Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15th Meeting

This afternoon two important things happened.  The first was another discussion on either a Senior Center or a Mega Multi-Generational Center.  I am running up against a brick wall in my support of a Senior Center, and the reason is money.  It would seem by limiting memberships to only seniors we would be out membership fees from other possible people under age 50 that would want to use the facility.  That delta in money coming through the door is the total reason that most Council Members find it hard to back a Senior Center, Operational & Maintenance costs.  (O&M)  It will take an overwhelming amount of emails, and a concerted effort by seniors to write to their entire Council to convince them that this is what needs to be done.  They know very well my position concerning this issue.  I will continue to work from the inside but I need your help from out there.

The second important thing that we accomplished was to select a new City Attorney.  This is the second most important thing that the Council does.  The last time was 26 years ago when they selected Jay Doegey.  Jay retired on 1 December and the selection process required a very tough decision between three excellent candidates.  When all the dust settled, Teris Solis was the attorney selected to head up the city office.  I said that this was the second most important thing that we do.  The first is selecting the City Manager.  We also select the City Auditor and the City Justice or Judge.  Teris was an in house selection.  I felt that if the other candidate would have been selected there would have been more turmoil within the legal office.  I’m certain that Teris will do a remarkable job and that she will serve the city well.  Congratulations Teris.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

City Center

Yesterday was a marathon session of the city council.  We started with committee meetings at 10:00.  Then went to the afternoon session at 12:30 and talked about how Parks and Recreation functions and their cost recovery philosophy.  This is a precursor for our discussion about a Mega Center vs. a Senior Center.  I feel this will be the bone of contention about the Senior Center.  Mr. Randolph feels that he will never recover the Operating and Maintenance costs (O & M) from a Senior Center, and that a Mega Center will have a broader base for membership fees.  This discussion will continue over time and it is up to the citizens to write their Council Representative and let them know what they would like put on the ballot for the May election.
The next item that was discussed was the new building that will be replacing the current library property.  I have my concerns about this building but I am very supportive of the project.  This building will start the renovation of downtown Arlington.  The building will have retail, office, residential and will incorporate parking for the library and city hall.  It will be designed and operate like the one in downtown Addison.  Addison’s model has been operating for the last 20 years, and been a success over time.  The developer is ready to go and it should be complete in the next three years.   The project will be called City Center.  This project is a public/private partnership.  The public aspect is one that will designate the land for this project and lease the parking component for the city’s use.  The private part will be the 29 million dollars required complete the project.  There is already interest in business’ who want to lease space in this building.
The last point of interest in the afternoon session was the fact that I was able to move up the repaving of Avenue H one year in the bond package.  So Greater Southwest will be repaved in 2015, Avenue H in 2019 and Avenue E in 2020.  I think that this schedule will fit nicely with the 360 and I30 exchange that is being planned.