There is little doubt that this has been the most contentious Council election in recent years. Facts have been undermined and replaced with distortions, personal attacks and false accusations; all seemingly motivated by a lot of personal resentments and anger. Now that the Facts Matter newsletter has been discovered by some, the distortions and attacks have intensified with even greater distortions. The unfortunate fate for Addison is that when facts are undermined, progress stalls.
It’s time to move forward and recognize some positive truths. So as we close in on Election Day, Facts Matter will focus on seven significant facts that demonstrate the real positive progress that has transpired over the past two years — progress that deserves to be rightly acknowledged and needs to be continued to preserve the enviable place that Addison is.
Strong Economic Growth
Our tax base has been enhanced with the completion of a new six-story office building along the tollway service road, the construction of a 132-suite five-story Home2Suites by Hilton, and the Council’s approval of the Addison Grove project which will add nearly $100 million to our tax base.
Essential Financial Controls
Accountability has been improved immeasurably by establishing financial policies, practices and procedures following COSO standards (considered the standard for an effective system of financial controls and widely embraced by public and private entities).
While highly criticized by a segment of the community, most residents seem to be pleased to know that with these professional procedures, accuracy and accountability is now in place to insure the protection of valuable tax dollars. Dr. Scott Neils, CPA, who has an extensive senior management background, has been hired as interim CFO (Finance Director) and additional CPAs are being hired for the finance department.
Fresh, Forward-Thinking Management
Our new City Manager, Wes Pierson, has been on board for several months; the first ever Purchasing Manager was recently hired to implement use of a purchasing manual not previously used; an entire Code Enforcement department has been established and is fully functioning; for the first time ever a professional City Secretary, Laura Bell, has been hired; Brenda McDonald has been hired as the Town’s new City Attorney and Paul Spencer, our new Chief of Police, has taken a more aggressive stance on reversing criminal activity at targeted hotels, sending a message that Addison is not the place you want to operate if you’re a criminal.
Add these new professionals to our existing competent staff and Addison is well poised for a strong, growth-oriented future.
Comparable Market Value Pay
The Council approved and implemented aggregate increases for the years 2013-2016 which now reflect an average compensation increase of: 26.1% for Police Officers; 26.64% for Firefighters/Paramedics; 18.9% for all other employees. This is the largest pay increase in the history of Addison. Passion Hayes confirms that Addison employees’ pay is now competitive with the market.
A Respectful, Collaborative Council
Addison’s current Council is made up of independent individuals who have demonstrated their dedication to doing due diligence. As independent members they do not always agree but contrary to past councils, where disrespectful shouting at one another was sometimes evident, this Council has shown the professionalism to disagree respectfully.
Each member has the additional responsibility of representing Addison in a variety of ways at entities such as WaterTower Theatre, Addison Airport, the Arbor Foundation, the Council of World Affairs, and other organizations and government entities. They do this voluntarily as a part of their commitment to serve the taxpayers of Addison.
Important Capital Improvements
There have been numerous capital improvements including undergrounding utilities on Belt Line Road, lighting improvements on Beltway, resurfacing of Addison Road, the development of pedestrian walkways, improvements for the Winnwood and Les Lacs ponds and the overall beautification of the Belt Line project.
Communication and transparency have been immeasurably enhanced. Never before were there public comment opportunities at Council meetings. There are now.
Town meetings are held semi-annually with updates from all Council members and the Mayor; there are monthly Economic Development luncheons and twice-monthly Mayor’s Coffees as well as the Mayor’s weekly newsletter. None of these communication opportunities existed previously.
There were also public sessions for information and resident input on the Addison Grove project from which came 14 restrictions imposed on the builder. Public sessions are being planned for resident input into the Master Transportation Plan as well.
The fact is, many positive things have been happening in Addison and it is important not to allow a small segment of individuals with a corrosive attitude to fool people into thinking that is not true.
Your vote this Saturday will determine whether we continue to progress and move forward with a futuristic vision or whether we allow combative accusations and misrepresentations to return us to the past.