Fairview Bond Election Work Session
On January 8, a special meeting of the Fairview Town Council was held in the Town Council Chambers in order to conduct a work session regarding planning for future town facilities, the outcome of the 2017 bond election and take any necessary action. (fairviewtexas.org/pdf/agendas)
Mayor Darion Culbertson said the meeting was to work through the planning process for the proposed 2018 Bond Election. They want to get feedback on how to make the process different than the 2017 Bond Election.
The failed 2017 Bond Election was titled ‘Town of Fairview Municipal Complex’. Details included asking voters to consider authorizing a maximum of $25.5 million in general obligation bonds for the construction of a Municipal Complex consisting of four different municipal facilities. The facilities in the Municipal Complex include fire station #1; a fire administration building; a multi-purpose space for an emergency operation center (EOC)/community meeting/training facility; and a public works office and service yard. The four municipal facilities will be built on 11 acres of Town owned property located on State Highway 5. (fairviewtexas.org/bondelection)
At the January 8 meeting, Mayor Culbertson said, “We can do better than what we put forward. We can make the process more efficient and more participatory with residents.” He discussed a plan that would involve a focus group from the community formed by neighbourhood HOA selected members and at-large members chosen by council members for neighbourhoods without HOAs.
Discussion amongst the Mayor and council members clarified that these community members would give council feedback based on the previous bond package to develop a different package. Feedback will include cost and design of package. It was recommended that the community group take a tour of the existing facilities as well as the property and bring them up to speed on the process. Additionally, the group will be asked for feedback on how to communicate the new package to the community.
They set the timeline to have the community group members identified by the end of January. February: council will meet with the focus group. March: work on the design process and work with professionals. April: committees appointed, come back with a new package and hold town hall meeting. May – June: complete final numbers on bond package. July 1-31: provide bond package info to residents. August: whatever communication is decided upon, implement that and propose the bond election. November: election.
A proposed name for the community group is ‘Community Resource Group’ (CRG). There will be approximately 50 members of the CRG. There will be a kick-off meeting (hopefully in February) with the CRG and then split into smaller groups and answer identical questions for feedback. Mayor Culbertson stressed that he really wants this group to be a representation of the town at large.
After these points were determined by council, the floor was opened to community members in attendance.
The first speaker pointed out that there are approximately 20 people in attendance tonight who are there to give feedback on the bond election. She asked, “Why can’t we give feedback now?” She pointed out that the people here tonight are interested in the subject and want to give feedback.
Another resident thanked council and the mayor for initiating the CRG. She said if a similar bond package was presented again, it would fail again. She felt like 50 people could work swiftly together and provide necessary feedback. She asked what would happen if the group proposed a plan that council disagrees with. The mayor said he didn’t think a significant difference would come out in the process.
A resident pointed out the CRG members will be the best advocates for the bond election. A resident said that if he didn’t know how much money was being spent, and on what, he wouldn’t approve. The mayor said that they will give cost elements.
A resident said she believed that the bond might have failed because of development decisions recently made. She talked about trees being mowed down east of Hwy. 5 “with no respect to the environment”. She said that many moved here for open spaces and didn’t expect multi-family housing.
A resident said a letter should be sent to all registered voters to volunteer to serve on the CRG if they wanted to do so. A resident felt that the CRG approach was a well thought out approach and that community feedback is important. He recommends: Ask why people voted against the bond election and recommend next steps. Have a facilitator for each meeting so that people get a chance to talk and to make the meetings flow. And have a note taker who will prepare the feedback.