The day started off for me with a meeting of the apartment managers in the north. There were 13 properties that were represented at this quarterly meeting. The reason that I was there had to do with a program associated with Roquemore Elementary students. This school is listed as academically unacceptable, and the level of parent participation in the students education is not adequate. Roquemore doesn't even have a PTA. Addressing the apartment managers was an effort to get the property owners involved in recognizing the importance of education in the students lives, that live in their complex's. If we can get the property managers to knock off a few dollars of rent, because of a good report card or perfect attendance, then we can inspire these students to continue to achieve. We are also approaching local businesses in the area for their participation.
Then it was off to City Hall for a Council Day. Meetings at 12:45 with Chesapeake Oil and Gas, and the Meditation Center Buddhists and a committee meeting for Community and Neighborhood Development. The topic of the Committee was Short Term Rentals in Arlington. Because of the Super Bowl this subject has caused some problems in the last 3 years. Essentially the behavior of the renters at these properties has affected the residents in the neighborhoods. One 30 year resident is putting his house on the market because of this problem. The fact that we have a successful entertainment district in Arlington also contributes to this problem. The Texas/OU weekend was the worst example of offensive behavior, and disregard for neighbors that we have seen so far. Forty cars jammed the neighborhood streets with at least two students per car. The party lasted for two days. It was a mess, but the owner of the house could care less. He continues to rent the house to anyone with money. Our efforts in committee are three fold. 1) Identify all properties that want to rent their houses for less than 30 days. The city will request that these properties be registerd with the city and obtain a permit. 2) Insure that if they are operating as a hotel in a single family dwelling that they pay the 27% hotel tax to the city for that privilege. 3) Hold the owner of the property responsible for the behavior of the renters through legal means and then revoke his/her permit if this behavior continues. Of course this is all subject to Council approval.
Following this Committee Meeting we had our afternoon work session and an evening session. What was significant about these sessions was the brief by the Fire Chief on a Citizen Emergency Notification System. Sometimes this is called a reverse 911 system. Essentially, to date the technology is not sufficient to successfully accommodate our needs here in Arlington. Chief Crowson was unimpressed with the level of effectiveness of the available systems. Other cities that have adopted these systems are apparently not satisfied with the effectivenes of their capabilities.