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[2021 District 8 Update with Council Member Robert Smith]

[00:00:11]

WELCOME TO ANOTHER GARLAND CITY COUNCIL UPDATE.

I'M DOROTHY WHITE.

AND TODAY WE'RE IN DISTRICT EIGHT WITH COUNCILMAN ROBERT SMITH AND WELCOME, WELCOME TO OUR PROGRAM AND WELCOME TO EVERYONE WHO'S WATCHING.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

UM, Y'ALL HAVE GOT A LOT GOING ON IN DISTRICT EIGHT.

I KNOW.

UM, THE BIGGEST THING THE CITY COUNCIL JUST COMPLETED WAS UPDATING OUR DISTRICT LINES.

YOU WANT TO TELL US HOW YOUR DISTRICT SITE, UH, CONSTITUENTS MIGHT, MIGHT BE IMPACTED BY THAT? OF COURSE, UM, DISTRICT DATA ACTUALLY HAD QUITE A NUMBER OF CHANGES, UH, THIS TIME AROUND, UH, WE'VE BEEN PRETTY STEADY FOR THE LAST DECADE, BUT, UH, AS OF JANUARY 1ST, UM, METAL ARC AND RODERICK NEIGHBORHOODS, UH, WHICH ARE BETWEEN FOREST LANE, DUCK CREEK MILLER ROAD AND SHILOH ROAD, UH, WILL BE A PART OF COUNCIL DISTRICT SIX, UH, COUNCIL MEMBER VERA.

AND I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON A FEW IMPROVEMENTS IN THAT AREA THAT WE'RE NOT QUITE READY TO ANNOUNCE.

UH, BUT I KNOW THAT WE'RE BOTH VERY EXCITED ABOUT THEM AND, UH, HE WILL HAVE THE PLEASURE TO ANNOUNCE THEM PRETTY SOON.

UM, AND WHILE I'M LOSING THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS, UH, DISTRICT EIGHT IS WELCOMING.

THE AREAS ORDERED BY, UH, BUCKINGHAM ROAD, SAME HOUSTON ROAD, HORFORD PARK AND SHILOH ROAD, UH, WHICH IS AROUND THE NORTH GARLAND HIGH SCHOOL AREA.

AND WE'RE ALSO GETTING THE NEIGHBORHOOD BORDERED BY SAME HOUSTON ROAD, BELTLINE ROAD, NORTH GARLAND AVENUE IN HOMESTEAD PLACE.

AND THAT INCLUDES FIRE STATION 11.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, UH, WE GET THE, UH, THE BABE'S CHICKEN UP ON THE CORNER.

SO I'M PERSONALLY VERY EXCITED ABOUT THAT.

UM, UH, AND AGAIN, THOSE, THOSE NEW DISTRICT LINES WILL TAKE EFFECT ON JANUARY ONE.

WELL, AND IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE, EVEN THOUGH EACH COUNCIL MEMBER REPRESENTS A SPECIFIC DISTRICT, JUST LIKE YOU MENTIONED WITH COUNCILMAN VERA, EVERYONE WORKS TOGETHER, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE WORKING ON PROJECTS THAT MIGHT GO, YOU KNOW, STRADDLE THE LINES OR WHETHER IT'S STRADDLES THE LINES ARE NOT, YOU KNOW, THAT CITIZENS IN A DIFFERENT DISTRICT ARE GOING TO BE UTILIZING THESE PROJECTS SO THAT THAT SPIRIT OF COOPERATION IS A BIG DEAL ON OUR COUNTY.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE USED TO TEXTING ME AT TWO IN THE MORNING, UH, I'M STILL GONNA RETURN YOUR TEXTS.

UH, I MAY START LOOPING IN MR. VIERA ON THAT, BUT, UH, YOU KNOW, I KNOW THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE A PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT.

AND THE IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS THAT ALL OF US REPRESENT YOU AND WE WORK ON YOUR BEHALF.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, JUST FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT TO WHOEVER YOU'RE COMFORTABLE REACHING OUT TO, AND WE'LL GET THE JOB DONE.

THAT'S GREAT.

YOU'VE ALSO GOT A LOT OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION GOING ON IN DISTRICT EIGHT.

I KNOW THAT'S VERY EXCITING.

UH, WE HAVE HAD A LOT OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION THIS PAST YEAR, UH, AND WE HAVE ANOTHER KEY PROJECT THAT'S IN THE PIPELINE.

UH, GARLAND ROAD BETWEEN BUCKINGHAM AND WALNUT STREET HAS PROBABLY BEEN THE MOST VISIBLE.

UH, I REMEMBER COMPLAINING ABOUT DRIVING THAT STRETCH ROAD AS A TEENAGER IN THE 1990S.

UH, SO IT WAS VERY MEANINGFUL AND CLOSE TO ME TO GET THOSE REPAIRS COMPLETED.

UH, AFTER A VERY LONG NEGOTIATION PROCESS WITH KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAIL, UH, WE FINALLY GOT APPROVAL TO WORK ON AND COMPLETE THE WIDENING OF THE BUCKINGHAM AND LAVONNE INTERSECTION ALONG WITH, FOR REPLACEMENT OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS.

THERE, UH, WE'VE HAD GREAT FEEDBACK FROM THE RESIDENTS ON THE FINISHED PRODUCT, AND WE'VE DESIGNED THIS ONE IN ALL FUTURE RAILROAD CROSSINGS IN A WAY THAT MAKE THE LONGTERM MAINTENANCE MUCH, MUCH EASIER.

SO, UH, HOPEFULLY WE'VE, WE'VE SET OURSELVES UP FOR SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE AS WELL.

UH, THIS MONTH WE BEGAN WORKING ON SHILOH ROAD BETWEEN WALNUT STREET AND BUCKINGHAM.

AND, UH, I CAN TELL YOU THAT I'VE, I'VE GONE THROUGH A NUMBER OF FRONT END REALIGNMENTS, THANKS TO THAT STRETCH OF ROAD AND VERY, VERY HAPPY TO GET THAT DONE.

UH, THOSE REPAIRS SHOULD BE DONE BY SPRING OF 2022 AND THE BIGGEST PROJECT, AND CERTAINLY THE MOST VISIBLE, UH, HAS BEEN THE NAME AND SCHOOL ROAD, UH, REBUILD.

UH, RIGHT NOW WE'RE MOVING UTILITY LINES AND I KNOW THAT'S A PAINFUL PROCESS FOR EVERYBODY, UH, BUT THOSE WILL BE DONE WITHIN A MONTH.

AND THEN WE BEGAN THE PROCESS OF REBUILDING THAT ROAD, BOTH OF THE BRIDGES AND THE RAILROAD CROSSING, UH, WHICH SHOULD TAKE ABOUT TWO YEARS.

UH, WE'RE LOOKING AT, UH, A GROUNDBREAKING OF FEBRUARY 20, 22 AND FINAL COMPLETION IN FEBRUARY OF 2024.

SO, UH, IT'S, IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG HAUL, BUT, BUT IT'LL BE WORTH THE WAIT.

IT WILL.

AND I MEAN, WE'VE GOT THESE TYPES OF PROJECTS GOING ON ALL OVER TOWN AND YOU, YOU KNOW, YOU, IT IS THE PROCESS ITSELF MAY BE IRRITATING, BUT BOY, WHEN IT'S DONE, WE'RE GOING TO ALL BE SO MUCH HAPPIER ABOUT IT.

ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY.

SO YOU'VE ALSO GOT SEVERAL BOND PROJECTS YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT, AND I KNOW THE BOND PROJECTS IMPACT ALL OF US, NO MATTER WHAT DISTRICT THEY'RE IN.

YEAH.

AND OUR 2019 BOND PROGRAM CONTINUES TO GO VERY WELL.

UH,

[00:05:01]

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT PARK PLAYGROUNDS ARE BEING REPLACED ALL OVER THE CITY.

THAT'S EASILY THE MOST VISIBLE THING THAT'S THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

AND, UH, DISTRICT EIGHT, UH, IS GETTING A SIGNIFICANT SHARE OF THOSE REPLACEMENTS.

PROBABLY HALF OF THE PLAYGROUNDS BEING REPLACED THIS TIME AROUND HER IN DISTRICT DATE.

UH, RIGHT NOW PV PARK HAS BEEN CLOSED AND IS UNDER RECONSTRUCTION.

UH, I'VE GOTTEN A LOT OF GREAT FEEDBACK FROM THE RESIDENTS IN THAT AREA THAT THEY'RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW PLAYGROUND.

UM, AND THAT'S THE PARK JUST NORTHWEST OF THE INTERSECTION OF GARLAND AVENUE IN BUCKINGHAM ROAD.

UH, WE'VE GOT THE NEW ANIMAL SHELTER, UH, COMING ALONG VERY WELL, WHICH WE DID THE GROUNDBREAKING ON EARLY THIS YEAR, UH, POLICE EVIDENCE ROOM, UH, WHICH WERE THE TOP TWO ITEMS IN OUR BOND PACKAGE.

AND THERE'LL BE COMPLETED, UH, BY EARLY NEXT YEAR.

UH, WE'VE GOT THE DOG PARK OPEN AT CENTRAL PARK.

THE SKATE PARK WILL BE OPEN NEXT YEAR AT ODIN PARK, UH, DIGITALLY.

WE'VE USED A SMALL PORTION OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DOLLARS, UH, THAT THE VOTERS APPROVED IN 2019 TO HELP SPUR REDEVELOPMENT OF THE MEDICAL DISTRICT AROUND THE NEW VA HOSPITAL.

AND WE'VE GOT A VERY STRONG FUTURE MAPPED OUT FOR THAT AREA.

UH, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THERE ARE A LOT OF FOLKS BEHIND THE SCENES THAT MAKE ALL OF THIS HAPPEN AND THEY HAVE PULLED OFF MIRACLES AND KEEPING THE SPAWN PROGRAM ON TRACK AND ON TIME, UH, DESPITE THE PANDEMIC, THE MATERIAL SHORTAGES, UH, COST ESCALATIONS AND, AND I CAN'T SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT BOTH THE CITY MANAGEMENT AND THE BOND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT TEAMS. THEY HAVE DONE AN AMAZING JOB IN DELIVERING THESE PROJECTS FOR OUR CITIZENS AND, AND IF YOU'RE WATCHING AND YOU'RE A PART OF THAT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

I REALLY HAVE, THAT IS A NONSTOP PROCESS.

YEAH.

LET'S ALSO TALK ABOUT, THERE WAS SOME ONE-TIME FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING THAT WE DISTRIBUTED, UH, OR MADE PLANS FOR JUST RECENTLY THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN.

YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THOSE IMPACTS? YEAH, THE, THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN, UH, IT'S SHORTENED TO ARPA, UH, IS ESSENTIALLY A 53 AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR BLANK CHECK FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SPEND ON INFRASTRUCTURE.

UH, THERE ARE A LOT OF RULES AND REGULATIONS AROUND, UH, HOW YOU'RE ALLOWED TO SPEND IT AND WHAT YOU'RE ALLOWED TO SPEND IT ON AND THE TIMING.

UH, BUT IT WAS PART OF A PACKAGE THAT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW, UH, MARCH OF THIS YEAR BY PRESIDENT BIDEN.

UH, THE COUNCIL MET SEVERAL TIMES ON THIS AND WE OPTED TO SPEND THAT MONEY TO FIRST SHORE UP PUBLIC HEALTH AND FIRST RESPONDER SERVICES.

UH, WE MADE INVESTMENTS AND OUR PARKS ONCE AGAIN TO ENCOURAGE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY.

AND BECAUSE FRANKLY IT'S EASIER TO GET PARKS PARK PROJECTS ROLLED OUT AND IN A VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME WITH MINIMAL COST OVERRUN, UH, WHILE WE'RE HAVING THESE BIG SPIKES AND CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL COSTS.

AND SO WE FELT THAT WE COULD GET THE BEST BANG FOR OUR BUCK BY, BY TAKING THAT PATH.

UH, WE'VE ALSO ADDRESSED SOME SMALLER ITEMS, LIKE, UM, ADDITIONAL RAILROAD CROSSINGS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO SMOOTH OUT FOR EVERYBODY.

UH, WE'VE RETROFITTED OUR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER WITH MODERN EQUIPMENT AND, AND, UH, A LOT OF, UH, FILLING A LOT OF GAPS IN.

SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK THE KEY FOR THIS FUNDING WAS THAT WE KNEW IT WAS A ONE-TIME CHECK.

AND WHAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO DO WAS SET OUR CITIZENS UP TO HAVE TO MAINTAIN NEW PROGRAMS IN THE FUTURE.

AND SO WE'VE INVESTED IN THINGS THAT WE WERE ALREADY KIND OF PUTTING MONEY INTO.

IT WAS SOMETHING WE WERE USED TO HANDLING, UH, AND IT WAS JUST SOME THINGS THAT WOULDN'T CREATE FINANCIAL LIABILITIES DOWN THE ROAD.

SO I THINK COUNCIL HAS BEEN VERY WISE NOW THAT THEY'VE INVESTED THIS MONEY AND WE SHOULD SEE ALL OF THOSE PROJECTS START AND FINISH IN THE NEXT TWO TO FIVE YEARS.

AND THAT WAS PART OF THE REQUIREMENT OF THOSE FUNDS TOO, IS SOME OF THAT TIMEFRAME ABSOLUTELY HAVE THAT.

I BELIEVE WE HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL SPENT BY 2026.

YES.

YES.

SO YOU ALSO HAD A UNIQUE ROLE THIS LAST YEAR, OUR CITY COUNCIL'S LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE.

UM, AND, AND IT BEING MORE INVOLVED IN THIS 87TH STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

UH, THIS YEAR I WAS ABSOLUTELY HONORED TO BE SELECTED BY MARIELLA MAY TO CHAIR THE COUNCIL'S LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE.

UH, WE TACKLED ISSUES, UH, WITH THE STATE, UH, TAXATION, UH, CAPITAL PROJECT FINANCING POLICING, AND OF COURSE THE LEGISLATION SURROUNDING THE WINTER STORM, UM, AND HOW IT IMPACTED BOTH THE CITIZENS AND GARLAND POWER AND LIGHT.

UH, WE'RE KIND OF UNIQUE AMONG CITIES THAT WE ALSO RUN OUR OWN POWER COMPANY.

AND SO WE, UH, WE KIND OF DEALT WITH THAT WINTER STORM FROM EVERY POSSIBLE ANGLE AND, AND IT WAS A VERY, VERY CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE, VERY DIFFICULT LEGISLATIVE SESSION FOR EVERYBODY INVOLVED.

UH, WE DID HAVE ONE BILL THAT WAS PASSED SPECIFICALLY FOR GARLAND, UH, AS A BIPARTISAN EFFORT BETWEEN, UH, HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE, ANGIE CHIN BUTTON AND STATE SENATOR ANYTH AND JOHNSON, UH, REPRESENTED BUTTON AUTHORED HB, UH, 1 5, 5 8, UH, WHICH IS A BILL THAT

[00:10:01]

GIVES US ADDITIONAL TOOLS TO HELP BRING IN AFFORDABLE VETERAN HOUSING IN AREAS AROUND THE NEW VA HOSPITAL IN FUTURE YEARS.

UH, BOTH OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WERE VERY HARD TO GET THAT PASSED, UH, INITIALLY OUT OF THEIR CHAMBERS.

AND THEN THEY WORKED HARD AGAIN TO GET IT THROUGH THE RECONCILIATION PROCESS AND THEN ONTO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK, UH, WHERE HE SIGNED IT THIS YEAR.

SO, UH, AGAIN, MY APPRECIATION TO BOTH OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, UM, AND THEY, THEY DO HAVE OUR SINCERE APPRECIATION FOR HELPING US.

THAT'S TERRIFIC TO HEAR THAT IS TERRIFIC.

OKAY.

THIS TOPIC IS ONE I'M ALMOST LOST TO BRING UP.

I, WE DO HAVE TERM LIMITS FOR OUR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN GARLAND.

AND YOU ARE IN YOUR THIRD OF THREE ALLOWED CONSECUTIVE TERMS. ABSOLUTELY.

WELL, UH, WE KNOW THAT WHEN WE'RE ELECTED THAT WE ARE JUST TEMPORARY STEWARDS OF THE CHAIR THAT WE'VE BEEN ELECTED TO, AND THAT WE SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE CITIZENS AND OUR CITY CHARTER SETS IT TO A MAXIMUM OF THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS. AND, UH, I'VE HIT THE END OF THAT ROAD.

UM, THIS PAST MAY WAS MY FINAL TIME ON THE BALLOT AND I'M IN MY LAST TERM AND I'LL BE REPLACED IN MAY OF 2023.

NOW WITH THAT SAID, WE STILL HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF WORK TO DO OVER THE NEXT 18 MONTHS.

I DON'T GET TO TAKE A BREATHER UNTIL IT'S OVER.

UH, BUT AS MY TIME HERE IS WINDING DOWN, UH, LET ME JUST SAY, UH, WITH ALL SINCERITY THAT HAS, IT HAS BEEN AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE TO SERVE WELL, AND YOU HAVE SERVED SO, SO WELL, I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT YOU WOULD NOT CONTINUE BEING INVOLVED IN PUBLIC SERVICE BEYOND YOUR TERMS ON COUNCIL.

THERE ARE A FEW MEMBERS OF COUNCIL AND A MAYOR THAT MAY HAVE THREATENED ME, UH, WITH APPOINTING ME TO OTHER, UH, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS AND, AND GIVING ME HOMEWORK.

SO, UM, WE'LL SEE HOW ALL THAT PLAYS OUT.

I DON'T THINK I'M AN ESCAPE THAT EASILY.

NO, I DON'T THINK YOU WILL EITHER.

AND I DON'T THINK YOU COULD BY NATURE ANYWAY, YOU'RE ONE WHO WANTS TO BE INVOLVED IN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

SO THERE YOU GO.

WELL, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD BEFORE WE WRAP UP? NO, UH, THAT'S MY, UH, DOG FROM THE GRILL AND ANIMAL SHELTER.

SO I WILL GO TO THE LITTLE ALUMNI THING I DID.

I WAS ABLE TO JUDGE THE COMPETITION AT THE, UH, THE BRAND NEW DOG PARK.

AND, UH, THAT'S MY DOG, SAMMY, WHO I ADOPTED FROM GUERLAIN ANIMAL SERVICES TELLING ME THAT UPS IS SOMEWHERE IN THE CITY DELIVERING A PACKAGE.

AND SHE DOES IT RIGHT ON TIME EVERY TIME.

THANK YOU, SAM.

I LOVED HAVING YOUR SPECIAL GUEST AS PART OF WELL, WE APPRECIATE YOU HAVING US AS WELL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND I WONDER REMIND YOUR VIEWERS, YOUR CONSTITUENTS ALSO, UM, WHEN YOU NEED NEW NEWS AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE CITY, THERE'S A LOT OF INFORMATION ON OUR CITY WEBSITE.

THINGS YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO THE GIRL ON THE ALERT SYSTEM, ALL THE DIFFERENT CARLIN D NEWS, UH, OPTIONS.

UM, I REALLY ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO DO THAT AND STAY UP TO DATE AND LEARN THE LATEST AS WE PUSH IT OUT.

SO THANK YOU SO MUCH, ROBERT.

I APPRECIATE YOUR TIME AND I APPRECIATE YOUR SERVICE AND WE WILL SEE ALL OF YOU NEXT TIME ON THE NEXT GARLAND CITY COUNCIL UPDATE.