Week In Review, Feb. 1, 2019
Feb. 1, 2019
Here is the latest edition of Week In Review - a series of weekly messages from the Mayor and City Council to help Richardson residents and businesses keep up to date on events at City Hall. If you would like to sign up to receive this in a weekly e-mail click here.
Richardson’s “Value Proposition” Highlighted In State of the City Address
Mayor Paul Voelker presented the annual State of the City Address Wednesday evening at the Eisemann Center. The address focused on the City’s most significant achievements in 2018, wrapped in a theme of “Richardson’s Value Proposition.” Videos featuring the Mayor and City Council members enhanced the address, and special guests/community leaders who have helped in the City’s success were recognized.
Among the past year’s accomplishments highlighted were:
- Funding was secured for the DART Cotton Belt Rail Project, which will connect Richardson to Addison and DFW Airport via rail and include a fifth station for the city, to be located at UT Dallas.
- The Richardson East Rotary Club raised more than $500,000 toward the Ann Eisemann Inclusive Playground at Cottonwood Park, enabling the construction to begin this year and including several enhancements to the original plans.
- In the past five years the City replaced or repaired 49 miles of roads, 35 miles of sidewalks and nearly 10 miles of alleys. These numbers include the seven miles of roads, 1.7 miles of alleys and six miles of sidewalks that were done in Fiscal 2017-18.
- Homeowners completed 143 Home Improvement Incentive Program projects, adding more than $20 million in neighborhood reinvestment.
- Fox Creek Park opened, the City’s 38th park, and a new perimeter trail at the Spring Creek Nature Area was completed; four-and-a-half miles of bike lanes were added throughout the city.
The event was free, open to the public and broadcast live. State of the City will be replayed on Spectrum Channel 16 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99, 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 6 p.m. Saturdays through Feb. 28. Videos of the event are also available on demand at www.cor.net/stateofthecity.
City Prepares for the Sale of G.O. Bonds and Certificates of Obligation
The City Council passed a resolution Monday authorizing the publication of a Notice of Intention to issue Series 2019 Certificates of Obligation (C.O.s). Prior to the vote, City Finance staff outlined the proposed schedule for the sale of the C.O.s as well as General Obligation (G.O.) bonds approved by voters in the 2015 Bond Program.
A total of $31.9 million in Certificates of Obligation are expected to be sold, funding Water and Sewer capital improvement projects and equipment for IT, Fire and Solid Waste, among other needs. Approximately $17.4 million in G.O. bonds are expected to be sold for year four of the 2015 Bond Program, with $10.3 million of the bonds slated to fund public building improvements including the replacement of Fire Station 3 and upgrades to the Senior Center as well as $5.4 million earmarked for street improvements.
After issuing the Notice of Intention and meeting with rating agencies (Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s), City staff plan to present the pricing of the certificates and bonds to the Council in late March. A Council vote on adopting ordinances authorizing the sale is also expected at that time.
For more information, view Monday’s presentation here.
New Richardson Today Website Debuts Today
A new City website officially launched today: RichardsonToday.com, dedicated to ongoing coverage of news and events connected to Richardson city government. A timelier, expanded version of the monthly Richardson Today newsletter, the new blog-style website was crafted as the result of feedback and data gleaned from a comprehensive city-wide communications survey conducted in 2018 (see story below).
In conjunction with the new website, Richardson Today will expand content to include more stories with video for both the website and Richardson Today social media on Facebook and Twitter.
The new website is responsive and mobile-friendly, with tabs for News, Videos, Environmental, and Arts and Culture. It is available at www.richardsontoday.com.
City Council Updated on Communications Survey Results
Communications staff updated the City Council Monday on the results from a survey sent to every household in Richardson last year. The survey fulfilled a tactic of the City Council’s 2017-19 Goals, to “evaluate current communications strategies and their effectiveness.”
Among the highlights of the results:
- A majority of respondents get information from four of the City’s 10 communications tools and strategies (street banners, Richardson Today, the City website and water bill inserts).
- Respondents gave Week in Review and Richardson Today the highest mean satisfaction score (4.4 each on a five-point scale) and chose Richardson Today as the most valuable communications tool.
- Nextdoor was identified as the City’s most important social media channel for sharing information.
Since conducting the survey, Communications has created www.RichardsonToday.com, a news website (see story above), and is increasing the City’s video outreach and YouTube presence. Plans are also underway to partner with apps such as Waze.
For more survey results and to view Monday’s presentation, click here.
Photo Contest Winners Announced; Results Exhibit Begins Tomorrow
“Jazzing it Up with the Band” by Julie Horak
The City’s Parks and Recreation Department has announced the winners in the 2019 City of Richardson photography contest. Rafael Jiminez won both Best of Show and the Proficient Division with a photo in the Still Life category entitled, “The Promise;” top honors in the Adult Amateur Division went to Julie Horak for “Jazzing it Up with the Band,” entered in the “People/Black & White Photography” category. Simon West won the Student Division with an Experimental photo entitled, “True Colors.” Additional winners were announced for Honorable Mention through First Place—for a complete list, go to www.cor.net/photocontest.
The 2019 Contest Results Exhibit will be on display Feb. 2-20 in the Library’s third floor gallery.
Lane Closures for Jupiter Road
Lane closures on Jupiter Road include northbound lanes just north and south of Campbell Road (alternately closed in different phases), and southbound lanes just north and south of Lookout Drive, as part of the 2019 Street Repair Program. The lanes may be closed to traffic through mid-February, weather permitting.
The northbound right lane of Jupiter Road at Lookout Drive and the southbound right lane of Jupiter Road at Renner Road continue to be closed as needed as part of the Program, also through mid-February. In addition, the northbound right lane of Jupiter Road from Red Oak Lane to South St. Andrews Drive continues to be closed 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday for utility work through mid-March, weather permitting.
Health Department to Host Free Childcare Training Tomorrow
The Richardson Health Department will offer a free training seminar for childcare providers Saturday, Feb. 2 from 8:15 a.m.-noon (registration begins at 7:45 a.m.) in the Grand Hall of the Richardson Civic Center/City Hall. This seminar may be used for three hours of continuing education units (CEUs) for childcare providers as specified in the “Minimum Standards.” A certificate will be provided electronically after the seminar.
For more information and to register online, visit www.cor.net/childcaretraining. Registration is also available by calling 972-744-4085 or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Citizens Fire Academy Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for the next Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) class, which begins March 21 and graduates May 30. The Academy is held once a year and is a 10-week program open to persons ages 21 and older who either live or work in Richardson or the Richardson Independent School District. Class participants meet one night a week from 6:30-9 p.m. (dinner is provided) at the Fire Training Center, 1621 E. Lookout Dr.
The intent of the CFA is not to train people to become firefighters, but rather to help them experience firsthand the duties and responsibilities of firefighters, so that they can use their knowledge to create a safer home and work environment and educate others about the Richardson Fire Department (RFD). Participants receive an insider’s view of the vast services the RFD provides and each is allowed to spend time at fire stations.
For more information and to register, call 972-744-5750 or go here and download an application.
C-Tech Fun for Families
Families are invited to tinker and experiment together with creative technology Saturday, Feb. 2 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Basement Program Room. Admission is free and no registration is required—just drop in!
For more information, call Youth Services at 972-744-4358.
MS Word Beginner Level Feb. 8
Learn MS Word 2016 Friday, Feb. 8 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Basement Training Room.
The class will cover:
- creating a document,
- adjusting formatting and line spacing,
- saving a document, and
- working with pictures and tables.
For adults and teens only. Registration is required along with a valid Richardson Public Library card—
call 972-744-4359 to register and for more information. Laptops are provided.
City Continues Relationship with Chinese City
New Year’s greetings from Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker were given this week to the residents of Pengzhou, China, continuing a “Friendly City” relationship begun in 2012. After translating the Mayor’s words into Chinese, Pengzhou officials showed the video at an event in the city’s commercial area, which includes large public video screens. Pengzhou is located in China’s Sichuan province, with a population of more than 760,000.
Richardson entered into a Friendly City Agreement with Pengzhou in August 2012, overseen by the Mayor’s Office of International Business. Since then, the two cities have worked to build relationships and explore business opportunities. A delegation from Pengzhou visited Richardson in 2012 and 2013, including teachers and principals who visited RISD schools to observe teaching methods. In 2015, another delegation included health care administrators, business representatives and government officials. Delegations and individuals from Richardson have visited Pengzhou several times, identifying potential companies that might have an interest in locating in Richardson and developing English as a Second Language (ESL) training programs for Pengzhou teachers.
To view the Mayor’s video greetings, click here.
At the Eisemann Center:
- The Bumper Jacksons Tonight
7:30 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre. Tickets are $45.
With original songs and reimagined American roots music, from New Orleans jazz and street blues to Appalachian country swing, this brassy ensemble features horns, pedal steel, guitars, banjo, clarinet, washboard, bass fiddle and the lead vocals of singer/songwriters Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley.
- Richardson Symphony Orchestra Feb. 2
8 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $15-$70.
The RSO brings the world of sports to the concert hall in “A Night at the Movies: Sports Spectacular.” The program will include music from: “Rocky,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Rudy,” “Hoosiers” and many more iconic films. Rounding out the program will be a series of familiar college fight songs along with appearances from a few surprise guests.
- Keyboard Conversations Feb. 4
7:30 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre. Tickets are $34-$40.
Internationally renowned concert pianist Jeffrey Siegel presents the next installment in his popular concert-plus-commentary series, with “The Romantic Connection—Chopin, Liszt and Schumann.”
- Paul Taylor Dance Documentary and Master Class Feb. 7
6 p.m. (class) and 7:45 p.m. (documentary), in the Bank of America Theatre. Admission is free.
The public is invited to participate in, or observe, a Master Class for intermediate and advanced dancers taught by the legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company, followed by a showing of the 2014 documentary, “Paul Taylor Creative Domain,” which includes scenes filmed at the Eisemann Center. Advance registration is required as space in the class is limited. You may also register as an observer and to view the documentary.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets/registration for Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office, 972-744-4650 and at www.eisemanncenter.com.
At UT Dallas:
- Joey DeFrancesco Trio Tonight
8 p.m. in the Arts and Technology Lecture Hall. Admission is $20. (For tickets, click here.)
The Grammy-nominated blues, jazz, R&B and soul artist is joined by Victor North on saxophone and Khary Shaheed on drums.
- Taoist Moral Relativism Lecture Feb. 6
7:30 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Admission is free.
The Confucius Institute presents Dr. Yong Huang, professor of philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who will discuss moral relativism as found in the ancient Chinese Daoist classic, “The Zhuangzi.” Click here.
- Cinematheque: Free Movie and Discussion Feb. 6
7 p.m. in the SSA Auditorium. Admission is free.
The community is invited to join students, staff and UT Dallas’ Meteor Theater for a free screening of Spike Lee’s Academy Award-nominated film, “BlacKkKlansman,” followed by a discussion about the film’s historical context and symbolism. The film is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. For event updates, visit UTD Meteor Theater on Facebook.
“The Cemetery Club” Opens Tonight at Richardson Theatre Centre
Richardson Theatre Centre, 518 W. Arapaho Rd., Ste. 113, is presenting the comedy, “The Cemetery Club” Feb. 1-17. The story of lasting friendship centers around three Jewish widows who meet once a month for tea before going to visit their husbands’ graves, and what happens when they meet Sam the butcher, who also visits the cemetery.
Show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-22 and include complimentary sweets, snacks and beverages. To reserve tickets, call 972-699-1130.
Church Group Beautifies Mark Twain Park, Huffhines Creek
A group of children and adults from First Presbyterian Church in Richardson spent part of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday last week helping to beautify Mark Twain Park and Huffhines Creek. The service project was part of an intergenerational church event that also involved talking about their dreams for the community and the world and playing games together. The City’s Community & Corporate Environmental Cleanup Program, part of the Health Department, helped coordinate the service project, which involved trash pickup behind the ball fields and near the creek.
The Community & Corporate Environmental Cleanup Program is an Environmental Partnership Initiative and open to any group who wants to help beautify Richardson. All supplies are provided and filled bags are picked up when the project is finished.
Find out more at www.cor.net/epi.
City Encourages Less Paper Usage with E-billing
Richardson water bills issued this month will include extra information on three ways to save paper (and time, and for some, even fuel) by paying your water bill online, at no extra cost:
- Automatic Bank Draft
Bill payments are drafted each month from your bank account. Visit
www.cor.net/PayYourBill or call 972-744-4120 for more details.
- Pay Online
Create an online account and make one-time or recurring payments with a credit card. With an online account, customers may also view information such as usage history.
- Quick Pay Online
Make one-time payments using a credit card without needing to create an online account.
Visit www.cor.net/QuickPay for more details.
For more information, visit www.cor.net/PayYourBill or call 972-744-4120.
Vending Maching Blue Bags Now Available at Fire Station 6
Blue 30-gallon recycling bags, which are sold to residents during regular business hours at City rec centers, the Senior Center, Service Center and City Hall, are now also available 24/7 at Fire Station 6 thanks to the recent installation of a blue bag vending machine. The machine, located in the station’s lobby, replaces the “first Saturday blue bags sales” which have taken place at the station since 2014 to better serve the residents of Richardson’s panhandle.
Rolls purchased through the machine are priced at $3.50 each for both residents and nonresidents. Note that the vending machine only accepts cash ($1 and $5 bills as well as quarters, dimes and nickels) and provides change.
Fire Station 6 is located at 3591 Park Vista Rd. For more information, call 972-744-4111.
Phil-up Visits Local Health Club in February
Phil-up the Blue Bag, the City’s recycling mascot, will be at YouFit Health Club,1301 E. Belt Line Rd., from 10-11:30 a.m. every Thursday this month. Phil-up spreads the word about recycling and hands out recycling freebies, including vouchers for Richardson residents good for a roll of free blue bags.
To schedule Phil-up to appear at your business or event, visit www.cor.net/philup.
Annual Wildlife Habits Cause Increase In Coyote Sightings
The start of February means it’s now mating season for both coyotes and bobcats, so area residents may see an increase this month and next, as they are part of the natural habitat of North Texas. The City’s Parks and Recreation staff have seen more coyote activity in local parks and some residents have also reported wildlife sightings.
Bobcats and coyotes are natural to the North Texas habitat and rarely pose a threat to people, but domesticated pets such as dogs and cats could be at risk if left alone or taken off their leash near natural areas.
The following steps can be taken to avoid attracting predators:
- Scare off animals that do not run away immediately by spraying them with a garden hose, banging pots and pans and/or making loud noises and waving your arms.
- Do not leave small pets outdoors unattended and keep cats indoors. If domestic pets are kept outdoors, keep them in a securely fenced area (keep in mind that bobcats can climb trees and fences and can also jump up to 12 feet, and coyotes can jump over a five-foot fence). Close or patch openings in fences. Domestic animals such as chickens and rabbits should be kept in secured enclosures with sturdy roofs.
- Feed pets inside. If they must be fed outside, remove food and water bowls between feedings. Clean up spilled pet food.
- Keep covers secured on outdoor trash receptacles; their contents may attract wildlife and their prey. Take garbage out the morning of the day it is to be picked up.
- After enjoying a visit to the park for a picnic, take your leftovers home with you. Do not leave food for animals and do not throw it away in the trash bins.
- Keep shrubbery, grass, etc. trimmed to deny wildlife hiding cover. Remove other hiding areas such as spaces under a deck or storage building.
- Keep bird feeders above an animal’s reach and prevent the buildup of under the feeders. Wildlife are attracted to the many rodents that come to eat dropped feeder food.
- Pick fruit from fruit trees as soon as it ripens and pick up all fallen fruit.
Concerned about an unusually aggressive animal? Notify Animal Services at 972-744-4480.
Design Planner ($5,000-$8,335 monthly)
Development Services is seeking individuals interested in preparing, providing and planning counsel and technical services to the City Plan Commission, City Council, Zoning Board of Adjustment and the public.
Project Engineer ($6,228-$9,440 monthly)
Engineering is seeking individuals interested in managing the design and construction of a wide variety of Public Works and Municipal Projects.
Park Maintenance Greenhouse Worker ($7.40-$11.22 hourly)
Parks Maintenance is seeking individuals interested in growing and maintaining plants to be used for park and median plantings.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Meet Charlie! We are in love with Charlie! We took him in from another shelter that was over capacity and he is ready for a new home. He is a hound mix, neutered male, about 4 years old, up to date on his vaccinations and great on a leash. Charlie is a big sweetheart! Look at those puppy dog eyes! Come meet him today!
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
To read previous Week in Reviews, visit www.cor.net/WIR.