Week In Review, March 22, 2019
March 22, 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.
City Receives “Triple A” Ratings
For the 10th year in a row, both the Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) credit rating agencies have reaffirmed Richardson’s “Triple A” status, the highest possible rating available for credit worthiness. Richardson has held AAA status from Standard & Poor’s for 12 years, and has received an Aaa rating from Moody’s the past 10 years.
In its rationale, S&P cited Richardson’s “very strong economy, very strong management with strong financial policies and practices, very strong budgetary flexibility, strong budgetary performance, very strong liquidity and a strong institutional framework.” Moody’s stated that Richardson’s strong credit profile is based on “a healthy local economy, favorable resident income levels and historically stable financial position.”
This year the City plans to sell approximately $49.4 million in bonds, which includes $17.4 million for the continuation of the serial sale of bonds associated with projects that are part of the 2015 Bond Program and $32 million for capital needs, which include funds for water and sewer infrastructure improvements, emergency services equipment, information technology equipment, streets, park trails and public facilities including the Public Safety Campus and Fire Station 3.
City Council Votes to Support Renaming Portion of US 75 for Fallen Officer
The City Council approved a resolution Monday that gives their official support to state legislation that would rename a portion of US 75 for Officer David Sherrard, Richardson’s first police officer killed in the line of duty. Two identical bills have been moving through the Texas Legislature that would rename the portion of US 75 that passes through Richardson as the Officer David Sherrard Memorial Highway, with a marker posted at each end.
One bill was unanimously approved by the Texas House of Representatives this week. The Senate bill is still in the committee phase.
Special Permits “Cleaned Up” with New Ordinance
The City Council amended the City’s comprehensive zoning ordinance Monday to add language that allows for automatic repeal of a special permit under certain circumstances, to prevent the buildup of inactive or obsolete special permits. More than 100 of these types of permits were identified by City staff in recent months.
The new circumstances for special permit termination include:
- The required building permit and/or certificate of occupancy is not obtained within six months of receiving the special permit (or as determined by City Council)
- The building permit expires prior to completing required construction
- A building/property that holds a special permit is vacated or not operating for six months or longer
A joint public hearing is planned for April 1 at which the City Council and City Plan Commission will hear from property owners whose permits are at risk for repeal. Click here to view a presentation about the ordinance change given at Monday’s City Council work session.
Blue Bag Letters Being Redeemed
Letters were received by Richardson homeowners this week that can be exchanged for two complimentary rolls of blue recycling bags at several locations around the city. City Hall Water Customer Service reports that an average of 1,000 letters a day this week have been redeemed. (Visit www.cor.net/bluebags for a list of additional locations where you can redeem the letter.)
Through the Blue Bag Program, residents can combine all of their recyclable material into one blue bag and place it out for weekly pickup service. Go to www.cor.net/recyclingguide for a complete list of recyclable items and www.cor.net/recycling to find out your weekly recycling day.
DART Galatyn Park Station Platform Extension Project Begins Next Week
DART will begin a platform extension project Monday, March 25 at Galatyn Park Station, lengthening the platforms to enable more cars on DART trains. Work is expected to continue for the next four months. Rail service will not be disrupted but riders need to be aware that there will be an active construction zone at that station.
Similar work at 28 other Red and Blue Line stations along DART’s light rail system is slated to take place during the next two years.
DART Cotton Belt Community Meeting March 28
The public is invited to a community meeting presented by DART to review the progress of the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Richardson City Hall/Civic Center. Members of the project’s design/pre-construction management team will be on hand to outline the latest developments and answer questions. DART, in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that assesses the impacts and benefits of passenger rail service on the 26-mile Cotton Belt Corridor from DFW International Airport to Plano.
Presentations during the meeting will include:
- Updated alignment drawings showing track configurations, final grade separations (bridges) and station locations per the final EIS
- An overview of the design-builder’s early design and construction schedule
- A description of pre-construction equipment and processes to be used along the corridor
- A general summary of project information
A similar community meeting was held last night in North Dallas; other community meetings are scheduled to take place in Addison and Irving in April. For more information, visit www.DART.org/cottonbelt or contact DART Community Engagement at 214-749-2543.
US 75 HOV Lanes to Be Repurposed
The high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes along US 75 that run through Richardson and beyond will become general purpose lanes a majority of the time thanks to an agreement reached this week between local officials and the Federal Highway Administration. The change, expected later this year, is hoped to improve the capacity and reliability of the busy transportation corridor, providing congestion relief for drivers and better utilization of the HOV lanes.
The agreement calls for the lanes to be general purpose (no toll, no HOV requirement) about 94 percent of the time, but to charge single-occupant vehicles using the lanes a minimal toll during selected hours weekday mornings (southbound) and evenings (northbound). Vehicles with two or more occupants will be able to use the new lanes without being charged the toll. The lanes will remain open as non-tolled general purpose lanes for the rest of the day and weekends, operating around the clock.
Initially, the transitioned lanes will operate from IH 635 to Bethany Drive in Allen. A planned interchange at Ridgeview Drive and US 75 will allow the lanes to extend north to the Sam Rayburn Tollway once the interchange is complete, in 2025. For more information, click here.
Lane Closure on Belt Line Road
The left turn lane on westbound Belt Line Road to South Lindale Lane is closed to traffic due to median construction. Capital Projects staff said the closure could last two weeks while the work is completed.
Cable/Fiber Optic Projects Close Lanes Near Jupiter/Buckingham
Cable/fiber optic work may close lanes near the intersection of Jupiter Road and Buckingham through late September. Drivers may see closures of the right lane of westbound Buckingham Road from Jupiter Road to Buckingham Place daily from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; also during that time frame, the right lane of southbound Jupiter Road between Eastpark Drive and Buckingham Road may be closed.
“Twice as Nice” Consignment Sale Saturday at Civic Center
Find double the selection at the Twice as Nice Consignment Sale Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Richardson City Hall/Civic Center. Sponsored by the North Dallas Mothers of Twins Club, the biannual sale features more than 20,000 barely/gently used items for infants, toddlers, kids, pre-teens and juniors including brand name clothes and shoes; newborn necessities such as strollers, car seats and high chairs; nursery items including cribs, bedding and décor; indoor and outdoor play equipment; toys, games, puzzles, dolls and DVDs; and books for all ages, from kids to parents.
Admission is $1. Bring check or cash if possible—credit cards are accepted but not preferred. For more information, go to www.ndmotc.org.
AARP Tax Help Continues at Senior Center, Library
Free income tax assistance for low-to-moderate income taxpayers continues every Friday through April 12 at the Senior Center, 820 W. Arapaho Rd., from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Mondays through April 15 in the Library’s Basement Program Room from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with an emphasis on seniors. There is no charge for the service, provided by trained volunteers with the American Association of Retired Persons.
Bring Social Security card and a copy of your 2017 tax return. For more information, call 972-744-4381.
RCAS Spring Membership Show Begins Tomorrow
Works by members of the Richardson Civic Art Society (RCAS) will be on display in the Library’s Third Floor Gallery as part of RCAS’ annual juried Spring Show. The exhibit, which ends April 27, features original works in categories such as oil/acrylic on canvas or hard surface, water media on paper, collage/mixed media, and pastels/graphics.
RCAS is funded in part by the Cultural Arts Commission and meets monthly at the Library. For more information, visit www.richardson-arts.org.
“Cookies, Crafts and Crayons” March 28
All ages are invited to take a break and snack, craft and color Thursday, March 28 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the First Floor Program Room. No registration is required—just stop by!
Admission is free and all supplies—and snacks—are provided. For more information, call 972-744-4358.
At the Eisemann Center
- STOMP Tonight and Saturday
7:30 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Tickets are $42-$62.
The eight-member, internationally acclaimed troupe of “body percussionists” makes its Eisemann Center debut with its unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy. Both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments, such as matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and hubcaps.
- “A Historic Evening with Eva Schloss” March 27
7:30 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $25-$50.
Eva Schloss, the 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, peace activist and international speaker, will share her memories of her stepsister, Anne Frank, and her powerful story of survival, grit, loss and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets to Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office, 972-744-4650 and at www.eisemanncenter.com.
At UT Dallas
- Creative Writing Speaker Hector Cantú March 25
7 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Admission is free.
Cantú is the co-creator of the BALDO comic strip, appearing in more than 200 major daily and Sunday newspapers nationwide. For more information, click here.
- “Experimental Methods” Photography Exhibit March 29-April 26
Opening reception March 29 from 6:30-8 p.m.; regular hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday-Friday 1-6 p.m. at SP/N Gallery, Synergy Park North 2. Admission is free.
Photographers Zachary Chroust and Kaitlyn Killian explore experimental darkroom techniques in this exhibition, including gelatin silver prints of burned negatives, stitching and splicing, selective development, chemigrams and a reimagining of contemporary portraiture.
“Bridges” Multicultural Arts Festival Tomorrow
Repertory Company Theatre (RCT), 770 N. Coit Rd., is hosting a Multicultural Arts Festival Saturday, March 23 beginning at 1 p.m. Expect food, music, dance, art, fashion and fun. Interactive booths include calligraphy and henna.
Admission is free from 1-4:30 p.m., with a $10 fee at the door for the 3 p.m. RCT Children’s Theatre performance of “Broadway’s Best.” Activities will take a break at 4:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., a performance of RCT’s “Puttin’ on the Glitz” will be presented, with a special opening number by the Spectacular Senior Follies. Tickets to the evening performance are $30. Call 972-690-5029 to purchase in advance.
For more information, visit www.rcttheatre.com. Sponsored by a grant from the Ann and Charles Eisemann Arts Innovation Initiative.
“Twelve Angry Men” Opens Tonight at RTC
The Richardson Theatre Centre, 518 W. Arapaho Rd., Ste. 113, is presenting “Twelve Angry Men” through April 7. In this classic thriller, the defense and prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man is guilty or innocent of murdering his father.
Show days and times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$22 and include complimentary sweets, snacks and beverages. For reservations, call 972-699-1300. To view a video produced by the City’s Communications Department about the show, click here.
Time to De-winterize Sprinkler Systems
City Parks staff report that crews are readying the City’s sprinkler systems for spring and summer, and recommend homeowners do the same, to identify any problems before temperatures rise and landscapes suffer. Simple adjustments can save money and water—a broken sprinkler system running for six months on an average lawn can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water, according to the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).
While winter water hours are still in effect in Richardson until April 1 (watering allowed at any time of day), it’s a great time to run a test of your sprinkler system during daylight hours so you can observe each zone, making sure there are no leaks and that sprinkler heads are working properly. Avoid over-spraying of sidewalks, driveways and streets; adjust or replace heads as necessary.
Water University, a division of Texas A&M’s AgriLife Research Extension Service/Dallas Center, has an irrigation troubleshooting list posted online, with tips on how to fix irrigation system problems, including a step-by-step “how-to” video. Click here to view.
Once your system is in good working order, make sure to set it on “manual” and sign up for Water My Yard, a free service from A&M Extension in partnership with NTMWD. Water My Yard e-mails you weekly custom watering recommendations based on your address and type of irrigation system. It’s one of the best ways to keep water bills as low as possible while keeping lawns healthy. Find it at www.watermyyard.org.
Free Leak Detection Pack Available Through Sunday
Fix a Leak Week is being celebrated this week, an annual EPA WaterSense program which encourages residents to check for water leaks and drips inside the home. To help in this endeavor, the City is offering a free leak detection tablet pack to residents for detecting silent toilet leaks, one of the largest water wasters. Packs are still available at the following locations during their normal weekend hours, through March 24:
- Heights Recreation Center, 711 W. Arapaho Rd., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m.
- Huffhines Recreation Center, 200 N. Plano Rd., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m.
- Senior Citizens Center, 820 W. Arapaho Rd., Saturday 1-5 p.m.
Senior Financial Analyst ($4,506-$6,827 monthly)
Finance is seeking individuals interested in providing analytical support related to economic development, property taxes, hotel/motel occupancy taxes and other Finance projects.
Heavy Equipment Operator ($3,185-$4,255 monthly)
Public Services is seeking individuals interested in driving and operating heavy motorized equipment used for maintenance purposes.
Recreation Support Technician-part time ($8-$13.75 hourly)
Huffhines and Heights recreation centers are seeking individuals interested in assisting supervising instructors, programs and activities; as well as, enrolling students in programs and providing Parks Department information to patrons.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Sweet Pea is part kangaroo, part Catahoula and mostly American mutt mix. Yes, kangaroo! She loves to run, bounce around and look at those ears! Sweet Pea is spayed, about 6 years old, fully vaccinated, house trained, leash trained and knows some basic commands. She would do best in a home as the only pet and would love to have a yard and lots of playtime. Sweet Pea has been searching for a forever home for more than four months. Maybe today is her lucky day?
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.