Fairview Town Council Takes on Issues, Road Construction Remain in Focus
At its April 3rd meeting Mayor Darion Culbertson and the Fairview Town Council took up several important issues. Perhaps, none more pressing to residents than three agenda items regarding the status of the town’s roads. The oft-delayed Stacy Road widening project is once again being delayed, this time by what Town Engineer James Chancellor described as, “Lot’s of finger-pointing between Oncor Energy and Coserve, both providers of natural gas to Fairview and Allen. In February, late in the latter stages of the project that was originally scheduled for completion almost two years ago, it was discovered that some of the two company’s underground gas lines obstruct continued construction of new storm drains in this section of the road. Roadwork must be suspended until the gas lines can be re-routed. The challenge this time is that some of the lines in the area run through solid rock. While some adjustments to the originally intended pathway of the road widening can be made, problematic re-routing must take place before final road work can continue. In the meantime, parallel street connections to Stacy Road will remain under construction and the road is frequently reduced to a single lane creating often lengthy delays. This newest delay threatens the most recent estimate that work would be completed sometime this summer. Mayor Culbertson, town staff and council members expressed their frustrations with this latest setback. Culbertson offered that, “Not as much progress is being made as we would like and the question remains, how do we get this moving?”
In another agenda item the Council was informed by Chancellor that the reconstruction of the section of East Stacy Road from Thompson Springs Road to Orr Road is set to begin about 30 days after the Council approves the awarding of the construction contract to the low bidder. This project is anticipated to take a little less than a year to complete once construction begins. TCO Construction is the low bidder but its cost proposal significantly exceeded the Town’s original estimate. Chancellor explained, however, that it was possible to address the shortfall after the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) agreed to increase its funding of the project and because additional funds became available for this project when The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) decided to undertake all of the cost associated with the proposed overpass construction on Ridgeview Road. This freed $122,000 and the Council approved the bid. Chancellor will be overseeing the construction project.
A final street issue was brought before the Council regarding the need to reconstruct Orr Road at the intersection of East Stacy Road to Forest Grove Road. The Mayor observed, “Orr Road is now hazardous and serious accidents are bound to happen if it isn’t repaired.” Chancellor agreed and added that a bike rider was recently injured in an accident on Orr Road. The project requires about six more months of design before work can begin. Collin County will manage the project. The cost of reconstruction will be shared on a prorated basis by NTMWD ($1.6 million), Fairview ($22,000) and Lucas ($4,000). The Council approved the interlocal agreement between the parties.
In other matters;
· The Council received the results of the Town’s annual financial audit that was performed again by Weaver Tidwell, one of the 40 largest accounting and audit firms in the country. The firm issued an Unmodified Statement, the best opinion that can be issued. There were no significant deviations from proper financial management. Council member Pam Little offered congratulations to the Town staff for ensuring the audit contained no surprises, “It is a great audit”, she added. The complete audit will be posted to the Fairview website (FairviewTexas.org).
· Following the defeat of a recent bond proposal intended to improve several of the town’s own facilities, the Council appointed a citizen’s task force, called the Community Representative Group (CRG) to provide input to the Council addressing voter’s concerns in order to chart a new path forward. The CRG has met several times, largely to be provided with background and orientation to the various projects under consideration and will meet for the first time with the Council on April 26 at Noah’s adjacent to Town Hall. Residents are invited to observe the work session that begins at 7 pm.
· Again, expressing some frustration, Mayor Culbertson commented on the slow pace of the town’s Parks Board to update future planning, “The Park Board needs to accelerate its planning. We need to see what is proposed for the future and we need to improve communications about it with residents”, he said. Place 1 Councilmember Bill Nichol observed that the costs associated with maintenance of new Parks projects needs to be included in the project proposal so that before trees are planted or new parks are created, “We know the ongoing costs that might be required to properly maintain the facilities.”
· FM Global, an insurance company, presented the Fairview Fire Department with a grant to provide surveillance camera equipment for the purpose of preventing fires.
· Fairview Chief of Police Granville Tolliver briefed the Council on the most recent Racial Profiling Report, an annual requirement of all municipal police departments by Texas law. Tolliver shared that the 2018 report reveals a total disposition of 3,986 traffic stops of which 68.5% resulted in citations, 28% written warnings, and 18% verbal warnings. A total of 97 searches of vehicles were conducted of which 34% were considered consent searches, and 60% were probable cause searches. Half of the searches found contraband drugs. Of the nearly 4,000 traffic stops only 15% involved Fairview residents. Of the total traffic stops conducted 63% involved Caucasians, 2% Middle Eastern, 16% Hispanics, 15% Blacks and 2.5% Asians. Tolliver pointed out that because many residents of Fairview are issued a McKinney residence address the data might be skewed somewhat. This ambiguity arises as the result of Fairview postal customers being served by the McKinney Post Office. Town Manager Julie Couch added that several requests have been made to US Congressman Sam Johnson that Fairview be granted its own Post Office and Zip Code but no response from the Congressman’s staff has yet to be received. Seat Five Councilmember Paul Hendricks indicated that one of the candidates campaigning to replace Congressman Johnson, Texas State Senator Van Taylor of Plano, is willing to champion the issue on behalf of Fairview. Tolliver concluded his presentation by observing that, “There is no cause for concern about Fairview police engaging in racial profiling. Our objective is to police with empathy and we work on this constantly.”
· Councilmember Hendricks briefed the Council regarding an update on the homeless census in Collin County. His key point: Collin County with nearly 1,000,000 residents still has no facility where homeless residents might seek shelter. Those in need of shelter are often sent to the Dallas Shelter or housed informally with Collin County residents. The census reveals 487 homeless residents in Collin County resulting from loss of jobs, illness, domestic violence, and other causes. Several Council members expressed concern and interest in pursuing a remedy.
· Steven Ventura was introduced as the new Chief Operating Officer of the Town of Fairview.