Feb. 24, 2017
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.
Wildflower! Announces Headline Acts; More to Come
Organizers of the City’s annual Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival, to be held May 19-21, have signed performance agreements with a variety of award-winning eclectic performers to help commemorate the Festival’s 25 years of music, art and food. Headliners announced Monday include the B-52s, Guster, Martha Davis and The Motels, X-Ambassadors, Bowling for Soup, Shooter Jennings and Ruthie Foster. Additional headliners are expected to be announced soon. In addition, Almost Queen, a tribute to the iconic rock band, Queen, will perform daily inside the Eisemann Center.
In addition to live performances by national, regional and local bands, this year’s anniversary celebration will continue other popular features including WF! Kids, WF! Eats, WF! Marketplace and Performers Row, which showcases strolling entertainers, buskers and acrobats. Wildflower! 2017 also continues the Battle of the Bands contest, the Budding Talent Competition and the Art Guitar Auction.
Tickets will be available for purchase April 1. For a schedule (including the complete list of bands and performers announced Monday) and up-to-date event information, visit the newly revamped Festival website at www.wildflowerfestival.com and follow Wildflower! on social media.
Tax Exemption Increased for Seniors and Disabled
The City Council approved an ordinance Monday that increases the property tax exemption for disabled and senior citizens from $70,000 to $80,000 due to increasing property values. Disabled and senior citizen homeowners will see a tax savings of $500.13, up from $437.61 in fiscal year 2016-17.
Under the City’s Financial Policies, the City Council regularly reviews the property tax exemption for citizens over age 65 and disabled persons with a goal to maintain a tax benefit of approximately 30 percent of the average home value. The current average senior home value is $229,526, an increase of 13.52 percent from the prior fiscal year, and the existing $70,000 exemption would not meet the 30 percent goal if values increase as expected in 2017-18.
The appraisal districts will incorporate the higher amount on notices mailed to qualified residents in May.
First Quarter Financial Report Given
The City is on track with its 2016-17 Budget, according to City staff who presented the City Council with a detailed 2016-17 First Quarter Financial Report at Monday’s work session. Revenues and expenditures of the General, Solid Waste Services, Golf and Hotel/Motel Tax funds are performing as expected and within budget projections, with some revenues slightly above budget projections and Water and Sewer fund revenues slightly below projections. The First Quarter Report represents activity from October through December 2016.
To view Monday’s presentation, click here.
Police Department Gives 2016 Year End Review
The City Council heard from Richardson Police Chief Jimmy Spivey at Monday’s work session as he presented the end of year review for 2016. Chief Spivey was pleased to report that overall crime in Richardson continues to follow the downward trend begun in 2009, lower than state and national averages in property crime and far lower in violent crime.
Among the highlights he presented were data from the recently released Texas Crime Rate Index (based on 2015 statistics), showing that Richardson is the fifth safest city out of the 37 Texas cities that have a population of 100,000 or more, a jump from 17th place just a few years ago. Spivey cited community involvement as a contributing factor, including 767 Crime Watch volunteers (covering every neighborhood or 26,503 homes), 259 registered Video Crime Watch cameras, a Business Crime Watch program, 93 Volunteers in Police Service, great citizen relationships with neighborhood police officers, steady youth participation in Explorers and the Youth Citizens Police Academy, and high citywide participation in National Night Out.
To view Monday’s presentation, including more detailed crime statistics and a community appreciation video produced by RPD, click here.
Candidates Certified for May City Council Election
Richardson City Secretary Aimee Nemer has certified the submitted applications for candidates running for Richardson’s City Council seats in the May 6 election. The filing period for candidates ended Feb. 17.
A drawing took place Monday to determine the listing order of candidates on the ballot who are running for places with more than one candidate. Following is the list of certified candidates in the order they will appear on the ballot:
- City Council Place 1
- City Council Place 2
Mark J. Solomon
- City Council Place 3
- City Council Place 4
- City Council Place 5
Marta Gómez Frey
- City Council Place 6
To register to vote in time for the May 6 election, new voters must submit their voter registration application to the Voter Registrar of the county in which they reside, by April 6. Voter registration cards are available in the City Secretary’s office at City Hall or the Texas Secretary of State website by clicking here. Early voting begins April 24.
- Mayor (Place 7)
For more information, contact the City Secretary at 972-744-4290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work on Centennial Storage Tank Begins
Work has begun on the rehabilitation project for the Centennial Elevated Storage Tank, located near the intersection of Centennial Boulevard and Grove Road. The project is expected to last approximately three months and will include the installation of a new water mixing system, replacement of a major valve and the repainting of the tower’s interior and exterior surfaces. In addition, temporary antenna towers are scheduled to be installed to support cellular service. (These will be removed once the project is complete.)
While there will be some noise related to the work being performed, crews will endeavor to limit disruptions as much as possible. Major work will take place Monday through Friday with occasional work performed on some Saturdays in order to maintain the schedule.
The refurbishment is part of planned maintenance and updating to keep the storage tank performing at a high standard, made possible as part of the City Council’s continued focus on maintaining and improving infrastructure.
For more information, please contact Richardson’s 24-hour response center at 972-744-4111.
Heart for the Arts Awards Given at Gala
The Richardson Arts Alliance honored the 2016 recipients of the “Heart for the Arts” awards at its annual Heart for the Arts Gala at the Eisemann Center. The organization promotes and develops the cultural arts in Richardson through communications, education and collaboration by its member organizations.
The honorees, first announced in October, are Kitty Goddard, president of Arts Incubator of Richardson and past chair of the City’s Cultural Arts Commission; Melanie Moore, artistic director of the Contemporary Chorale for the past 16 years; and Bill Fox, who has served as Technical and Operations Manager for the Eisemann Center since it opened in 2002.
For more information about the Richardson Arts Alliance, go to www.richardsonartsalliance.org.
Registration Opens for Swim Classes/Summer Camps March 1
Registration begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday for the City’s 2017 summer camps and swim classes. To register or see a list of classes, go to www.cor.net/parksonline.
Class information is also included in the March issue of Richardson Today that will be delivered to mailboxes next week.
BHS Ramblers Visit Fire Station 4
The Berkner High School Ramblers dance team visited Fire Station 4 this morning to thank the firefighters for their service and to deliver a batch of cookies. The Ramblers visited the fire station as part of National Random Acts of Kindness Week. While there, the Ramblers performed a dance to Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Going Down (’Til The Sun Comes Up).”
The BHS Ramblers are a country-western dance and stunt team that has entertained local, state and national (Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) audiences. The Ramblers are an annual fixture at Richardson’s Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival and Santa’s Village.
March Richardson Today Hits Mailboxes Next Week
The March issue of Richardson Today will be mailed in a few days and should begin arriving in mailboxes next week. This month’s issue has a special focus on education, highlighting programs in the RISD, PISD, at UT Dallas and at Richland College. Page 3 features a “fast facts” listing regarding area public education institutions, a handy guide to why our community is considered one of the best areas for education in North Texas. Also included is the Swimming and Camps Recreation Guide, packed with swim class and summer camp listings.
Richardson Today is mailed to every residence in the city and is available at recreation centers, the Senior Center, City Hall and the Library. A Richardson Today interactive edition, which includes links to CITV videos, is accessible at www.cor.net/RichardsonToday. Ask your local mail carrier if you do not receive your copy of Richardson Today and you live within the boundaries of Richardson.
Trees Planted at Lookout Park
Lookout Park was the recipient of 20 new trees Saturday thanks to the MetroTex Association of Realtors and the Texas Trees Foundation. The Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary by teaming with the Foundation and planting 100 trees across the Metroplex, symbolizing “deep roots and lasting commitment to the community.” The trees are being planted at parks in five cities throughout the spring. In addition to Richardson, recipients include Garland, Grand Prairie, Bedford and Dallas. All supplies were provided to the City free of charge and labor was provided by volunteers from MetroTex and the Foundation.
Parks staff chose Lookout Park due to its recent renovation and need for additional shade. The new trees, a mixture of North Texas natives, were planted along the park’s new trail.
Saturday’s event was open to the public and included a food truck, free tree saplings and free T-shirts. For more information and to see the schedule of upcoming planting events, click here.
Bridge Tournament at Civic Center Begins March 2
The Dallas Bridge Association’s “Big Time in Big D Sectional” will be held March 2-5 at the Richardson Civic Center, with play beginning at 10 a.m. each day and World Class Lectures at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Members and non-members are welcome. For entry fees and other information, visit www.dallasbridge.org.
Free AARP Tax Assistance Continues at Senior Center and Library
IRS-trained volunteers are providing weekly help with basic tax returns Mondays through April 17 at the Library from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Basement Program Room, and Fridays through April 14 at the Senior Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The assistance, presented in conjunction with the AARP Foundation, is free and designed particularly for elderly, handicapped and non-English-speaking taxpayers, on a first-come, first-served basis. For a detailed list of records to bring, click here.
At the Eisemann Center:
- “A Carlin Home Companion” Feb. 24-25
7:30 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre. Tickets are $42.
In her solo show, Kelly Carlin, the only child of iconoclastic comedian George Carlin, reveals what it takes to go from living in the shadow to standing in the light. Deftly weaving her amusing and poignant family stories with classic video footage of her father’s career and family memorabilia, Carlin takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions and pulls back the curtain on their life together off stage. Note: this show contains adult content.
- “The Cat in the Hat” Feb. 26
2:30 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $13-$23.
From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears at their door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the most mischievous cat they will ever meet. Suddenly the rainy afternoon is transformed by the Cat and his antics. Will their house ever be the same? Can the kids clean up before Mom comes home? This production is based on the book by Dr. Seuss, and is part of the Methodist Richardson Family Theatre Series.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets to Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office, 972-744-4650 and at www.eisemanncenter.com.
- “In the Mood” March 1
2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $34-$59.
“In the Mood,” a musical revue, celebrates America’s Greatest Generation through the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Erskine Hawkins, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and other idols of the 1940s.
At UT Dallas:
- Free Science Fiction Author Lecture Tonight: Nnedi Okorafor
Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Admission is free.
The UT Dallas Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology continues its “The Power of Science Fiction” lecture series with award-winning novelist Dr. Nnedi Okorafor. Her lecture, entitled, “At Home,” will cover interstellar citizenship, the concept of home, the Nigerian-American experience and how “it’s all science fiction.” For more information, click here.
- Cinematique: “Blade Runner” March 1
7 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Admission is free.
Cosponsored by Meteor Theater and the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology, this showing of the 1982 science fiction film is followed by a short question and answer session with UT Dallas professors Dr. Peter J. Ingrao and Sabrina Starnaman. For more information, click here.
- Guitarist Adam Holzman March 2
8 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Admission is free.
Founder of the UT Austin Guitar Department, Adam Holzman is a nationally recognized concert performer and recording artist who has performed across the U.S., Europe and Latin America. His performance is part of UT Dallas’ 16th Annual Guitar Competition and Festival, which runs through March 4. For more information, click here.
“How to Spot Fake News” Feb. 25
How do you know if something you read online is from a legitimate news organization or something completely made up by purveyors of “fake news?” Learn what is truly “fake” and how to spot it Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the Basement Program Room. Presented by librarians Jane Nearling and Keri Samples.
Admission is free and all ages are welcome. For more information, call 972-744-4355.
Stuffed Animal Storytime and Sleepover March 3
Children ages 3-8 will enjoy a story time and craft time with their favorite plush friend before tucking them in for the night at the Library, then checking on their buddy from home via Facebook.
The fun begins Friday, March 3 from 4:30-5:15 p.m. in the First Floor Program Room, with pick-up at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 4. Admission is free. For more information, call Youth Services at 972-744-4358.
Richardson Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Meet Gus! He is a young neutered male, Catahoula/boxer/terrier mix, up to date on all vaccinations. Gus is a medium-sized dog, energetic, playful, good with older kids, leash and house trained. Please help Gus find a forever home!
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
Find Richardson Today on Facebook and Twitter.
Mayor Pro Tem
Marta Gómez Frey