Thursday, June 27, 2013

Arlington Tomorrow Fund

This is a touchy subject but it needs to be addressed.  The reason that it is touchy is that the Mayor wants one thing and the Council has to approve it.  Two names were offered to the Council for approval and the Council voted 6-3 to table both nominations.  The reason for putting the names on the table, instead of voting on them is simple.  Due to the size of the fund, ($100 million) there is a discussion of capping the fund and using the proceeds that are above the cap.  If that is done and there is $15-20 million to be used annually.  Should that expenditure be used by the ATF as it is currently comprised?  Or should we reconstitute the ATF to acutally be the City Council?  Or should the ATF only deal with the interest, and the principal above the cap moved to another fund with Council oversight?

Having many questions of this magnatude, the Council called for a special meeting to address these issues and many more concerning ATF funds/composition.  That meeting will be held on August 14th.  It made sense to me that we should not vote on the appointment of members to the ATF until after that meeting.  I brought this up in the afternoon session over a month ago but the Mayor wanted to go forward with the nominations.  So the Council voted to table the approval of the appointments.  The individuals that were nominated are both remarkablely capable and the tabling has nothing to do with their individual qualifications.  Each will be voted on if the ATF remains in its present form.   

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I have been wanting to tell all of you what is happening with the apartments and tonight the Council approved a Master 380 agreement concerning the apartments in the Lamar Overlay.  Essentially Bob Kembel of Viridian started his own development company JCKPL.  He has been actively pursuing the apartment complexes along Lamar.  He has successfully put the following apartments under contract, Huntington Chase, Pointe at North Highland, and Water Chase.  The fourth apartment complex is still in play.  The city has agreed to participate in this process.

Phase I will consist of the demolition of Huntington Chase and the Pointe and the city will put up 1.5 million in good faith.  Half a million will be granted upon the demolition of phase II and III.  $750k will be given to secure drainage improvements for the project.  And a total of 2.4 million will be given to demo the entire project.  The total give by the city is 5.2 million.  The total funding required by the developer is $160 million.

Let me simply say that it was truly a miracle that we were able to find a developer, and then have the developer come up with $160 million to help solve our apartment problem.  This deal is simply an overall agreement that the city will work with the developer in good faith.  I would like to bring to your attention that the Lamar Overlay has been in existence for the last 8 years and nothing has happened.  Mr. Kembel intends to comply with the restrictions set forth in the overlay.  Some single family, some retail and mixed use centered around three large apartment complexes.  The driving force behind this project was our City Manager, Trey Yelverton and Bruce Payne from Economic Development.  I plan on having an Apartment Town Hall Meeting at the Convention Center in the middle of August to show you what the Plan will entail.  Your neighborhoods in this area just got a face lift, and a big boost in property values. 

Bob Kembel has been working on a plan with local community leaders concerning relocation and the gradual movement of affected citizens as leases expire.  It was a good day at City Hall.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Yukon

Well, just to let you know that I haven't forgotten about informing you guys.  I took a few weeks off and went to the Yukon to go hunting.  It was a very physical and demanding experience.  This is a picture of me on top of a mountain, way above the tree line.  The snow drifts on the north side were about chest high.  At my height that isn't very high.  I got back on the 12th.  I would say that the trip was unsuccessful because I didn't harvest a grizzly.  Essentially, I was looking for Yogi and all I saw was Boo Boo.  My goal was a 9 ft. Grizz and I only saw a 6 ft. Black Bear.  The experience was very Spartan.  No running water, except for the streams, and no electricity.  Just a guide, a tent and a pot belly stove. 

If you can imagine no Internet or newspaper delivery and a total black out when it comes to information.  As I was taxiing into the gate at DFW, I started reading about Officer Vo's tragedy, the police departments troubles with the FBI, and the four murders in our city.  All of this came to me at one sitting.  I was simply devastated.  But I have solid faith in our Police and they will bounce back from this event and I know that they are hard at work trying to find the criminals that are still at large.  One has already been apprehended.  Well, we have a Council Meeting this week and I have about 1300 pages to read and prepare for discussion.  Just an added note; the apartment issue is getting very exciting and I hope to share all of that information with you very shortly.  Stay tuned!