July 1, 2019 Newsletter
GM Announces an Additional $20 Million Investment in the Arlington Plant
GM has announced an additional $20 million investment to be made at the Arlington plant.
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.
July 1, 2019 – Volume 12 Number 26
Tuesday, June 25: City Council Meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 9:30am, 2:00pm, 6:30pm.
Tuesday, June 25: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Thursday, June 27: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Thursday, July 4: Independence Day
Wednesday, July 10: P&Z Meeting, 101 W. Abram St, 5:30pm.
Saturday, July 13: AMAC Chapter Meeting, Tate Springs Baptist Church, 4245 Tate Springs, 9:00am. [Association of Mature American Citizens]
The Arlington Spectator can now be found on Facebook.
Tuesday, June 25: City Council Meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, times TBD.
From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
The City Council met this past Tuesday, June 25, for regular meetings. Mayor Williams and Council Member Capehart were absent. Meetings were run by Mayor Pro-Tem Shepard.
There was one committee meeting. They discussed: a) Housing Needs Assessment and Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Study, and b) 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.
The open portion of the afternoon began late. Dr. Nunez sat in the District 5 seat.
They discussed the five work session items. The longest two were the budget preview [https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/384503/CFF_Report__FY_2020.pdf] and the update of the Texas Rangers Globe Life Field Update, taking about 90 minutes. Also discussed were Police Investigative Technology, the Kee Branch Tributary Erosion Project [citizens discussed this issue at the previous two council meetings], and the end of session legislative wrap-up.
The second informal staff report addressed the application for a federal grant to acquire autonomous vehicles for the VIA program [https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/384434/Informal_Staff_Report_FTA_Grant_Opportunity_0625_2019.pdf]. Partners would include UTA, VIA, and a yet-to-be-named autonomous vehicle company.
Mayor Williams and Council person Capehart were absent for the evening meeting. Mayor Pro-Tem Shepard ran the meeting.
Dr. Ignacio Nunez was administered the oath of office.
Executive session consent agenda items, the condemnation executive session item, the 36 appointments, the three sets of minutes and the 32 consent agenda items all passed, 7-0.
The first public hearing was for a special use permit for auto sales at 1860 W. Division. The public hearing has been continued a couple of times at the request of the applicant [to have time to try to persuade certain council members to approve the item]. It was approved by P&Z back on May 1, 8-1. This was a move from one location to further down the street, vs. an additional car dealership. This purports to be a major improvement to car dealerships. It passed, 6-1, with Moise in opposition.
The second public hearing was for RMU (Regional Mixed Use) zoning at 1201 E. Division, the location of the old Eastern Star Organization facility. P&Z approved the zoning 6-3 on June 5. There is no development plan. RMU zoning allows up to 100 housing units/acre [again, with no approved development plan] RMU zoning is recommended for 20 or more acres; however, this location is only 7 acres. The applicant asked for a continuance. It is to be heard in August.
An ordinance for the issuance of over $4.4 million of bonds passed, 7-0.
There were three speakers during citizen participation. The first two spoke about the Key Branch Tributary Erosion Project work session item from the afternoon session.
The third speaker was from the HANA homeowners’ group regarding the need for sidewalks on Park Row, specifically between Center & Pecan. She also spoke of the historic Mesquite & Center Triangle.
The next P&Z meeting will be Wednesday, July 10.
One of the public hearings is expected to be the Provident at Debbie Lane Apartments, 8150 S. Watson Road. It was continued from May.
There is expected to be a Special Use Permit public hearing for New York Avenue and Sublett Road for a drive-thru.
The Arlington ISD Board met Tuesday, June 18, to hold a public hearing on the budget and proposed tax rate of $1.29867. [If they set the rate higher than the public notice rate, they need to process through the public notice steps again. They can set the rate at, or below, the public notice rate.].
Last year's tax rate was $1.36867. The state has mandated a seven-cent drop/compression of the M&O rate ($1.04 to $.97). Based on an approximate 11.4% growth in value, it should reduce the debt service tax rate. Currently the debt service portion of the proposed tax rate is unchanged from last year.
Two citizens spoke at the public hearing feeling there should be a better budget and lower tax rate.
The board approved the budget, including a plan to keep the debt service portion of the tax rate the same, 7-0. The plan is to keep the debt service rate the same and payoff some bonds, claiming it will save total dollars on interest. [I have NO idea where this sudden interest in “total interest paid” came. It certainly was NOT around when they generated and approved the bond package. It certainly was NOT around when they decided on bond lengths. But now, to keep from lowering tax rates further than what was mandated by the state, it is important.] [So, based on the tax rate they plan to use, my total school bill will still go up by 6.28% despite the state allocating billions of dollars for school funding...] The budget includes pay increases from 2.5 – 3.0% for employees and a larger health insurance contribution.
The tax rate will be approved in August after final tax rolls come out.
The AISD met this past Tuesday, June 25. They cancelled their called meeting on Thursday, June 27. I am guessing they will next meet on Thursday, August 1.
4th of July Parade
The two-mile parade route will move east along South Street (NOT Abram Street). It begins at 9:00am. [website including route map: https://arlington4th.org/].
Medal of Honor Museum
According to an Arlington Voice story, the City of Arlington is in competition with Denver, Colorado for a Medal of Honor Museum. [https://arlingtonvoice.com/arlington/community/2019/06/26/arlington-faces-denver-bid-medal-honor-museum].
Abram Street Opens
Abram Street in front of City Hall, expected to be closed May 1 – June 30, reopened on Friday, June 28. [https://www.arlingtontx.gov/news/my_arlington_t_x/news_stories/abram_street_reopens].
Fielder Road I-30 Bridge
A portion of the Fielder Road Bridge over I-30 will be closed for repair at least through August.
Bridge Over the Tracks?
According to an Arlington Voice story, the city is in the very early stages of considering a grade separation over the tracks just south of the Entertainment District. [https://arlingtonvoice.com/arlington/business/2019/06/21/new-bridge-proposal-would-build-over-railroad].
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 25%-30% of the city, meaning most 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
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:
AISD website ....................... www.aisd.net
e-mails of the AISD board .....
whole board ..................... - email@example.com
Hogg ......................- firstname.lastname@example.org
Reich......................... - email@example.com
Chapa .....................- firstname.lastname@example.org
Walton .. ................ - email@example.com
Wilbanks ................ - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mays ............ - email@example.com
NW Arlington Newsletter:
SE Arlington Blog
Randol Mill Park Nature Area
Texas Legislative Online
The Texas Bond Review Board ....