Category Archives: City Council

Grapevine City Council Meeting Information

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Courtesy of City of Grapevine

View the Tuesday, July 17, Grapevine City Council meeting agenda at bit.ly/2JvK7Mw. View all meetings via live stream at bit.ly/2nDMaYB.

Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month, and when special sessions are called.

The Council consists of:

To learn more, visit http://www.grapevinetexas.gov/847/City-Council.

City Council approves funds for Grapevine Main community plaza Peace Circle

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At its meeting July 3, the Grapevine City Council unanimously acted to designate $895,000 to purchase decorative art for its new community plaza.

The art, called the Peace Circle, will serve as the focal point of the plaza, which will be developed alongside the Grapevine Main TEXRail train station, the boutique Hotel Vin and parking garage.

“This Peace Circle has long been considered for Grapevine to tell its story, and its greatest story as well,” said Paul W. McCallum, executive director of the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Read more from Community Impact…

Lewisville City Council chooses name of new multigenerational center

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Photo courtesy of City of Lewisville

Lewisville City Council voted unanimously to name the new multigenerational center Thrive at its July 2 meeting.

Parks and Recreation Director Stacie Anaya said Thrive will encompass the spirit and essence of the center.

“Thrive—that’s what we want people to do when they step into the facility,” she said.”Thrive is very marketable for us in terms of what we can do for programs and fliers.”

Read more from Community Impact…

Grapevine City Council approves new townhouses at SH 360

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On June 19, the Grapevine City Council approved a zoning change to allow for 69 townhouse units at 4201 SH 360, Grapevine. The community will be called The Reserve at Bear Creek.

The estimated price range for the homes will be about $400,000 with floor plans of 2,800 and 2,600 square feet.

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Read more from Community Impact…

Railroad crossing quiet to come

Pearland residents wondering when the train horns will stop will soon have quiet, city officials said.

City Council and staff held a discussion in December regarding co-existing with the railroad traffic that goes through the heart of town.

Assistant City Manager Trent Epperson followed up on questions from the council regarding railroad signals at Walnut and State Highway 35.

Read more from The Reporter News…

Pearland Resident Receives Special Veteran’s Day Surprise

Gary Moore (L) and Phil Olvera.

Gary Moore (L) and Phil Olvera.

It was a special Veteran’s Day for Pearland City Councilman Gary Moore and his family. After three years, son Phil Olvera was home from the Army.

Olvera did tours in Afghanistan during his active service; he will now be one of the front-runners if troops are called up again until he completes his obligations (assuming he doesn’t re-enlist!).

Moore and his family rented the Pearland Lion’s Club building for a small surprise party.

The party soon took on a life of its own once the community caught wind of Olvera’s homecoming. “We are so grateful and overwhelmed,” said Moore of Pearland. “I didn’t pay for anything but the hall rental. People came out of the woodwork to take care of things I hadn’t even thought of. We live in a wonderful city that we can call HOME, even though we have lived in many places.”

A military man himself, Moore and his wife, Christina, daughter Cheyenne and Olvera have had addresses in several cities in Texas and other states. “It wasn’t until we moved to Pearland that both Christina and myself said to each other, ‘We have found our hometown,'”said Moore.

You Got Me! Olvera said to friends and family.

You Got Me! Olvera said to friends and family.

Olvera was completely surprised when he walked into the hall, expecting to address Pearland Lions about serving in the military and commenting on Veteran’s Day. “You totally got me!” Olvera said.

“Cody Rogers is another vet I would like to be recognized for his outstanding service,” Olvera added. “He is a great soldier and was a fellow classmate at Pearland High.”

The Color Guard from the Pearland Police Department came to provide the colors, and Bella Hill, daughter of Greg and Amy Hill, sang the National Anthem, leaving hardly a dry eye in the hall.

Moore would like to extend a hearty THANKS to:

  • The Pearland Police Dept. Honor Guard
  • Bottomless Pit Cook Team
  • Sam’s Club Marketing Manager Jennifer Tinsely
  • Sam’s Club Store Manager Eva
  • Silver Creek Dental: Dr. Hugh Patton
  • Joe’s BBQ
  • Councilman Keith & Gabby Ordeneaux
  • Ryden Cohen
  • James McKendree
  • Sasha Costa
  • Lisa & Keith Ciaccio
  • ADDI
  • Stacey with E Glaesmann
  • Fotorny Photography
  • And everyone that attended to make the night special!

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Council sets tax rate, debates public safety staffing

Pearland City Council held a Special Meeting at City Hall Monday (Aug. 17), along with three joint public hearings with the Planning and Zoning Commission. Among the topics discussed were the adoption of a new tax rate and police staffing issues.

Consideration of the proposed budget was added to the meeting agendas of Sept. 14 and Sept. 21. Council also set the required public hearing on the budget for Aug. 31.

TaxBillCompCouncil passed a resolution, with a vote of four to one, to set the tax rate for the next fiscal year to .7053, which is lower than the current rate of .7193. Councilmembers Gary Moore, Derrick Reed, Tony Carbone and Greg Hill were in favor of this new rate; Councilmember Keith Ordeneaux was opposed.

As a result of the lower tax rate, the balance of the General Fund was decreased by $617,000. Council and staff discussed ways to offset expenditures.

City Manager Clay Pearson pointed out that the Streets and Sidewalks budget is a flexible, even though the original idea was to add to that number.

“We can’t add to streets and sidewalks like we wanted to because of the lowered tax rate from what had been projected,” he said. “Our streets are in pretty good shape now, but we need to be investing in a mix of fixes to keep them that way. The sidewalks need some work and have gaps as we are a growing city.”

Director of Finance Claire Bogard proposed an increase in garage sale permit revenue, which would add $36,000 to the General Fund. She also suggested reducing Street Maintenance by $581,000.

Public Works Assistant Director Michael Leech suggested a program that would solely focus on local streets to save money.

If these changes are adopted, any funds in excess of the General Fund balance policy on Sept. 30, after the yearly audit, would be used to replenish the Street Maintenance account.

PD ReStructurePearland Police Chief J.C. Doyle presented proposed departmental changes to Council. He emphasized the creation of a “proactive unit” that would require some re-structuring of the agency, such as moving a Lieutenant from the Crime Investigations Division and a Sergeant from the Person’s Crimes Unit.

The changes would include implementation of Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS), which uses location-based crime and accident data to determine the most effective way to use departmental personnel and other resources.

Other needs mentioned were in-car and body-worn cameras, improved radio communications, better fleet maintenance, ongoing training, Animal Services needs and adequate staffing.

Chief Doyle said that he had no problems with the budget as presented. “I didn’t see anything negative that couldn’t be worked through with the proposed budget of four officers and two sergeant position promotions,” he said.

Councilmembers Hill, Carbone, Moore and Reed expressed concern about police department staffing.

“We have 13 guys or less a third of the time spread out among 30 square miles,” said Carbone. “If we have a big incident, it’s not uncommon to see three or four units responding. It’s unacceptable to have such little staffing for such a big city. Houston folks come here just as we go there. I don’t want to fall behind the curve and have to play catch up when it comes to crime rates. We’ve been lucky so far.”

“I agree with Councilmember Carbone,” said Reed. “We just had that Kroger incident. Houston folks are coming down here. We have been lucky, especially at night when there’s more than one unit responding. It’s stretching folks thin. We’re down to budgeting for three officers because Pearland ISD is paying for one. It’s unfathomable to imagine we only need one new officer on the street because the others are promotions.”

Chief Doyle added that there are three officers currently in Field Training and seven more in the academy, expected to graduate in November.

Carbone reiterated that, “Public safety is primary concern of most of Council. The Police Department requested 16 officers last year and eight were funded. We need more officers. Even citizens say that. It’s been a clearly communicated goal for last two years and I can’t understand why this budget only proposes one additional patrol officer.”

Ordeneaux said, ”Everyone would like to see more officers, but how do we pay for it? I haven’t heard any answers. I hear lower the taxes. We turned down several opportunities for funding. How much longer are we going to put things off? We’re cutting one-time expenses and adding re-occurring ones. This will snowball to bigger issues.”

Mayor Reid added, “Law enforcement is changing. People seem to want to come to town and help themselves. There’s a fine veneer between the good guys and the bad guys. We can’t put a gate up. We can’t put enough patrol on street to eradicate crime, but what is proposed should be good enough.”

Because of some confusion about the actual number of officer positions proposed and the promotions to sergeant positions, Chief Doyle explained how officers move up in the department.

“Everyone starts in patrol, which is our manpower pool. Anyone who gets promoted or moved must come up in patrol first. We have 18 officers in A Squad, 17 in B Squad, 18 in C Squad and19 in D Squad. We have recently started looking at the numbers generated by officers instead of software. We are hoping staffing will get us better tools to predict how many officers we will need in the future,” said Doyle.

“I expected that we’d get the other eight officers left over from last year,” said Reed. “Either crime has gone down or something else significant has changed.”

“Any crime is too much crime,” replied Doyle. “I put a lot of stock in DDACTS. We look to our Crime Analyst for help in patrol. We can do things differently that won’t need so much manpower. We need a third party study to tell us what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong.”

“The fact is that we are bringing in new additional public safety people and they’ll be filtered in over time,” said Pearson. “We’re making a concerted effort with recruitment to deliver the numbers of positions of what was budgeted. The budget shows that in June 2015 there were 228 police and fire on the payroll, 32 more from the same payroll two years prior.

“We will start to see the benefits of new officers soon. Chief Doyle showed there are seven cadets in the academy and three more in the field training officer program coming on in April. In addition, Fire will be adding on nine full-time fire department personnel.

“We were at 100% staffed for a while in June, which is a first in several years. One person since resigned to go work for the U.S. Marshal’s Office. We had a civilian fill the Quartermaster position when he retired and dedicated an officer working with IT to detectives. We are a lot closer to where we wanted to be now,” Pearson said.

Deputy City Manager Jon Branson explained the costs. “Eight new officers would cost approximately $647,000 more in the budget and would have an impact on equipment and vehicles as well. This year, we heard it loud and clear and included four officers in the budget, which is what we thought was asked for,” he said.

“It’s too late now, unfortunately,” said Ordeneaux. “This is the third year in a row we have looked at health benefits and gone middle of the road. We’ve done well on raises for staff. If we’re not raising the tax rate or cutting spending, we are looking at $1.2 million in total cuts from the proposed budget. I don’t see where the money will come from. We tied our hands when we set the lower tax rate.”

Pearson said that the public safety discussion would continue on Aug. 31, giving staff time to look at the budget numbers again and make new recommendations.

The three public hearing topics were the adoption of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan and two zone change requests. No action may be taken at public hearings, so decisions will be made on these issues at future meetings.

To learn more about the proposed budget, the Comprehensive Plan and future meeting dates, visit PearlandTX.gov.