Archive for October, 2008

READY, SET, GROW: RESIDENTS CALLED TO HELP GUIDE CITY’S GROWTH;

(October 22, 2008) Help Frisco design a road map for where it needs to go – and grow! The City of Frisco is looking for direction from citizens interested in helping staff update the City’s Zoning Ordinance that directly impacts the future development of this city. Applications are being accepted now through November 17 for Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC).

 

The Frisco City Council will review applications and make appointments to the ZAC, which will work with City staff and consultant on the updating of the Zoning Ordinance over the next 18 to 24 months.

 

Members of ZAC will consider revising the Zoning Ordinance, which includes, but not limited to, regulating current — and future — land uses, lot sizes, setbacks, lighting standards, parking requirements, landscaping, and the process for reviewing site plans. The ‘Comprehensive Plan’, adopted in 2006, will be used to guide the updating of the Zoning Ordinance.

 

“These standards are vital to the development and ‘smart and sustainable growth’ of a city,” said John Lettelleir, Director of Planning & Development Services. “As a result, we need to review our ‘Zoning Ordinance’ periodically to make sure we’re meeting the City Council’s goal to become a sustainable city and to implement the City’s Comprehensive Plan.”

 

In 2000, the City of Frisco’s ‘Comp Plan’ was named ‘Best in the State’ by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA). In 2006, a revision of Frisco’s ‘Comp Plan’ received a Planning Excellence Award by the APA.

 

Frisco City Council members will make their committee selections on December 2, during their regularly scheduled council meeting. Applications are available for download off the City of Frisco website at http://www.friscotexas.gov or by contacting Ryan Middleton, Planner at 972-292-5363 or rmiddleton@friscotexas.gov

 

Applications submitted by mail should be addressed to Ryan Middleton, Comprehensive and

Environmental Division, Planning & Development Services Department, City of Frisco, George A. Purefoy Municipal Center, 6101 Frisco Square Blvd, 3rd Floor, Frisco, 75034.

City Council Meeting – 10/21/2008

We finally returned to our regular schedule of Tuesday nights after a few weeks of having to adjust our schedule.  I must first say that I am excited and impressed by our new agenda management system.  We are still testing it internally and it will be available to the public very soon.  The new system will allow our citizens to view live streaming of our meetings as well as to go back and watch the video of any topic.  This will greatly enhance our ability to communicate with our citizens.  I am certain everyone will be very impressed with this new product.

The proclamations this week were for the following:

  • FISD Red Ribbon Week – The Red Ribbon Celebration brings millions of people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.  I found the history of the celebration very interesting which you can read here.  The FISD and the City participate in many programs including the DARE program, Shattered Dreams, the Student Resource Officer program, Rachel’s Challenge, as well as other education and counseling programs.  Please consider wearing a red ribbon next Wednesday to show your support
  • Chamber of Commerce Week – John Land, Frisco Chamber of Commerce President, was on hand to accept this proclamation recognizing the benefit an active Chamber of Commerce can provide for a city.  I was surprised to learn that the Frisco Chamber of Commerce is the 4th largest chamber in North Texas.  Council Member Tony Felker works for the Chamber and David Prince is the current Chairman.  I have been a member of the Chamber for many years and so I know first hand the benefits they offer.  The Frisco Chamber of Commerce is top notch and crucial to many of our local businesses.
  • Disability Employment Awareness Month – This is a proclamation from our President Bush.  You can read more about it here.  The proclamation is to encourage employers to work together to offer opportunities for those with disabilities.  The statistics are sobering showing that the unemloyment rate for those with disabilities is often 10 times that of the general population.  In addition, those with disabilities are 3 times more likely to live in poverty.  According to the presenter, the retention rate for employees with disabilities is very high.  51% are stay with an employer for more than 5 years and 36% for greater than 10.

Police Report:

There were 58 reported assaults, 42 of which were family violence assaults. Furthermore, all of the aggravated assault victims were either family members or acquaintances of the offenders. Habitation burglaries increased by 9 incidents. Of the 28 burglaries reported, force was used to gain entry in seven homes; ten homes were entered through an open garage door. Entry was gained in four burglary incidents by an unlocked door or window. It is unknown how entry was made in seven homes because there were no signs of forced entry. In addition, there were four attempted burglaries of habitation. Burglaries of buildings increased by four incidents; 11 of the 18 buildings burglarized were in construction sites. Burglaries of motor vehicles (BMVs) decreased slightly in September. Of the 51 burglaries reported, twenty-three vehicles were entered by force, twenty were entered through an unlocked door, and it is unknown how entry was made in eight vehicles as they had no signs of forced entry.

I asked Chief Renshaw about an email I received from a citizen about illegal parking in school zones.  According to the email, parents were parking on the wrong side of the street to avoid getting in the normal line.  Chief Renshaw contacted other staff and is going to try to address the issue with the school SROs.

Fire Report:

The Fire Department responded to 530 calls during the month of September including 260 emergency medical calls and 55 motor vehicle accidents. The Fire Department also responded to 3 structure fires and 1 vehicle fire resulting in combined damages of approximately $56,500. 119 fire safety inspections were completed in September. Overall average response time for first arriving Fire unit is 4:35.

Other report items:

  •  The Convention and Visitors Bureau are starting a new “Keep it Local – Keep it Frisco”. The goal is to bring awareness to CEO’s and decision making Executives that live in Frisco that we have great hotels and venues where they could be hosting their meetings. We need them to visit with their meeting planners and discuss the Frisco options. There will be more to come on this in future meetings.
  • The Planning and Zoning Department will soon be accepting applications for an advisory committee to revise the zoming ordinance. This will be a 23 member committee that will work through a 12-18 month process.

Other Agenda Items:

  • We accepted Debby Hanson’s letter of resignation from the CVB as she no longer qualifies for the position.
  • We approved a resolution authorizing Cities Aggregation Power Project (CAPP) to negotiate and execute an electric supply agreement and committing to purchase energy via CAPP through December 31, 2013. CAPP’s current electric contract will expire on December 31, 2008. This means that CAPP members will lock-in prices for five years that are below electric prices members are currently paying. This is separate from the 24 month agreement CAPP was negotiating that I discussed in the last meeting.
  • Oncor Electric Delivery Company asked the City to approve a 17.6% increase in residential rates, a 9.1% increase in commercial rates, and a 5.8% increase in street lighting rates. According to Oncor, annual rates would increase by approximately $60 for an average residential customer. Council denied the requested rate increase and requires that the Company’s current rates be maintained for all customers within the City.
  • We approved a contract for renovation to Shawnee Sports Complex in the amount of $110,603. This contract provides for design services and construction documents to renovate the concession building, add fencing to allow for tournaments to be held at the facility, add permanent dugout covers, add bleacher covers, renovate the irrigation system, replace chain link fencing where needed, and provide a concrete mow strip under fencing. These renovations are needed because the concession stand does not comply with current health or ADA standards, the complex is not consistent with the facilities that are being constructed today with regards to shade and fencing to segregate warm up areas from spectators. The remainder of the renovations are due to expected and acceptable levels of wear and tear from 13 years of use.
  • We approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a boundary adjustment agreement between the City of Frisco and the City of Plano to establish the centerline of SH 121 as the boundary between the two cities.  

Please remember the  Trick or Treat at Safety Town is this Friday, October 24, from 6 to 9 pm.  If you attended last year, you will remember how great of an event it was.  You will also remember to get there early.  I hope to see you there!

City Council Meeting 10/8/2008

We typically meet the first and third meeting of every month. This meeting was pushed back a day to Wednesday. For the second straight meeting, we changed the date to accomodate National Night Out.  I enjoyed National Night Out again this year.  I visited a half dozen parties this year while riding with the Police Department.  As many of you know, Texas was test marketing a new date this year, pushing it back from our normal August date.  Many people discussed enjoying the cooler weather.  However, the downside was that many people’s parties ended earlier due to being a school night and had less attendance due to conflicts with after school activities.  My neighorhood party was wrapping up when we got back so I was disappointed with sundown being earlier.  Personally, I prefer the August date, heat and all.  W will be reviewing the statistics and feedback to determine when to have NNO next year.

In other NNO events, the Fire won the Battle of the Badges which was a blood drive competition between the Police and Fire.  The Fire won by 4 pints and collected 216 pints of blood.  However, the Police got the last laugh by winning the Good vs. Good basketball game 43-34 while raising money for Special Olympics.

We had many lengthy topics which resulted in a meeting running very late into the night.  We started with a discussion on Cities Aggregation Power Project, Inc. (CAPP) long-term power contract.  The City is a member of the Cities Aggregation Power Project (“CAPP”), a non-profit political subdivision corporation aggregator. Created in 2001 in anticipation of the deregulation of the Texas retail electric market, CAPP pools members’ electric power needs in order to negotiate lower, more stable prices through bulk purchasing. CAPP is run by a voluntary 10 member Board of Directors, comprised entirely of city employees and city officials.

CAPP and its sister political subdivision corporation aggregator, South Texas Aggregation Project, Inc. (“STAP”), have more than 150 political subdivision members that purchase in excess of one billion kWh annually. Together CAPP and STAP have member savings that have surpassed $100 million since the Texas electric market deregulated in 2002.

The proposed contract called for lower power costs for our based load of power in exchange for the our commitment to a 24 year contract as well as paying 60% of the contract up front.  This brought obvious questions from Council including why they are requiring so much of an up front payment, what other options we have that are not as long of a term, what happens if the company defaults, etc.  We are going to have further discussions on this topic at the next Council Meeting to determine if this is a good deal for the City of Frisco.

A few months back, we heard a request from Community Waste Disposal for a fee increase due to the rising costs of fuel.  If you recall, Council voted to not reward the fee increase.  Since then, fuel prices have decreased substantially.  Another agenda item was brought forward for a fee increase, although at a lower rate than a few months prior.  My position had not changed since the last time we voted.  We had negotiated a contract with CWD nearly 5 years ago and all parties should keep to those terms.  CWD was awarded the contract in a competitive bid situation. It would not be fair to others who wanted this contract to improve the terms before completition.  This contract expires in July and at that time we can pursue differing contract terms that take into account fluctuating fuel prices.  Council voted 3-2 to deny the request.

We had our first round of discussions regarding a proposed parking facility next to City Hall.  Partial funds for this project were approved by the citizens in our last bond election.  The renderings were quite impressive and blended very well with the architecture of City Hall and the surrounding Frisco Square.  The proposed cost is roughly $14,000 per parking space.  Part of this is attributed to wider parking spaces since so many families visit the facility.  A basic parking garage can be built as cheaply as $10,000/space.  The proposed garage would have 578 spaces.  We are going to have future discussions about the features, budget, and timing of this parking facility.  With the current state of the economy, we are very sensitive to pricing and capital outlays.

A few other items to note:

  • Chris Johnson was appointed as an ex-oficio member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • We agreed on a proposal to true up costs in property swaps with the Frisco ISD
  • As of August 25, there are 2,364 members at the Senior Center at Frisco Square. This compares to 1,383 from the same time frame in 2007. Congratulations to Judy Florence and her staff on this 71% increase in just one year!
  •  The FAC has a total of 4,538 membership accounts totaling more than 16,561 members. Did you know that the membership of the FAC is almost split evenly between males and females? Males made up 49.4% of the Center’s membership and Females constituted 50.6% of the membership. Members under the age of 45 make up 86.5% of the total membership of the FAC. By the end of August, the FAC had a total of 15,897 total members, with a daily average of 1,477 members attending the Center during the month.

Thanks again for reading and please feel free to send me any questions you have.