August 27, 2021
This 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:
2021-22 City Budget and Reduced Tax Rate Approved
The City Council approved Richardson’s FY 2021-22 budget Monday night, which included a $0.01 decrease in the City’s property tax rate and increased funding for street, sidewalk, alley and other infrastructure projects. The newly adopted budget also includes a 2.5 percent increase for water and sewer services.
Other highlights of the 2021-22 budget, which goes into effect Oct. 1, include:
- Senior tax exemption maintained at $100,000;
- No solid waste rate increase for residents; market-driven solid waste rate increase for commercial properties; and
- Funding to reactivate community events as appropriate based on regional health, safety and economic conditions.
Water/Sewer Rates to Change Oct. 1
Rates for Richardson water customers will increase by 2.5 percent beginning Oct. 1, part of ordinance changes approved by the City Council Monday in tandem with the new FY 2021-22 Budget. Monthly water rates (per 1,000 gallons of water used) for residential customers will range from $6.78-$9.31 depending on the total amount used, an increase of 17-23 cents per usage category. Monthly sewer (wastewater) rates for residential customers will range from $4.83-$9.57 per 1,000 gallons, an increase of 12-23 cents. The minimum monthly charge of $8 will remain the same for both water and wastewater.
The rate increase is needed for water and sewer infrastructure improvements that are planned to meet future water/wastewater demands and regulatory standards.
Rental Fees Established for Senior Center, Other Facilities
Classrooms and other spaces at the newly remodeled Senior Center will be available for rental by Richardson residents beginning Oct. 1, with a fee schedule approved by the City Council Monday. Rates range from $30-$350 per hour depending on the space(s) needed, plus a $150 damage deposit.
Rental fees were also established Monday for the gyms at both Huffhines and Heights recreation centers, the neighborhood pools and Heights Family Aquatic Center, and select park pavilions. All are available for rental by Richardson residents. The gym and park pavilion rental fees take effect Jan. 1 and pool rental fees will be in effect for the 2022 swim season.
Richardson Fire Department Receives EMS Award
The Richardson Fire Department recently received the Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Award from the American Heart/American Stroke Associations for the fifth straight year, with the last four being Gold Plus.
The award recognizes the department for its success in treating and transporting patients who suffer a type of severe heart attack known as a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), which is caused by the complete blockage of blood flow to the heart.
Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI that require restoration of blood flow as quickly as possible in order to prevent death.
To reach gold recognition, first responders are required to get STEMI victims from first contact into catheterization surgery in less than 90 minutes at least 75 percent of the time. Richardson emergency medical personnel far exceed that standard by working with Methodist Richardson Medical Center and other area hospitals.
Municipal Court Judge Appointed, Sworn In
Thomas D’Amore was appointed and sworn in as the new Presiding Judge of Richardson’s Municipal Court at Monday’s City Council Meeting. He has been an Assistant Municipal Judge with the City since December 2016, and will fill the unexpired term of Presiding Judge Chrissi Gumbert, who is cutting back on her schedule due to impending retirement. Gumbert will now serve as an Assistant Municipal Judge along with William Geyer.
Interns Complete RMSIP Job Experiences
Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker and RISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone celebrated the Richardson Mayor’s Summer Internship Program at an end-of-summer celebration at the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts. They were joined this week by dozens of interns, employers, elected officials and sponsors along with five interns who shared their testimonials—Zoe Walker, Hilal Salahudeen, Allegria Manganiello, Jaelin Booker and Tasmuna Omar.
During the event, Mayor Voelker and Dr. Stone proudly reported the following achievements of the 2021 program:
- 186 students applied for the program and 114 students completed workforce-readiness training
- 96 students participated in the Job Fair and 43 students received internships, working both remotely and in person
- Whether they received an internship or not, every student walked away having benefited from experiencing the various steps of the workforce process
They told of a new program where professionals volunteered to serve as “virtual mentors,” conducting Zoom sessions to help students build their resumes and interview skills.
They also expressed pride in a community service program the 2021 interns conceived, organized and volunteered for called the Healthy Kids Snack Drive. The interns collected more than 7,500 items through in-person and virtual food drives used to create 1,800 snack bags. They joined Network of Community Ministries to distribute the snacks to families at the Richardson ISD Backpack Bash.
Mayor Voelker encouraged other businesses to support the 2022 program.
DART Extends Face Mask Requirement
In accordance with the recent extension of a face mask requirement for all transportation networks by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will extend its requirement that a facial covering be worn over the mouth and nose by passengers and operators at all times while on DART vehicles or properties including buses, trains and paratransit vehicles. The requirement has been extended through Jan. 18, 2022, as per the TSA.
Face masks and hand sanitizer dispensers are installed on all buses, light rail vehicles and Dallas streetcars and will continue to be available to all passengers.
If a DART passenger is concerned with someone not wearing a mask, they can contact DART Customer Service at 214-979-1111, or use the DART Say Something app, which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play for free.
Next Gen Home Delivery Tested in Richardson
Testing took place this month in Richardson for an autonomous, last-mile personal delivery vehicle that was developed for FedEx by Deka. Homes in neighborhoods near Berkner High School received mock deliveries from the prototype, a.k.a. “Roxo,” which weighs 450 pounds, is about 5.5 feet-tall and can hold about 100 pounds. It can travel on the side of the road or on sidewalks, and thanks to sensors, can detect objects/movement up to 150 feet.
FedEx worked with Richardson Police and Fire, as well as City engineers and the Marlborough Square HOA to make sure the testing ran smoothly. Testing will continue in Richardson later this year after Roxo heads back to the lab for adjustments based on testing feedback/data. Richardson is one of several cities in which Roxo has been tested.
Richardson Breaks 100,000 in Population
Richardson is now a city with more than 100,000 residents (119,469 to be exact), according to U.S. Census data released this month. Of note, Dallas County led the DFW region in population growth with 2.6 million people and Collin County became the first suburban DFW county to exceed 1 million residents, growing by more than 36 percent over the past decade. Texas’ state population grew by 16 percent, placing third among 13 states that saw double-digit growth.
No City Council Meeting Sept. 6
The Council will not meet Monday, Sept. 6 due to the Labor Day holiday. The City Council next meets Monday, Sept. 13, beginning at 6 p.m. with a work session followed by a meeting at 7 p.m.
Two Lanes to Close Temporarily at Belt Line/St. Johns Intersection
The right lanes of eastbound and westbound Belt Line Road at St. Johns Drive may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for cable installation work. The work is expected to be complete by late September.
Lane Closures Expected on Plano Road south of Arapaho Road
The right lanes of northbound and southbound Plano Road between Creekside Drive and Arapaho Road may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for fiber optic work. The work is expected to be complete by late November.
Peanut Butter Drive Begins Sept. 1
Richardson is again participating in the annual North Texas Food Bank peanut butter drive that is being held throughout September, with a goal of receiving 300,000 pounds of peanut butter donations to benefit local food banks. Peanut butter is perpetually on food bank lists of most-needed foods, since it’s nutritious, kid-friendly and high in protein.
Local donations may be taken directly to Richardson’s Network of Community Ministries, which operates a Mobile Food Pantry and other food programs and is a recipient of the drive. Drop off jars at Network’s new facility, 1500 International Pkwy., during regular food donation hours (Mondays-Thursdays 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m.) or give online through Network’s Amazon Wish List.
“Clear the Shelters” Underway at Animal Shelter
The “Clear the Shelters” adoption event began Monday, Aug. 23 and continues through Sept. 19 at animal shelters nationwide, including the Richardson Animal Shelter. The event highlights the need for animal adoptions and features discounts and/or other promotions at participating shelters. The Richardson Animal Shelter will waive adoption fees for all adoptable pets during the last week of the event (Sept. 14-19), although a $5 registration fee for Richardson residents will still apply.
All regular adoption guidelines apply and new owners will still be required to have the pets spayed/neutered and vaccinated for rabies if it has not been done so already. A valid Texas driver’s license or ID is required and new owners must be 18 or older.
MS Word Beginner Level Sept. 3
Learn the basics of MS Word Friday, Sept. 3 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Basement Training Room. The beginner-level class, for adults and teens, will cover how to:
- Navigate Word’s resources and tools
- Create and format text
- Edit margins, headers and footers
- Add and adjust pictures
There is no charge to attend but registration is required along with a valid Richardson Public Library Card. Laptops are provided.
For more information, go to www.cor.net/library.
At the Eisemann Center:
- “The King Lives” featuring Kraig Parker Aug. 28
7:30 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $27-$42 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.Back by popular demand, Kraig Parker and the Royal Tribute Band present their international award-winning tribute to Elvis Presley in concert. Seating will be at 100 percent capacity.
- Art Exhibit Showcasing Artists with Autism Begins Aug. 31
Monday-Friday from noon-5 p.m. and during all public events, in the Green Mezzanine Gallery. Admission is free.“A Place of Peace: Using Art as a Window to the Soul” features works of art from participants in the Young Adult Social Communication Group at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders, as well as other local organizations, and emphasizes the use of creativity as a tool to increase self-awareness and communication in those on the autism spectrum.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets to Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office.
At UT Dallas:
- Outdoor Arts and Humanities Showcase Aug. 31
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. outside the University Theatre. Free.Students from the School of Arts and Humanities perform short musical works, monologues, poems and dances.
“CityLine LIVE” Fall Outdoor Music Series Begins Sept. 3
Weekly live music returns to CityLine Plaza Sept. 3-Oct. 30 with CityLine LIVE, a series of free outdoor concerts featuring local performers. The concerts take place Fridays and Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. on the plaza, 1150 State St. Lawn chairs, picnic blankets and dogs are welcome. Free parking is available along State Street or on the ground level of all CityLine garages; the CityLine/Bush DART rail station is one block from the plaza.
In the event of inclement weather, the performance will be moved indoors—check the CityLine Facebook page for updates.
Last Weekend for “Wizard of Oz” at RCT
Repertory Company Theatre, 770 N Coit Rd., is presenting the musical, “The Wizard of Oz,” through Aug. 29. Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum and featuring the beloved music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, it can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
Remaining show days and times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults and $17 for youth.
“The Curious Savage” Opens Tonight at RTC
Richardson Theatre Centre, 518 W. Arapaho Rd. Ste. 113, is presenting “The Curious Savage,” Aug. 27-Sept. 12. In this comedic play by John Patrick, an elderly woman (Mrs. Savage) has been left $10 million dollars by her late husband and wishes to give it all to people pursuing “foolish dreams,” so her stepchildren have her committed to a sanatorium—where she finds her true family.
Show days and times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$22.
Richardson Wildlife Spotlight: Opossums
Richardson’s abundance of trees, woodlands and waterways are home to a variety of wildlife, which may make regular appearances on neighborhood streets and in yards. One such critter that comes out at night is the opossum, better known in Texas as a ‘possum. Though they may look like “hairy rats,” they are very beneficial to the environment and in particular, the environment around our homes—here’s just a few of the many things they eat:
- Snakes, including poisonous snakes
- Mosquitoes, ticks and cockroaches
- Mice and rats
- Slugs and snails
- Decaying fruit
In addition, they are very clean and resistant to most diseases. Generally if given a chance, they will flee from danger, so the best course if one is found in a backyard or garage is to give it the chance to leave on its own. Know that extreme circumstances bring out the behavior known as “playing ‘possum,” i.e. when the animal appears to be dead, which can last more than an hour.
Surface Finisher ($2,706-$4,268 salary)
The Public Services Department has multiple job openings for crew chief for individuals with experience in construction and/or maintenance of water distribution and waste collection systems. A Texas Commercial Driver’s License, Class A is required.
Technical Assistant ($2,727-$4,055 salary)
The Eisemann Center is looking for individuals with two years’ experience as a theatrical technician, stagehand, technical director, stage manager or related field. Weekend and evening work is required.
Finance System Analyst (Admin) ($5,106-$7,584 salary)
The Finance Department is looking for an individual with two years of local government finance experience. Bachelor’s degree in public administration, finance, business management or related field is required.
For other job opportunities, visit www.cor.net/jobs
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Meet Veda! This beauty is a senior dog who would love to find her forever family to comfortably live out the rest of her senior days. She has a very sweet, smart, friendly, calm, yet playful temperament. She is a 10-year-old spayed rough collie mix that has lived in a household with two cats and did well! Come fall in love with Veda by scheduling an appointment.
Schedule an appointment: https://richardsonanimalshelter.setmore.com/
For information about animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
City Council Links
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