City Council Meeting Recap – 09/06/2011
Pledge of Allegiance
Recognition of Visitors/Proclamations/Presentation
Tina from T's Home Cooking accepts KDB award
Keep Duncanville Beautiful Board recognized T’s Home Cooking as the September 2011 Property of the Month. T’s Home Cooking is located at 418 N. Main Street
- Masco Cabinetry was presented with a resolution recognizing them for their green initiatives. Rodger Hardy of Masco came forward and explained that they have a green committee that works with the school to teach kids how to be environmentally friendly.
- A resolution was presented proclaiming September as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Citizens Public Comment Period
- Judy Smithey thanked 911 operators, fire department personnel and other first responders for their quick actions and professionalism as they responded to a gas main break at their neighbor’s home.
1C. Approval of Minutes
2C. Approval of Resolution No. 2011-09062 authorizing the City to apply for an award from the Assistance to Firefighters Grand Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Agency for replacement emergency response equipment.
3C. Approval of Ordinance NO. 2149 abandoning to the abutting property owners a portion of the street-right-way of Barton Lane from its point of intersection with E. Red Bird Lane to its point on intersection with Woodhaven Blvd., as described and depicted in Exhibit A; providing for the furnishing of a certified copy of this ordinance for recording in the real property records of Dallas County, Texas, as a quitclaim deed; and providing an effective date.
Roger Hardy of Masco accepts resolution from Mayor Green
4C. Approval of expenditure of DCEDC funds not to exceed $330,000 for reimbursement of costs for site improvements of the Cedar Park Shopping Center, located at the northwest corner of the intersection of W. Wheatland Road and S. Cedar Ridge Drive, to be paid over a ten year period in an amount equal to 100% of the sales tax increment resulting from taxable sales following renovations.
- All consent agenda items were approved by a vote of 7-0
5. Public hearing to consider the request of Homer DeFord to amend the existing “I-1” Light Industrial zoning to include a Specific Use “SU” permit to allow a museum on 4.7 acres (204,878 square feet) out of Lot 1, Block A, of the DeFord Addition, more commonly known as 1050 North Duncanville Road.
- No one came forward to speak. Public hearing was closed by a vote of 7-0.
6. Consider directing staff on the request of Homer DeFord to amend the existing “I-1” Light Industrial zoning to include a Specific Use “SU” permit to allow a museum on 4.7 acres (204,878 square feet) of of Lot 1, Block A, of the DeFord Addition, more commonly known as 1050 North Duncanville Road.
- Jameson made the motion and Smithey seconded to approve the SU permit with the following stipulations.
- No more than 18 RV parking spaces
- No one stay for longer than 30 consecutive days
- Primary use is for museum purposes
Passed by a vote of 7-0.
7. Receive Police Department public safety report.
- Police Chief Robert Brown reported on police activity for the city. Current trends show that if the current trend continues, the crime rate may reach its lowest since 2007. Jan-Jun 2010 compared to Jan-Jun 2011 shows a 2% reduction in Part 1 Crimes as reported by the FBI.
- There have been 25,092 calls for service so far this year.
- Two officer positions are vacant and hiring is currently frozen.
8. Receive Projects Update.
- Public Works Director Steve Miller commented on several projects:
- Signal Timing Grant thru COG was complete on June 30, 2011. Study showed that $239,645 in fuel, vehicle maintenance and citizen time was saved due to the changes made to the signals
- Main Street construction is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.
- Wintergreen Road intersection improvement shows to have a $630,000 shortfall in funds. The three cities involved (DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville) have agreed to split the cost. Jameson questioned the expense and the approval. $500,000 was set aside by the city should over runs occur per the Mayor. Smithey asked that Miller check with the county on construction since all other projects seem to be coming in under budget due to costs of materials falling.
- Eastbound 20 to Clark Road exit is currently 55% complete and is expected to complete in February 2012.
9. Consider directing staff on locally enforced idling regulations.
- Cannon moves for approval of ordinance as presented by COG, Smithey seconds. It was explained that due to non-attainment of federal clean air standards has led for such ordinances to be enacted in order to cut back on emissions. If the area does not meet the federal mandate, then there cut be a cut of federal highway funds. Passed by a vote of 6-1 with Thomas voting against.
10. Consider approval of Resolution NO. 2011-090610 expanding the membership of the Duncanville Community Multicultural Commission.
- Item passed by a vote of 7-0
11. Consider appointments to the Duncanville Community Multicultural Commission.
- Appointments passed by a vote of 7-0. A complete list of names will be provided as soon as received from the city.
12. Consider directing staff on FY 2011-2012 budget.
- Smithey moved and Cannon seconded to direct the city staff to prepare the budget as presented with the following additions:
- Addition of Code Red
- Extend library hours back to 56 hours per week
- Library to continue promotional events
- Funds for Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to continue traffic enforcement on the highways
- Proposed 3% merit raises for employees.
- Thomas made a motion to strike the 3% merit raises for employees. She presented a PowerPoint presentation with bar graphs showing how employees were at the midrange already and that it made more sense to wait until a better economic time to reward employees.
Both Thomas and Jameson expressed their doubts that employees were leaving to go to another city. After the council meeting, Kent Cagle was asked about this and he provided a copy of an item in the council’s budget packet. Of 46 employees that resigned in the time period of 2008-2011, 17 (37%) left for employment with another city. This includes eight police officers and five firefighters that the city invested over ¾ of a year in salary, benefits, and training to have them leave for employment with another city in the metroplex.
Smithey reiterated that they were not comparing apples to apples and that the past two years there have been no raises given to employees and that the city was able to do so this year without raising taxes. “It’s not equitable to treat our employees as second class citizens.” Smithey continued, “We don’t value you (the employees) to give you a raise to keep you at the midrange.”
City Manager Cagle clarified that there has been no raises the past two years, that health insurance increases have been passed on to the employees and retirees, and that furlough days (days without pay) have been given to non-civil service employees.
Cannon pointed out that the 2006-2007 budget was $23 million and that the budget for 2011-2012 is $22 million.
Don Freeman then accused Smithey of rushing to make the motion and push it through without talking about car allowances, cell phone allowances and other items being discussed. Mayor Green then informed Freeman that a motion had to be made and seconded before any discussion could be had about amendments and that this was progressing in the correct order.
Jameson then brought up that water/wastewater was going up 3% and that she did not want to see that go up. Cagle pointed out that the rise in rates was to accommodate necessary infrastructure needs and that only a small portion went to payroll.
“Councils I’ve served on have been hesitant to raise water/wastewater rates to meet infrastructure needs over the past few years,” said Cannon.
Janet Harris stated that she would not be supporting Thomas’ motion, but felt that another meeting was necessary to “iron out the kinks” and get questions answered. Freeman asks Smithey to withdraw his motion, but Smithey refuses.
The vote was called for on Thomas’ motion and it was 2-5 with Thomas and Jameson voting to cut the 3% merit raise from the budget. The motion failed.
Harris made a motion to postpone the vote on the budget so that the council could have another meeting to address three specific points about the budget.
- Merit raise
- Car allowances
- Cell phone allowances.
- The meeting was scheduled for September 12, 2011 at 4pm in the council briefing room. Harris’ motion passed by a vote of 6-1 with Smithey voting against.
Citizen Teresa Bryant was allowed to come up and speak on item 12. She said addressed that while employees needed to be compensated that now was not the time to be doing it, that in two years when the city debt falls off and economic times are better, that then would be a better time.
13. Discuss and consider action on any and all matters pertaining to the Main Street grant, funding of the Main Street construction project, and Downtown Duncanville zoning.
- A motion was made and seconded to create a Main Street District Review Board to hear any special requests regarding construction in the Main Street District. The 7-member board will allow each councilmember to appoint someone to the board. Motion passed 7-0. A second motion was made that developer Monte Anderson could file with the Planning and Zoning Commission to hear his case without have to pay to re-file.
- Citizens were allowed to comment regarding this item:
- Cindy Jones – congratulated the city on the forward movement of the Main Street Vision and thinks it will bring new businesses to Duncanville.
- Cindy Mohat – hope in moving forward and renovating Duncanville and the need for “new blood” and that it will be costly if we don’t meet the grant obligations
- Lee Burton – addressed the discord on the council and that he Main Street development was good our city. That downtown Grapevine looks a lot like what the vision for Duncanville is. That we should not rely on the big box stores and that to not “shoot Duncanville in the foot”, a stagnant pool turns into a dirty mess, and that change is needed.
- John Wentz – commented on the short sightedness of voters and elected officials. This has been a long process and that Duncanville is in real danger is we change our long-term vision due to short-term financial issues. Accept change and look at the long-term picture.
- Jeff Burton – urged as a voter and as a citizen to not end the relationship with Monte Anderson. That the council gambled with the citizen’s money with the official newspaper, and it is not time to gamble with the growth of Main Street. “We should trust our city council, and I don’t,” said Burton. “I am embarrassed by some the actions of this council.
14. Direct staff to seek proposals for the provision of City Attorney services for the City of Duncanville, Texas with the deadline for submittals no later than Monday, October 3, 2011.
- Jameson moved to put out a call for qualifications for city attorney and was seconded by Freeman.Smithey wanted to know why there was a need when the present firm had represented so adequately. City Manger Cagle asked for a clarification from the council on what the qualifications should be since the attorney answers to the council and the council would be reviewing the submissions. Cagle was directed to contact the Texas Municipal League and see if qualifications could be obtained from them. The vote passed 4-3 with Cannon, Green, and Smithey voting against.
- Citizens were again allowed to comment on items:
- Justin Robinson – 3rd generation citizen chose to bring his family to Duncanville to raise his children because of the sense of community. The council needs to address three items; one – If you remove Anderson as the developer, who will you replace him with, two – Why remove someone with a proven track record, 3 – What do you stand for? Politics, rivalry and getting even? Or a community?
- Jeff Jones – spoke in support of the Main Street project and the rebranding of Duncanville. That there is a need for place to be a community. That he council is embarrassing and what is the council going to do to make it better. That the city has been on the same path for 25 years and it needs to change.
- Dena McFarren – a local realtor that specializes in Duncanville area. That Duncanville is a tough sale, and that the Main Street development is a shot in the arm.
- Stan Smith – commented that everything the council does effects that will do business in our city. That the council needs to consider what they are doing and that it is critical to the development of Duncanville.
- Victor Burnett wanted to know what the problem was with the current attorney. Obviously, if the city only has two pending lawsuits, then the attorney must be doing something right and that why the council needs to fix something that would is not broken.
- Jeff Burton commented that the legal firm had represented the city well and why spend the time and money?
15. Discuss and possible action on letter sent out by the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce regarding partnering with the Dallas Morning News Neighbors Go to create a special section Rediscovering Duncanville.
- Thomas requested that this be placed on the agenda and wanted to know what the city had committed to regarding the event and what the publishing date of the piece was. Cagle related that the city was committed to only assisting with editorial copy and fact checking. That they piece was scheduled for October. Thomas asked if the piece could be delayed until November when Main Street would be finished. Mayor Green advised that Neighbors Go was more than willing to follow up when Main Street was finished.
16. Councilmember Reports – Items of community interest regarding with no action will be taken, as authorized by Section 551.0415 of the Government Code.
- Smithey reported that the Duncanville Community Theatre production starts next week. He also reported that people had called him regarding the prior meeting when everyone was vacated from the 4B board that the agenda did not reflect that as an action item and asked for a legal opinion from the attorney as to the legality of the action.
- Cannon also commented on the production of Then There Were None, by the Duncanville Community Theatre. Also, spoke on the 9/11 remembrances scheduled and that at the DHS football game the halftime would be dedicated to remembering those that lost their lives. He also mentioned the Water Wise seminars being conducted by the Dallas Water Utilities at Mt. View College.