Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wages for FY16

During the month of July the Council has been on vacation.  However, I have been here for most of the month doing the city’s business.  As a whole the city runs a little slower during the month of July.  When we start up in August, we get into the budget cycle and that means that the Tuesdays that we didn’t meet in July are all packed into August and we have a meeting on something every Tuesday next month. 

I have been working on a concept that would bring our first responders up to the 70th percentile of the other cities in the Metroplex as far as W2.  Our tax base grew last year by 6%, which means that the pie got bigger.  If you read the article in the Star Telegram a week ago concerning police officers, you would realize why it is important to address W2.  The paper confirmed that 14 of the last 20 police officers hired by Ft. Worth, were Dallas police officers.  It was the W2’s that made the Ft. Worth positions more attractive.   We don’t want that to happen in Arlington.  So it is important to address W2’s and how we rate in the market place.

When a raise is given you simply can’t just give a raise to the first responders only. (Police and Fire)  Our staff is also under paid, and we are losing good people to other cities.  Bridget White, Clayton Husband, Andrea Roy were all key figures in our staff that were lured elsewhere due to better offers.   That is why a raise is required across the board.  Our staff personnel are compensated well  below the market average, and this must be addressed in order to maintain the high caliber of professional services that our community deserves.  These are the reasons that I believe W2 is so important, and should be addressed in the month of August for FY16.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

General Motors

Tuesday was a very important day for the city of Arlington.  It was the day that General Motors announced the largest single investment in the history of our city.  The table was set by the City Council back in April when we established a re-investment zone for GM specifically.  This allowed an 80% reduction of taxes for the next 10 years.  With that incentive in place General Motors pulled the trigger on a $1.4 Billion investment in their plant in Arlington.  We are lucky to be chosen because they decided to close the plant in Shreveport and invest in Arlington.  It could have gone the other way.

This decision is part of GM’s plan to spend $5.3 Billion on needed upgrades to plant facilities throughout the United States in the next five years.  Arlington is the largest single investment for GM.   The Arlington plant has been running three shifts in an effort to meet demand for their quality SUV products.  Arlington produces 75% of all the SUV’s purchased in America.  The plant will increase in size by 1.2 million sq/ft.  To put this into perspective AT&T Stadium is 1.0 million sq/ft.  This investment is four times the size of the Toyota headquarters deal in Allen.  Arlington is a General Motors city and it has been for over sixty years.  We can be very proud of this accomplishment for our city.  This is a perfect example of  your local government working in conjunction with a private enterprise in order to bring jobs and revenue to our city.  Thank you General Motors for having the faith in our community to make the largest investment in our city ever!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 10th (Vacation)

Although the Council takes the month of July off each year for a much needed vacation, many of us remain in the City and continue our efforts.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Rangers Hall of Fame luncheon, inducting Juan Gonzalez, and Jeff Russell.  The luncheon was very entertaining with an interesting cast of Ranger Hall of Fame members.

Then it was over to UTA where the NCAA Champion Movin’ Mav’s played an exhibition game of wheelchair basketball with a bicycle club that was riding across American to elevate awareness of those with disabilities.  Needless to say the Movin’ Mav’s did not let this opportunity pass.  At half time the score was 38-2.  I read a proclamation acknowledging this tremendous effort by these young bicycle riders from all over the United States, and congratulated them on a successful ride to Arlington.  They are scheduled to arrive in Washington D.C. on August 8th.

Then my efforts landed me in front of the City Manager for a discussion concerning the elevation of W-2 wages for our employees throughout the city.  In short our staff and first responders are considered to be below the 50% median of cities throughout the Metroplex.   If the entire compensation package is considered we rest above the 50th percentile in dollars.  My efforts were to level that playing field and put the items in the compensation package into W-2 and let the employee decide where the dollars should go, W-2 or 401K.  The City Manager was very receptive but we will see how the discussion plays out during our budget talks.
My last consideration for the day was putting the finishing touches on a power point presentation to be given to the New World United Methodist Church on Tuesday.  I enjoy this presentation every year because these people not only put on a great lunch, but they are very plugged into the Community.  So I look forward to this event.  However,this year there will be a conflict.  General Motors will be making a big announcement concerning the largest investment ever in our Community.  Although I will miss the announcement I will make the reception later that afternoon.  Does this sound like a vacation to you?