City Council Meeting – 3/18/2008

We were not quite sure if there would be anyone in the audience due to Spring Break and the flash flood warnings.  However, we did have a decent crowd brave the weather to attend tonight’s meeting.  Because of the uncertainly of the weather, we did postpose the update on RTC (Regional Transportation Council) by Michael Morris.  This has been moved to the April 15th Council Meeting.  So after you mail off that tax return, make sure to swing by and listen to that update.

There were not many controversial topics on the agenda; however, there were certainly some points of interest to update you on.

I first want to congratulate the Engineering and Fire Departments for their recognition from the Texas District Institute of Transportation Engineers (aka TexITE). At the Winter Meeting, the City of Frisco was presented a Special Recognition Award for their efforts in championing Frisco Fire Safety Town. Frisco Fire Safety Town is an interactive, hands-on program that features both indoor and outdoor elements, all working together to create a fun safety experience for children of all ages.

Gary Hartwell next gave us his monthly water report.  One exciting announcement was the upcoming website from the TexasET Network.  As of this posting, it is currently not operational for Frisco but should be within the next week.  When this is running, you will be able to see data from 4 ET stations in various locations in Frisco.  It will tell you rain data as well as be able to calculate how much you should water your yard based on our rain amount.  I will mention this in future blog entries as it becomes active.  Here is a link to the website:

http://texaset.tamu.edu/

There are 2 important things I would like to mention from our Planning & Development report.  First, we now have a new service on our GIS Maps systems that will show you where dangerous dogs are located within the city. This only shows dogs that have been determined to be dangerous by a court of law.  The service shows their location on the map as well as a picture of the dog.  To view our GIS Maps, you can access it at the following link:

http://maps.friscotexas.gov/

Second, our decline in permits is something I do keep a close eye on.  Our permits are on the slowest pace since the last 6 years.  Our permits in 2007 were approximately 50% of what we saw in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  The first 2 months of 2008 are even lower than 2007.  I am expect 2007 to be another slow year in permits and then the market to start rebounding in 2008.  This is a market wide condition and not limited to Frisco.  Many have asked how this may impact our budget.  We do budget fairly conservative, especially our permit revenue.  If the slow growth continues it may change the timing of some of our infrastructure improvements or other projects as we will not need them as quickly.  However, the City of Frisco is in a strong financial position with extremely high bond ratings.  In fact, our financial report showed us tracking ahead of our budget for revenues.  We were the 13th largest city in the state for sales tax revenue which shows the benefits of having a diversified tax base.

The Police report showed very favorable trends.  Our statistics are down YTD for assaults (72 v 95), burglary (56 v 102), and theft (294 vs 351).  Some of this improvement can be attributed to the lock, take and hide program installed this year. In addition, the Police are looking into a pilot program with car hangers for your rear-view mirror stating there are no valuables in the car.  Little things like this really help prevent against the break-ins and I look forward to hearing more about the potential of this program.

In February, Frisco hosted the 2008 Winter Games of Texas.  The Convention and Visior’s Bureau estimated that this event had an economic impact of $1.5 million to the City of Frisco.  In addition, the event generated an economic impact of $300,000 outside or Frisco.  This event had 3,559 athletes participate in 14 sports and brought an additional 14,000 spectators for the games to the Frisco area.

In our consent agenda, we had one item with a nay vote.  Item 8 O was regarding the the request by the Arts of Collin County Commission to retain unused operating funds from 2007 to be applied to 2008.  As one of the 3 city partners, we have the option of allowing the money to roll over to the next budget or have the money refunded to the member cities.  Council Member Matt Lafata expressed his concerns of the direction of the project and wanted to wait until after an scheduled March 30th meeting before voting on this item.  However, Council voted 5-1 to go ahead and approve the request.

Also in the consent agenda, we approved a resolution allowing authorizing our City Manager to solicit consulting bids with the cities of Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Irving and Plano to investigate the potential to jointly pursue development of the BNSF line to connect our communities with the regional commuter rail network.  Regional rail is going to be an important topic for us over the next couple of years.  This is a long-term decision that will effect our citizens decades from now.  However, the work and the decision has to be made now to be able to adequately plan that far in advance.

In the regular agenda, we approved the Friday night fireworks show for the Frisco Rough Riders.  This is an annual process as we are giving them an exemption from our sound ordinance to use the fireworks.  Every year the Rough Riders have implemented better practices to reduce the noise as well as the time they are set off.  In addition, they showed us the new addition to the Ballpark this year, a 30 ft playground and slide for the kids.  Having 3 young kids myself, this is a welcome addition for our family.  I am sure my kids will love playing on the slide as a break from the baseball action.

A few other points of interest include:

  • We approved the site plan for a Calloway’s Nursery on Preston Rd.  This was an exemption from the Preston Overlay requirements as it was viewed as an infill development and they are not going to have exterior storage.  This is a nice use for this difficult shaped property.
  • We accepted the resignation of Planning & Zoning Commissioner Michael Rodgers due to a change in work schedule.  Michael had been appointed a few months ago to replace Geralyn Kaminsky.  Council decided to table to appointment as we wanted to find someone who could fill in quickly for the remaining 6 meetings, such as a former commissioner or council member.
  • Continuing with our trend to focus on mixed-use developments, we approved the construction of some townhomes at Stonebriar Commons.  This development is at the corner or Legacy Drive and Town and Country Blvd, just north of 121.  This development is in line with our comprehensive plan of “New Urbanism” and mixed-use to create walkable communities and sustainable developments.

If you want to read our agenda of the support materials for any of these items, you can view them at:

http://documents.ci.frisco.tx.us/weblink/

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Spring Break!

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