Monday, October 28, 2013

Monoply Streets

Tonight at 7:00 at Nichols Jr. High School, I will be having the second meeting with the residents of the Park Place edition, also known as the Monopoly Streets.  We are going to look at the possibility of removing a half mile of wooden fence that is in disrepair, and putting up a masonry wall.  The masonry wall would extend down Canty St. and make the corner at Randy Snow and end at the park.

We had an initial meeting about three months ago.  The purpose of that meeting was to present the idea, and then find out if there was support in going forward with the project.  Now we have the numbers required to give the neighbors specifics.  The wall will cost the neighbors a total of $5.79 a month for ten years, and that includes insurance.  The benefits of making such an improvement are two fold.  1)  By pooling their money and putting up the wall, they will enchance the beauty of their neighborhood, and their property values will increase. 2)  Realtors state that the amount of time a house is on the market is decreased because people want to live in a well maintained community. 

Change is never met without issues, especially when you are talking about other people’s money.  So there is some resistance to moving forward, but nothing that sensible people can’t talk out.  I look forward to this evening and talking to my constituents.  This is another step in making our neighborhoods in North Arlington, a better place to live.

Side note:  Last night the Arlington Police Department put on the first annual Police Palooza at J. Gilligans from 3-10 pm.  The event was well attended, and music artists associated with the APD performed.  All proceeds went to charity.  A great time!     

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Odds and Ends

Southwest Nature Preserve :  Yesterday I had an opportunity to attend the opening of the Southwest Nature Preserve.  It is about 7 acres and it is a beautiful little area off of Bowman Springs Road south of I-20.  The lake is very picturesque and a perfect place to teach your kids to fish or just sit and take in the sights.  There is a platform that sits in the lake connected to a wide walking path.  Pick-Nick tables are available, and I was simply impressed by the overall serenity of the Preserve. 

As a converted Texan I hold the outdoors and nature in a special place.  I have hunted Russian Boar with a bow in Tennessee, Grizzly in the Yukon, and fished all over.  I take the responsibility of passing my appreciation of the Great Outdoors on to my children.  I don’t want them to miss what nature has to offer.  This Southwest Nature Preserve is a perfect place to start that appreciation process with your family.

ATF Reorganization:  The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation was reorganized this last week.  The Fund will be capped at 100 million dollars, and the remainder of the revenue will be utilized to invest in our city.  The corpus or body of the fund will be added to annually to compensate for inflation, to insure that the buying power will remain in place over time.  56% of the remaining funds will be spent on airport/parks projects and cemetery maintenance.  The rest will be utilized for economic development and infrastructure improvements, to include 501 C 3 and city beautification projects.

The Foundation Board is now the City Council and a 5 citizen Advisory Board will be formed to select projects to be funded in our city.  Final approval of expenditures will rest with the Foundation Board.  The corpus of the fund is a very important aspect in the city’s ability to maintain a AAA bond rating.

Bond Election:  The Council was asked for input by the City Manager concerning topics that should be considered for the Bond Election in 2015.  Roads were the main item of concern.  I forwarded the idea of a Senior Recreation Center, centrally located in our city.  I feel that we have neglected our seniors and instead of having classes at the local YMCA, a center designed around an active senior lifestyle should be constructed.  Grand Prairie has already constructed The Summit through a 21 million dollar bond package, and it is well utilized by there seniors of 55 years and older.  If you haven’t seen this facility it is a must.      

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Council Meeting 15 October

Last night two items of interest were on our agenda.  1)  The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation was reconstituted to make the City Council the ATF Board of Directors, and the fund was capped at $100 million dollars.  2)  XTO was denied a request to install a 1.5 million gallon water tank at the Eden Rd. drill site.  Both votes were unanimous, so let's examine why.

ATF:  The fund is currently at 98 million dollars and growing at a rate of 15 million annually through gas royalties, plus 5 million from the return on investments on the body or corpus of the fund.  We feel that 100 million is sufficient for a rainy day since it represents approximately ½ of the annual general operating budget.  We have taken precautions to maintain this value in the future through inflationary contributions to insure the buying power remains the same over time. 

We also feel that, since this is the citizen’s money,  proper utilization could enhance our city through economic development, and capitol investment.  56% of this money is required to flow back to projects at the Airport and Parks and Recreation, because that is where it came from, but the rest can be used to improve our city as a whole.

An Advisory Board will be comprised of one person from each of the city’s five districts.  This Board will look at requests for projects, finalize their decisions and simply forward them to the ATF Board for approval.  These expenditures are distributed from the interest on the corpus.  The same process as the former ATF board, except there will be no Council members on that Board.  Since expenditures of public funds require elected official oversight, final authorization will rest with the ATF Board.  The ATF Board will convene this Friday to select members of the Advisory Board.

XTO:  XTO wanted to install a temporary 1.5 million gallon water tank for fracking purposes outside the confines of the drill site.  There is a 5 acre parcel adjacent to the drill site that they own, and that is where they wanted to erect this tank.  Neighbors didn’t want the tank in their backyards and I get that.  What disturbed me was the fact that XTO wanted to maintain their current 1.4 million gallon water frack pond also.  Now I like the idea of the temporary tank because it precludes a permanent frack pond and doesn’t alter the aesthetics of the drill site.  But to have 2.9 million gallons of water to frack the remaining 3 wells and an unidentified number of future wells is simply overkill.  This isn’t being a good neighbor and it could set a precedent for every other operator in our city.  Therefore, I had to oppose this issue. I would fully support the installation of the tank behind the masonry wall if the current frack pond was removed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

National Night Out

Last night Arlington joined a national effort to participate with other cities to take America back.  I had the honor of riding with North Arlington Police Chief Leland Strickland.  We only had time to attend six of the thirty events that were held in north Arlington.  Each gathering was unique in atmosphere, food and citizens in attendance.  National Night Out is an evening that is enjoyable, entertaining and full of community.  It brings neighborhoods closer together, and tightens relationships.

The National Event is 30 years young and involved 37.5 million people in 15,704 communities from 50 states last year.  The purpose is to (1) heighten crime prevention awareness, (2) increase participation in anti crime programs, (3) strengthen neighborhood spirit and strengthen first responder relationships, and (4) send a message to criminals, stating we are organized and fighting to keep our neighborhoods crime free.

The Chief and I wanted to stay the evening at each event.  The combination of good food, visiting with friends and talking about what is happening in your neighborhoods, was simply too enjoyable.  I could have stayed for the duration, but we had to move to the next event.  At each event that we attended, Police Officers and Firefighters were in abundance.  These personal contacts are extremely valuable in formulating community relationships with our first responders.  They enjoy putting names to neighborhoods and hearing your concerns.  I also noticed that the best food gets the biggest fire truck.

Again, Chief Strickland and I had a great time, and we look forward to NNO every year.  We want to thank those that organized the parties and cookouts, and also those who participated by showing their support.  The opportunity to get together to promote awareness, safety, and neighborhood unity, also bolsters first responder relationships.  This builds a foundation for community partnerships and couples citizen involvement that only strengthens the resolve of a safer nation.   Well Done North Arlington!!

PS:  This blog went over 18,000 views yesterday.  For being in existence for only 1 year that is remarkable.  Please continue to stay informed about the issues in our community.