WPCG is collecting questions and sharing answers. If you have a question, chances are there are others who have the same one. WPCG will find a WP citizen who will benefit from the research and the sharing.
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As our first installment, WPCG is offering an excerpt of a letter City Council Place 3 Greg Runnebaum wrote in response to visiting his constituents door-to-door recently.
I had the opportunity to meet with several Willow Park citizens during the run-up to the most recent elections. During these conversations I heard a LOT of positive comments about the city and several people had questions. Since these questions covered many of the primary issues and projects in Willow Park, I presume others have similar questions and concerns so I have prepared this article to address them publicly. This is part one of a multi- part column to address these topics.
City Organization and Management
Before jumping into the main topics, I think it is important to have an understanding about how Willow Park city government operates and how the city is managed. This background will help address some of the later topics that will be addressed.
City management and regulations surrounding city management are complex. That is why Willow Park has experienced staff and why the city utilizes outside legal support. Willow Park is a General Law city under Texas Local Government Code (LGC). A general law city is a municipality that is limited to governmental organization and powers specifically granted by state law. LGC defines those limits, in which the Willow Park (WP) city government and staff may operate. Operating outside of the LGC limits would, in fact, be illegal.
When a new development or new ordinance is put to the city council for vote, it must first go through best practices established by the Texas Municipal League (TML) and processes enforced by the city code, be reviewed by the city staff, city attorney, and then must be voted on by planning and zoning (in the case of development) and finally comes before city council.
LGC regulations allow for latitude that the city staff and government may operate within so that we may make the best decisions with the information available at the time. Citizens of Willow Park may disagree with some or all of these decisions, but that does not mean the decision or action is unethical or illegal.
Willow Park uses the services of an outside financial advisor who provides an assessment of the city financials when any new debt is being considered. The advisor will evaluate the existing debt load, the payoff period of that debt and makes estimates of tax revenue and ability to support any new debt. The city also uses the services of an outside audit firm to audit the city’s financials each year. This annual audit is performed to review the financial transactions and identify any items that need to be reviewed and/or corrected. The audit is made available to the public on the city’s web site after it is approved by council.
There are a lot of great things happening in Willow Park! Long standing infrastructure issues are being addressed and sales tax revenue from new businesses continues to increase. Together, we will have a bright future for Willow Park.
Road and Infrastructure:
Why was the design of Ranch House changed to concrete?
The initial concept was for Ranch House was to be concrete ribbon with asphalt paving. After a small section of asphalt with ribbon was installed at Ranch House and Crown a few years ago, it lasted less than a year. I personally looked at the ribbon and asphalt installation in other locations around DFW and found that concrete ribbon with asphalt paving simply did not last. I supported changing to all concrete construction based on this information.
How was Ranch House rework funded?
A bond was passed in 2016 by the citizens for Ranch House road reconstruction. WP government, using the process and authority outlined in "City Organization and Management" (above), used additional financing to go with concrete construction.
Is the Ranch House road design faulty?
No. The design used off-the-shelf design standards from North Texas Council of Governments. If Ranch House design is faulty, then thousands of other street designs in north Texas are faulty. The engineering firm used by WP also did the grading and drainage design.
Why all the rework on Ranch House road?
The city uses an independent inspector to inspect the road prior to acceptance. Areas needing rework were identified. This rework is paid for by the contractor. The total area reworked was less than 0.5% of the total road area of about 286,000 sq. ft.
Will Ranch House be rebuilt from Fox Hunt Trail to Scenic Trail?
WP has finalized engineering and is obtaining competitive bids for this section of Ranch House. This item was on the May 2019 city council agenda.
Why all the Mikus Road Exit from I-20 Congestion?
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) had plans to rebuild Mikus Road interchange at I-20 for some time now. It was my understanding that the TXDOT construction on Mikus should have been completed a year ago. TXDOT experienced delays in the Mikus project. In 2018 and early 2019 Willow Park proceeded with badly needed road construction projects. Unfortunately, these projects have overlapped.
Why all the Bankhead Road congestion?
Aledo high school adds a significant amount of traffic to Bankhead. Bankhead Road is owned by Parker County. I understand that the county is evaluating a bond program to widen Bankhead.
Why the use of County Labor and Equipment to repair Willow Park side streets?
The county is a very cost competitive option for repairing side streets. Most side streets in WP were never built correctly and need to be extensively reworked. WP is establishing a budget for use of county labor and equipment going forward for side street repair/replacement.T here are over 30 miles of side streets WP so this will take time to complete.
WP has many infrastructure needs due to decades of neglect and missed opportunities.