Aug. 28, 2020
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.
Throughout the year the City Council or City Plan Commission will hold meetings on topics of significant interest to local neighborhoods or the community in general. Links to view all City Council or City Plan Commission meeting documents that may have topics of interest to you can be found here:
City Council | City Plan Commission
City Council Approves FY 2020-21 Budget and Tax Rate
The City Council approved Richardson’s FY 2020-21 budget and tax rate Monday night, which will go into effect Oct. 1. The $287.3 million operating budget is a decrease of $1,592,949, or 0.6 percent, from the 2019-20 estimated expenditures, while maintaining last year’s property tax rate of $0.62516 and senior tax exemption of $100,000. The budget’s development was heavily influenced by the impact of COVID-19.
The budget focuses on maintaining the progress achieved in the areas of infrastructure and core municipal services while protecting the City’s strong financial position, with an emphasis on road and other repairs, police, fire and parks and recreation amenities.
Richardson Houses Evacuees and Helps in Hurricane Laura Response
Activation of the State of Texas’ emergency response plan has brought hundreds of evacuees to the city and sent a group of Richardson firefighters to the Texas coast as part of the Hurricane Laura response.
North Texas is one of several areas across the state where thousands of people in the path of the storm have evacuated to shelters until it is safe to return. Currently, City of Richardson personnel are staffing two shelter locations for hundreds of storm victims. Five members of the Richardson Fire Department were also deployed earlier this week to the Texas coast to help with rescue and other emergency needs.
Richardson’s response to the storm area and sheltering of evacuees is part of a statewide response plan. The plan includes first responder groups made up of emergency workers from cities across state who train together and use equipment provided by federal grants. The group is designed specifically for search and rescue and emergency medical response and are capable of responding to events in the state, across the country and even around the world.
Mayor Signs Proclamation Heralding September Peanut Butter Drive
Mayor Paul Voelker signed a proclamation Monday declaring September as Hunger Action Month in preparation for the upcoming “Spread the Hope” Peanut Butter Drive. Richardson is again participating in the annual Collin County drive that is being held Sept. 1-30, with a goal of receiving 220,000 pounds of peanut butter donations to benefit local food banks.
Richardson’s Network of Community Ministries, which operates a Mobile Food Pantry and other food programs, is a recipient of the drive’s donations and will accept peanut butter donations online through Amazon at www.cor.net/pbdrive or peanut butter may be delivered to Network at 741 S. Sherman St. during regular business hours (see website).
Peanut butter is perpetually on food bank lists of most-needed foods, since it’s nutritious, kid-friendly and high in protein.
Collin County to Launch Collin CARES Small Business Grant Program
Collin County announced this week that it will launch a small business assistance program next month to aid businesses affected by COVID-19. The Collin CARES Small Business Grant Program pre-screening questionnaire will open for online submissions at noon Friday, Sept. 4. The program is funded with federal CARES Act funds and is open to Collin County businesses with less than $5 million in gross revenues and less than 100 full-time equivalent employees. Up to a $25,000 grant per business will be awarded for eligible businesses that experienced a gross revenue loss of greater than 15 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the questionnaire closes at noon Friday, Sept. 25, businesses qualified for the program will be notified by a third-party administrator to continue their application process. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, with grants to eligible businesses being awarded to those having completed applications on a first-come, first-served basis.
Dallas County Reopens Emergency Housing Assistance Program
Dallas County’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) has reopened and is accepting applications. The program is open to Dallas County residents and offers short-term, rental, mortgage and utility assistance to those facing economic hardship in the wake of COVID-19. Assistance for EHAP is eligibility based and will be processed through a lottery system.
Pre-screening applications can be filled out online at www.dallascounty.org/ehap. No end date for the application process has been announced. The pre-screening application form is available in both English and Spanish. If you do not have access to the internet or are unable to access the pre-screening application online, call 214-819-1968 Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit www.dallascounty.org/departments/dchhs/ehap-cares.php.
No City Council Meeting Aug. 31 or Sept. 7
Due to Aug. 31 being the fifth Monday of the month, there will be no City Council work session or meeting that day. The Council will also not meet Monday, Sept. 7 due to the Labor Day holiday. The next City Council meeting is Monday, Sept. 14, beginning at 6 p.m.
DART Unveils Designs for Richardson Silver Line Stations
Participants in last week’s DART online quarterly community meeting were among the first to see what the new Silver Line rail stations for the Plano/Richardson area will look like. Each station is being designed with its nearby neighborhood in mind.
At the planned UT Dallas Station, a metal UTD logo more than eight feet in height will sit on a riser in front and will be lit at night. Limestone and metal columns adorned with UTD logos will line the platform, which will also feature inspirational quotations from notable UTD alumni. The Silver Line’s CityLine/Bush Station, which will converge with the Red Line and sit near the current CityLine/Bush Station, will feature greenspace and arches, representing the growth of Richardson in the future.
The Silver Line Regional Rail Corridor project, which will stretch 26 miles from Shiloh Road in Plano to DFW Airport, is expected to be operational by early 2023.
Pavement Repair on Campbell Road East of Coit Road
The right lane of eastbound Campbell Road between Coit Road and Waterview Parkway may be closed to traffic at all times and the center lane may be closed from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for pavement repair, part of FY 2019-20 planned street maintenance. The work is expected to be complete by late December.
Lane Construction near Richardson Square Mall
The right lane of northbound Plano Road between the Richardson Square Mall entrance and Belt Line Road may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. while crews create a right turn lane. Around the corner, a right turn/deceleration lane is being constructed on eastbound Belt Line Road between Plano Road and St. Johns Drive, and the right lane may be closed to traffic, also from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The Plano Road work is expected by be complete by mid-September and the Belt Line Road work is expected to finish by late September.
Improv Hour, Coffee Chat Scheduled for Seniors
Richardson Senior Center virtual programming continues this week with two activities:
- “Just Go With It” Improv Hour
Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m.
- Coffee Chat
Thursday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m.
To participate, call the Senior Center staff at 972-744-7800.
Save the Date: RPD Canned Food Drive is Sept. 19
The Richardson Police Department’s annual “Can-Do” canned food drive benefiting Network of Community Ministries will be held in September this year as a pre-National Night Out event. Canned goods (non-expired) may be dropped off from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Sept. 19 in the south parking lot of the City Hall/Civic Center complex.
National Night Out is still planned for the first Tuesday of October (Oct. 6) and will feature several changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic; click here for more information.
Library Offers Safe, Reliable Digital Database for Student Research
Though elementary and secondary students learning from home may have several internet search engines at their disposal when it comes to working on projects or papers, the Library’s “Explora” search interface is popular with parents, teachers and students because it’s safe, includes no advertising and provides a quick way to get relevant, reliable information.
Search results include maps, videos, graphics, journal and newspaper articles, and more. Many of the articles have a “listen” feature, for those students who prefer hearing the articles read aloud.
To access Explora 24/7, visit the Library’s Digital Library web page, scroll down to the Homework and Education section and click on the appropriate Explora link (elementary or high school). You will then be asked to sign in with a Google password or enter your Library card number/bar code number. The service is free to anyone with a valid Richardson Library card.
UT Dallas Online Encore Performance Brings Dance and Vocal Music Together Aug. 29
UT Dallas Arts and Humanities Department will broadcast “Reflections on Common Ground,” a collaborative project from fall 2018 Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. on the Department’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The project included the UTDance Ensemble, the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective, the UT Dallas University Choir and the UT Dallas Chamber Singers, with The Dallas Street Choir performing as the opener.
There is no cost to watch the streaming event Aug. 29. After that, it will be available 24/7 to watch for free at your convenience.
“Forever” at The Core Theatre
The Core Theatre, 518 W. Arapaho #115, is presenting the original play, “Forever,” weekends through Sept. 20. A sequel to the play, “My First Date,” presented last season, the World War 2 story finds Caleb Keener on the Battleship Arizona.
Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $10 for youth, $25 for adults and $15 for senior citizens. To purchase tickets, click here.
Air North Texas Offers Air Quality Alerts, Ways to Reduce Emissions
Though March-November is considered “ozone season” in the DFW area, hot temperatures and the resulting higher ozone concentrations in our air usually make August the month with the most “high-level” days. So far, there have been six days this month that the DFW area has hit Orange Level for ozone and two Red Level days. On Orange Level ozone days, sensitive groups such as children and the elderly should limit outdoor activity and on Red Level days, all persons should limit outdoor activities.
To keep up with local air quality, sign up for free air pollution alerts from Air North Texas by clicking here. The e-mailed alerts let you know when ozone is expected to hit unhealthy levels, and also provide helpful reminders about ways everyone can minimize creating air pollutants.
Air North Texas is a regional clean air partnership formed by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, of which Richardson is a member city.
NTMWD Encourages Water Conservation with New Campaign
The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) officially launched its “Know More. Water Less.” campaign earlier this month to educate and raise awareness of the importance of water conservation to protect the region’s water supplies. Nearly 80 North Texas communities, including Richardson, receive their water from NTMWD and its primary water source, Lavon Lake.
Because the majority of residential water used is for landscape maintenance, NTMWD partnered with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in 2013 to create WaterMyYard, a free online irrigation tool for residents to receive a customized weekly text or e-mail with advice on when and how much to water, based on area weather conditions and sprinkler system type. The Extension Service recently announced the addition of a mobile-friendly app to the WaterMyYard program making it even easier to receive the recommendations.
NTMWD also offers a water conservation website for more water efficiency tips and information about our water supply.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
He has a cute face, cute paws and he looks great in a bandanna, what more can you ask for? Finn will win your heart in no time. This sweetie is a 5-year-old neutered male blue heeler, Catahoula mix who has been a resident with us since June 26. He came into the Shelter as a stray and we found out that he is heartworm positive. Finn is fully vaccinated and microchipped. This friendly, goofy guy is looking for a home with someone who will take a chance on an amazing dog. If you cannot adopt Finn or are nervous about adopting a heartworm positive dog, please call the VCA at 972-699-9999 and sponsor Finn and other dogs’ heartworm treatment so that they can live a heartworm free life. If you are interested in Finn, call the Shelter to schedule an appointment to come and see him.
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
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