City Council Meeting 12/16/08

It is amazing how quick the year goes by.  I cannot believe this was already our last meeting of 2008! 

I had mentioned from last meeting that Library Director, Dr. Ron Heezen, is leaving us shortly.  He certainly has left a legacy behind.  This Tuesday, he and staff were presented with the 2008 Achievement of Excellence in Libraries Award.  The Southlake Library Director, who oversees the process for the Texas Municipal Library Association, was also on hand.  To be eligible for this award, the Library had to prepare a full binder of information for the application process.  The rigorous standards only resulted in 22 out of 565 Libraries in Texas meeting the guidelines for the award.  Congratulations to the Frisco Library for this prestigious honor!

For those of you following the budget, you will notice that November revenue collections are down from prior year.  November and December are high receipt months as most people and lenders with escrow accounts make their tax payments before the end of the year.  A few of our large lenders delayed their payment until December so we should see that correct itself in next month’s report.  Sales tax collections have a 2 month lag.  However, we were encouraged to see October have a 4% increase over prior year.  November and December are the highest sales tax months of the year so we are anxious to see how the economic conditions will effect Frisco this year.  Our building starts are also showing a very low trend, similar to all parts of the country.  In 2006, we capped at over 3600 building starts that year (over 300/mo).  Total for November and December combined for approximately 100.  This would put us on pace for far less than the already low 1200 permits we saw last year. We will be watching this over the next few months as well to see if we need to make any budget adjustments.

Council also approved a new communications tower for the public safety radio system.  This is part of the $8 million bond approved by the voters in our last bond election.  We currently share a system with Plano.  However, both cities are switching to new technologies and Frisco needs this plan to reach the entire city as we continue to grow.  Staff worked diligently looking at a variety of options.  Their recommendation was to invest in a single tower near the Police Station.  This is one of the highest points of the city and would provide the best coverage at the most affordable cost.  The tower will be a 260 ft self supporting tower with no guy wires.  While we would all prefer to not have to build towers, Council was unanimous in agreement that public safety is our biggest priority.  The other options of 2-3 smaller towers throughout the city did not provide full coverage and was also more expensive.

A few months back, I mentioned that all cities received an unfunded federal mandate to implement a Municipal Storm Water Utility System.  Most area cities have already implemented a fee to implement this over the next 5 years.  We received a staff recommendation to take the same approach.  The cost of compliance of this program will start at about $1.3 million in 2009 and grow to $2.1 million in 2013 under full implementation.  Under the proposed schedule, the average household would pay $2/mo in 2009-2010 and $2.60/mo starting in 2011.  This proposal is lower than what has been implemented in other cities.  The current proposal also has 3 tiers depending on lot size, with the larger lots paying more.  Council asked staff to bring back a single tier system for consideration at our next meeting.

Many of you know that the Dr. Pepper Stars Center is currently being expanded.  Kurt Thomas Gymnastics used to lease part of the space out but they moved out to another facility once construction began.  This is a very desirable location and the space has been quickly leased again.  Zoom Sports will take over the space once construction is complete.  Zoom currently operates a smaller facility in Frisco and is seeing this 12,000 sq ft space as an opportunity to expand their business.  Theyh provide physical therapy and sports training services.  You can learn more about them at their website.

Council approved the purchase of a tract of land near Frisco Square and the Heritage Museum.  The city owns much of the surrounding land and this purchase will provide the city with a great deal on control as to how that area ultimately develops.

If you recall from the 11/4 Council Meeting, we had tabled an item to consider the extension on the purchase option for land near Grand Park.  The item was tabled to work with the develop to change language protecting a pecan tree grove on the land.  Council and staff felt it was important to do everything within our power to preserve these majestic trees.  An agreement was reached and the extension was approved.  I look forward to seeing how they may utilize this unique tree farm in their development plans.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.  I’ll see you in 2009!

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