction. Amazingly, the staff talked about their impression of the results of the app. Well, maybe not so amazingly. Part of the material presented included survey satisfaction results, which stated 37% said POOR or NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. [That is over 1/3 of the people surveyed.]
So here we are, all of us, paying dearly for a service available to only about 1/3 of the people, where many of the “regular” users are non-Arlington residents, and where the fares collected pay for less than 20% of the service costs.
Page 11 of the 17-page VIA Rideshare Presentation has the satisfaction results: [https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/403687/Presentation_-_Via_Rideshare_Update_080619.pdf#page=11].
All council members were present for the evening meeting. There were 36 appointments to boards and commissions; many were council members to positions. The executive session item and council minutes were approved.
There was one consent agenda item pulled (the SUP for BMG Auto Group). One citizen was opposed to the Southwest Restaurant Equipment Abatement Deal (third time it has been changed/extended). The consent agenda, minus the one pulled item was approved, 9-0. After a lengthy discussion and questioning of the owner, the item was approved, 6-3 with Williams, Moise, and Capehart opposed.
The first public hearing is now scheduled to be heard on October 15. It is the RMU zoning at 1201 E. Division Street.
The second public hearing was for the 7100 block of Ledbetter Road to approve single family homes on a site which includes a plugged gas well. It had been approved by P&Z, 6-1, after the developer did extensive soil tests. The council tabled the item to have staff conduct more checking with authorities.
The third public hearing was for an independent senior living facility at the northeast corner of Bowman Springs and I-20. There will be 200 apartment units on the 9.3-acre site. Buildings will be as tall as five stories, two stories higher than anything else in the zip code and a concern of the neighboring residential communities. The realtor was present in support, and the one card opposed chose not to speak. It passed, 9-0. [There are two phrases that should not appear together are “5-story” and “senior living facility.” If there is a fire, elevators shut off, I sure hope firefighters can find time to put out the fire after sprinting up and down stairs assisting seniors to safety.]
The fourth public hearing was for a potential land swap with the AISD. AISD wishes to build a new/replacement Carter Jr. High School on the property known as Helen Wessler Park and swap the land of the current Roark Elementary School. A public hearing is required since this is park land. The resolution to approve passed, 9-0.
The ordinance allowing taxes to be collected for the Texas Rangers in the new ballpark, passed 9-0. It allows for the collection of the 10% ticket tax and $3 parking tax. There was one nonspeaking citizen opposed.
The resolution for TIRZ#1 to pay for the $50K for the West Street Underpass Mural had one speaker opposed, stating he would prefer half a police officer. It passed, 8-1, Sutton opposed.
The consideration for a public hearing was for zoning case PD19-4, at 8150 S. Watson Road near Debbie Lane. It did not pass P&Z, as the motion to approve did NOT receive a second. The development plan was for 331 apartments in an area already inundated with apartments. The future public hearing was approved, 9-0. Dr. Nunez asked staff to include information about all the apartments on the Grand Prairie side in that area.
There were four speakers during citizen participation.
The first speaker, a journalist, spoke in opposition of the mayor’s frequent comments that there are no journalists in Arlington. [Amazingly, the mayor ignores/refuses to answer questions from the newspapers and newsletters within the city, then complains...]
The second speaker, the owner of the Arlington Voice, spoke of issues surrounding trying to get press releases from the city.
The third speaker was reporting a problem where he and his neighbors are suffering property damage from vehicles leaving the roadway near New York Avenue & Green Oaks Boulevard.
The fourth speaker spoke about drainage project issues.
This Coming Tuesday
The council will meet for more budget talks. After that they will approve calling public hearings for the budget and tax rate. The meeting is scheduled to start at 1:00pm on the third floor of City Hall.
P&Z met this past Wednesday, August 7. There were four public hearings on the agenda.
The first public hearing was PD19-7 for the proposed Mariposa Apartments on W. Harris just east of Cooper Street. This will be an independent senior living facility with 180 apartment units on 12.5 acres. All the apartments met the UDC size requirements. It failed.
The second public hearing was PD19-8 for the proposed West Division Lofts at 3104 W. Division Street. This will be 75 apartment units on 7.3 acres. All the apartments met the UDC size requirements. It failed.
The third public hearing was PD19-9 for the proposed Bardin Apartments at the northwest corner of Bardin Road and Matlock Road. This will be 112 apartment units on 7.35 acres. All the apartments met the UDC size requirements. P&Z tabled this item.
The fourth public hearing was PD19-10 for the proposed Reserve at New York at 6011 New York Avenue just south of East Sublett Road. This will be 84 apartment and/or townhouse units on just less than six acres. All the apartments met the UDC size requirements. P&Z denied the item.
The AISD Board met this past Thursday, August 8. They approved a tax rate, including the mandatory seven-cent lowering/ compression on the M&O side and no relief on the debt service side. The new rate is $1.29867. Even with the tax rate deduction, the typical AISD taxpayer will be paying on average 4.4% more than last year.
The board has a meeting scheduled for this Tuesday, August 13, 5:00pm to place the $966M (that’s MILLION) bond package on the November ballot.
Their next meeting/work session will be Thursday, August 22.
Arlington Voice HyperLoop Story
West Green Oaks Water Project
The water project affecting traffic on West Green Oaks Boulevard is scheduled to be completed before the start of school.
Fielder Road I-30 Bridge
A portion of the Fielder Road Bridge over I-30 will be closed for repair at least through August.
Our US Congressman
Ron Wright is battling [and winning] lung cancer. He is in his first term of Congress.
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 began, 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 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.
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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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