Tonight’s meeting was a long one with us finally wrapping up around 11:30.Â However, there were a few important topics to discuss.Â We had a large turnout from citizens, mainly from those interested in the burying of utility lines and the proposed skate park.Â Revising the sound ordinance for concerts at Pizza Hut Park and proposed fuel surcharge from our waste disposal company were lengthy discussions as well.
The hot topic of the night was the discussion of burying the utility lines along Eldorado.Â You can see the staff report at a prior blog entry.Â We received dozens of e-mails from residents that travel along the Eldorado corridor once the overhead utility lines started going in.Â Frisco had established an ordinance requiring utility lines to be buried several years ago.Â Many other cities have had similar ordinances which once challenged, did not hold up in court.Â As a result, the case law has made our ordinance unenforceable.Â Essentially, utility providers are challenged to provide the lowest cost service they can to residents.Â Forcing utility companies to bury their lines, at a cost of nearly 5 times of placing them overhead, would require the utility companies to charge higher rates.Â Therefore, the City is left with the decision of paying for the underground lines if we want them.Â Estimates for this stretch of Eldorado ranged from $6 million to $9 million to do that, roughly 8-12% of our annual budget.Â In addition, we would have to pick up the bill for future repairs.Â Another challenging obstacle is that even if we paid to bury the lines, a future provider could come in and put their lines above ground.Â This happened in the City of Allen where they paid large sums to bury some lines only to have another provide come in later and put theirs above ground.Â We are all frustrated with our inability to have more control over the burying of utility lines and I believe most of the residents who attended understand the obstacles.Â However, we are going to continue to work with the current providers seeking ways to make them as aesthetically pleasing as possible as well as exploring ideas to help get future lines buried.
The next big discussion item was the purchase of roughly 12 acres adjacent to Frisco Commons Park.Â This plat is located between Frisco Commons and Bicentennial Parks, connecting the two.Â The purpose of pursuing this land would be for the development of a skate park and other elements.Â Finding a location for a potential skate park has been a big challenge for Parks and Rec over the last 5 years.Â This location is ideal as it is located along a major road and is centrally located.Â In addition, the surrounding residents are very supportive of the project.Â Admittedly, I was luke warm on this project when it was first proposed.Â However, after spending countless hours speaking with our Parks and Rec Board and staff, citizens of Frisco, and surrounding cities with skate parks, the benefits were clear.Â In addition, I am generally supportive of projects that help encourage an active lifestyle.Â Funds for this project were approved by our voters in the last bond election.Â My final objection was with the price of the land.Â This property is zoned multi-family which sells at a premium.Â The asking price of $4.90/sq ft, in my opinion, was too rich for this piece of land.Â I told staff that to gain my support, the deal would have to be renegotiate to $4.50/sq ft.Â Other Council members shared in he concern with the price tag of the land.Â Staff stepped up to that challenge and gained acceptance from the seller, saving the City over $200,000 that may be reinvested in this or other projects.Â Kudos to staff for working to get a better deal for our taxpayers.Â Other ancillary benefits of this project include making a continuous park connection with Bicentennial Park, increased parking for events at Frisco Commons, and a potential spray park in a central location.Â I am confident this park will become a regional attraction and I look forward to the development process.
The next discussion topic centered around our noise ordinance.Â The Police Chief was proposing a revised ordinance that allowed concerts at Pizza Hut Park to extend past the current 10 pm ordinance, until 11 pm.Â Concerts were currently running until 11 pm and the Police had a tough time enforcing our current ordinance.Â The City of Frisco is a partner in Pizza Hut Park with a significant investment and we do want to make sure it continues to be a world-class venue.Â It has quickly becoming a “must stop” for some of the top name performers.Â In fact, Ozzie will be making his own concert this year this weekend in Frisco.Â Tickets have been sold in all 50 states and over a dozen countries.Â Pizza Hut Park is an integral part of Frisco becoming a destination city.Â The operators were concerned that if the 10 pm ordinance was upheld, it would handcuff their ability to book these type of shows, especially with new stadiums such as the new Cowboy Stadium coming online soon. Council unanimously agreed to extend the time to 11:30 on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 pm on all other nights.
Finally, the last major item centered around the discussion of a request by Community Waste Disposal (CWD), our trash and recycling provider, to grant them an increase in rates due to fuel cost escalations.Â These rates would be passed onto our citizens.Â We are in the last year of a 5 year contract with CWD.Â I am certain future contracts will contain provisions for wide changes in fuel costs.Â However, many Council members expressed concern with the precedent of renegotiating contracts before their expiration.Â CWD has been a tremendous community partner and delivers first-class service.Â We do want them to be successful in Frisco and make a reasonable profit for their service.Â However, we are elected to protect the best interest of our residents.Â A concern on the other side is if it is not granted, that they may have to cut costs in other areas that may result in a reduction in the quality of the service.Â We will be discussing this further in our next Council meeting in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.
A few other items of note:
- Our tax rolls increased by 9.18% this year to $13,591,826,586.Â This compares to increases of 17.9% in 2007, 19.8% in 2006, 17.6% in 2005, and 18.6% in 2004.Â These trends will be discussed further as well start moving through our budget process over the next few months.
- Angela Lunsford, Records Management, received 2 awards from ARMA-Association of Records and Information Management Professionals.Â Congrats Angela!
Finally, there will be a Parks and Rec meeting to discuss possible changes to the BF Phillips Master Plan to include a dog park.Â The meeting will be help at Bledsoe Elementary, next Tuesday August 12, at 6:30 pm.
Have a great week!
Picture of Proposed Skate Park: