The City of Rowlett, like many other municipalities, provide economic development incentives to promote development in their communities. Attracting businesses or development, keeping them, or getting them to expand operations often involves a request for some sort of incentive. While this may appear to be corporate welfare to some, cities are motivated to provide such incentives to ensure higher quality growth, diversify their tax base, bring in jobs, and/or provide amenities that may not currently exist. Every city competes with other cities to attract businesses or development – every city! Sometime, cities even compete with each other for the same deal. The challenge is attracting development that provides a benefit to the community, or else why would a city provide a financial incentive? Each project has to be viable and make economic sense.
2. Why doesn't Rowlett have an Economic Development Corporation?These incentive deals are often very complex. But, not every city has the same tools in their toolbox. For example, some cities have economic development corporations that are funded by a portion of the sales tax. These cities, referred to as 4A/4B cities, utilize a portion of the second of the two cent sales tax rate that cities are allowed under the State of Texas.
Rowlett doesn’t have a second cent on the tax rate. Instead, Rowlett is a founding member of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system. When Rowlett voters elected to become such a member in 1983, the City had to give up the ability to levy one of the two cent sales tax cities are allowed under the State of Texas. This means that cities like Rowlett do not have access to cash for economic development and must use other tools that are available. These include property tax rebates, waiver of roadway/water/sewer impact fees, land grants, and public/private partnerships, some of which are available under Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code. The incentives granted by the City typically require performance agreements and “claw back” provisions, should the business or developer not meet the criteria.
3. What kind of projects are awarded incentives?There is an old adage in business that you have to spend money to make money. That is very true in economic development. Without providing economic development incentives, the City would be unable to attract the kind of high quality businesses and development our community wants to see in Rowlett. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.
Here are two examples, one that did not make sense and one that did.• In 2012, the City turned down a deal to bring in a Kroger’s grocery store. In order to make the deal, Kroger wanted ten years’ worth of tax rebates and a land contribution from Rowlett which was worth considering. However, Kroger also asked for a $1.8 million cash contribution which Rowlett did not have at that time. That was untenable and not economically viable. The City did not approve the deal.
• In 2014, the City approved the Terra Lago deal with no cash upfront. Instead, the City agreed to rebate 57% of the annual property taxes collected for ten years. At the time the incentive was approved, the City was collecting $4,855 annually. Once built, Rowlett will collect $160,642 per year for the next ten years or 33 times the amount of taxes it was collecting!
Please view the Policy Statement on Economic Development Incentives (link below) available on the Economic Development website, www.rowlettonthemove.com.
Policy Statement on Economic Development Incentive
Show All Answers
The Rowlett City Council convened an Executive Session during the August 7 City Council Meeting "to consult with and receive legal advice from the City Attorney relating to the Bayside project and the Development Agreement.
At the conclusion of the session, Council released the following statement:
“We have adjourned the Executive Session and there is no formal action to be taken at this time. Contrary to published reports, the City has not scheduled a news conference. This is our public statement regarding the Bayside project.
City Council is not in agreement with the plan presented on July 26. Bayside is a legacy project. We have to do this right. The stakes are too high.
Council is seeking additional information from the developer to see if collaboration is possible.
We will continue to keep the public informed.”
Has the Crystal Lagoon been scrapped?
No. Any changes to the approved vision will require City approval.
What are the allowable uses of the Lagoon?
The Crystal Lagoon was always envisioned to be one of the key attractions and differentiators to establish Bayside as a world class destination. The design of the Crystal Lagoon accommodates multiple uses including public water sports and recreational activities and amenities; private beach areas for the resort and conference center and condominium owners and guests; and the one-acre show fountain. It is important to the City that the general public have access to the lagoon.
What is a Public Improvement District?
A Public Improvement District (PID) is a special assessment area created at the request of the developer in the district to fund higher quality or special improvements and services within a designated area. Property owners pay a supplemental assessment in addition to their taxes, which is used to pay off the public funds provided to the developer for project costs associated with the property development, such as water, sewer, drainage, roads, parks, police, fire, libraries and other development enhancements.
The Rowlett PID for Bayside South totals $36.5 million and includes funding for roadway improvements, utilities, and public open space and amenities. Public open space and amenities include trails, parks, distinctive lighting, signs, pedestrian malls, public art, and a multi-acre lagoon. A separate agreement between the City and Bayside requires the lagoon to be eight-acres.
Who pays the assessments for a Public Improvement District?
The assessments of a public improvement district are paid by the owners of the property or the developers until the property is sold. Rowlett taxpayers are not responsible for the payment of those assessments. Rowlett’s responsibility is limited to establishing the assessments each year and billing the property owners.
When did the developer submit their change to the approved vision?
Since 2013, the City has been actively involved in the Bayside project. The City spent two years negotiating with the City of Dallas and Donahue Development to acquire the 262-acre property.
In May, 2015, the City and its development partner, Donahue Development (now operating as Bayside Land Partners), closed on the former Elgin B. Robertson Park, acquiring the property from the City of Dallas. Funding for the property totaling $31.8 million was paid by the developer. No City taxes were used.
In April 2015, the City and Bayside Land Partners entered into a development agreement establishing the vision. From May 2015 until September 2017, City staff and Bayside worked on formalizing plans, including creating important amenities believed to make the project successful and provide a regional, multi-state draw. The most significant amenities of that vision were the crystal lagoon, show fountain and trolley. These were amenities originally identified by the developer as part of their research and design. Bayside hired a series of highly qualified consultants to do the financial analysis to confirm the feasibility of these amenities. The City relied upon this information, this analysis laid the foundation to support the $36.5 public improvement district on Bayside South.
Also, during this period, the City of Rowlett and Bayside Land Partners entered into a series of contractual agreements regarding the public improvement district and the construction of a conference center. Each of these agreements commit both Rowlett and Bayside to the approved vision including the amenities outlined previously in this document.
On September 28, 2017, Bayside notified the City of Rowlett that they were evaluating their management team structure. On October 10, 2017, Bayside notified the City of Rowlett that they had hired Tom D’Alesandro of Blakefield Development as the new Development Manager of Bayside. Since that time, City staff have met on a number of occasions with Bayside ownership, Tom D’Alesandro and a new slate of consultants hired by Bayside. While Bayside’s new consulting team raised concerns regarding the sizing of the condo towers, the operating cost of the lagoon and the viability of the show fountain, Bayside continued to assure the City that they were committed to the approved vision. Over the course of the last ten months, the City continuously requested supporting details, information and phasing schedules related to the completion of the approved vision for Bayside South.
The City of Rowlett did not see a comprehensive proposal of the changes to the approved vision until July 10, 2018. City staff, at the Mayor’s direction, immediately called an Executive Session to brief the City Council at the first available opportunity on July 17th. The City Council was told at that time that Bayside had requested to share their proposed vision with the entire City Council. The Council agreed and called a special work session that was held on July 26th.
It is important to note that the City wasn’t “stunned” as subsequent news articles indicated, but more disappointed and upset that important amenities included to make the project successful were removed. These were amenities that previous consultants hired by Bayside analyzed and concluded would work and were necessary to make Bayside successful and sustainable.
What is the original estimate for the completion of Bayside?
In 2015, when the original vision was established, the developer believed that Bayside would have an 8-10 year build-out.
What is the current status with Bayside?
On July 26, Bayside Land Partners presented a plan that differs significantly from the agreed-upon vision for the Bayside development. The new proposal eliminates the three most important differentiators and public attractions for Bayside: the eight-acre lagoon, one-acre show fountain, and the trolley. The new proposal also significantly reduces the entertainment, restaurant, and retail opportunities, and increases the amount of land area dedicated to residential uses. As such, the revised plan does not reflect the parameters set forth in the public-private partnership.
What is Bayside?
In May, 2015, the City of Rowlett and its development partner, Donahue Development (now operating as Bayside Land Partners), closed on the former Elgin B. Robertson Park, acquiring the property from the City of Dallas. Since that time, the City of Rowlett has been working with Bayside Land Partners to realize the vision for Bayside, a unique 262-acre, $1 billion mixed-use waterfront development unlike any other in the DFW area. This vision has the power to turn Rowlett into a resort destination, both for permanent residents as well as day and short-stay visitors.
In particular, the eight-acre Crystal Lagoon and show fountain will differentiate Rowlett from other high-end communities in the area that are primarily anchored by golf courses. The lagoon will feature two beaches and will be the first in the United States with a one-acre show fountain, which will serve as an exclusive landmark for the City of Rowlett, the DFW area and the State of Texas.
An open-style battery-operated bench trolley adds another dimension to the Bayside experience, serving as another key differentiator and incentive for engaging in the City’s attractions.
Other Bayside attractions include:
The total build-out is expected to be completed over eight to ten years and will include 1.75 million square feet of commercial space and 3,000 residential units. Bayside is projected to add nearly $1 billion in new taxable value, resulting in nearly $150 million in revenue from property, sales and hotel occupancy taxes over the next twenty years.
Who are the Bayside Land Partners?
Ownership of Bayside Land Partners consists of members of the Kruse family from Grapevine, Texas and the Wilks family from Cisco, Texas. The project manager is Tom D’Alesandro of Blake-Field (Chicago) and Dan Leverett from Place (Houston). Bayside has hired several notable architects including Sasaki (Boston), Lake Flato (San Antonio) and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects (Austin). The team has previously worked on projects such as Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia and The Woodlands Town Center & Waterway Square in The Woodlands, Texas.
How is the City of Rowlett involved in Bayside?
Bayside is a true public-private partnership. In a traditional development, the City’s involvement is limited to zoning the property, providing utility services, and making inspections. In this project, however, the City of Rowlett and Bayside Land Partners committed to a vision and are obligated to executing that vision and realizing the parameters established in 2015. The City facilitated the purchase of the property from the City of Dallas, annexed the property into the municipal boundary, rezoned the property with Form Based Code, created a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), approved a public improvement district, drove a change in state law to qualify Rowlett for a ten-year tax refund from the State of Texas for a new conference center, and championed new development on I30 to support the region’s growth and this project.
How do these proposed changes impact our community?
Eliminating these attractions from the Bayside experience is certain to impact the tourism and demand for a 500-room resort, as well as current and future local entertainment venues and restaurants. Without major attractions, there will be a considerable reduction in visitors and a loss in tax revenue, particularly sales taxes.
Has the City approved the proposed changes?
No. Although Bayside notified the City of Rowlett of a change in lead developers on October 10, 2017, the City was assured this change was an internal issue for the development firm and would have no relevant impact on the public-private partnership. Any changes to the vision requires City approval.
What are the incentives provided by the City?
Incentives includes the creation of a Tax-increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to help mitigate extraordinary development challenges and remove barriers to development. These challenges included the costs associated with improvements to Interstate 30 and Dalrock, earthwork and construction of sea walls on the south side, offsite utility improvements, and parks, trails, public art and monuments. In order to accommodate these challenges, the TIRZ provides a contribution rate of 50% of all property taxes collected for a period of twenty years for a total of $75.9 million. During this same twenty-year time period, the City of Rowlett expects to generate $149.5 million in property taxes, sales taxes and hotel occupancy taxes. Upon full build-out (about 10 years), City taxes are expected to be approximately $8.0 million annually, net of the TIRZ contribution, or equivalent to 25 cents on the tax rate.
Why would the City participate in a public-private partnership of this kind?
The City has been interested in this site for many years. It is a “legacy” project that can help ensure Rowlett’s future by providing tax base, jobs and amenities unlikely to occur anywhere else in the city limits. It also meets a number of guidelines in the City’s comprehensive master plan, Realize Rowlett 2020 as follows:
What are the next steps?
Bayside Land Partners has proposed significant changes to the original vision that both parties had previously approved and agreed to. At this point, the City of Rowlett will need to consider the implications of the proposal and determine the next steps. Ultimately, any changes to the vision will require approval from the City of Rowlett.
Watch the July 27 Special City Council Meeting
July 27, 2018 News Release - City Council Receives Bayside Land Partners Presentation
In the wake of increased Appraisal District valuations the past two years, the Rowlett City Council recognizes the need for tax relief. Therefore, the City Council is considering a proposal to reduce the ad valorem tax rate by two cents, from $0.777173 to $0.757173, as part of the City of Rowlett Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget. This means property owners would pay $0.757173 for every $100 of assessed property value. Taxpayers would save $24 annually for every $100,000 in value. The proposed reduction continues the City Council’s commitment to providing tax relief, which began with a one-cent ad valorem tax rate reduction for this Fiscal Year, 2017-2018.
A message from Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian:
"Approving the budget (and determining the resulting tax rate) is the most important function of your Council and we take it very seriously. Please know that we are in the same situation as all North Texas residents in regards to increasing home valuations that have resulted in huge increases in property tax bills. As a reminder, over 50% of your property taxes funds the school district, 20% funds the County/Hospital/Community College services, and the remainder (under 30%) funds the extensive city services that impact you day in and day out. A real problem in our current system is that even though home valuations continue to climb at exorbitant levels, our school districts must continue to increase their tax rates to fund schools due to our broken school finance system.
All tax rates are not created equal. It is important to understand the real dollar amount households pay in property taxes compared to other cities and the services provided by each city. For example, Highland Park has a tax rate of 22 cents per $100 of taxable value, but their average home value is $1 million. After factoring in their 20% homestead exemption, the average homeowner in Highland Park pays annual city taxes of $1,760. The average home value in Rowlett is under $200,000 and the average homeowner in Rowlett pays annual city taxes of $1,515. Another example – the average home value in Frisco is $417,000 and the average homeowner pays annual city taxes of $1,676 (computed after their recent announcement of changes to their homestead exemption).
Another factor that influences tax rates is the commercial base – how much the city is able to collect in commercial property taxes and thus shift some of the burden of property taxes from residential to commercial. Rowlett is 80% residential and is therefore heavily dependent on residential property taxes. Yet another factor is how much of city operations is funded from other tax sources, such as sales tax. Rockwall (population 44,000) collects about $16 million in sales taxes annually and Rowlett (population 62,000) collects $7 million in sales taxes annually. And, yet another factor to consider is the cost of city services. Rockwall has a tax rate of 42.36 cents per $100 of taxable value. Rockwall is not a DART city like Rowlett. DART is collecting the second penny on the sales tax that Rowlett could otherwise collect. That currently amounts to $7 million per year, which is equivalent to 18 cents on our tax rate. Also, Rockwall has a mixed staff of paid and volunteer firefighters and a separate district provides emergency medical services. Rowlett provides those services for our residents at a cost of about 23 cents on our tax rate.
In addition, Rowlett is one of only seven cities in Dallas County that provides the senior tax freeze. This is huge for our seniors as it means whatever tax amount they are paying to the City for their current home (once they reach age 65) can never increase in the future regardless of increases in tax values and/or city tax rates. Rowlett also provides a $30,000 senior tax exemption and a $50,000 disabled person tax exemption.
Frisco recently announced that they will NOT be reducing their tax rate but will instead increase their homestead exemption from 7.5% to 10%. This will save Frisco residents approximately $12 annually per $100,000 in taxable value. Our announcement of reducing our tax rate by 2 cents will save Rowlett residents $24 annually per $100,000 in taxable value. Frisco has a larger commercial base than Rowlett thus increasing the homestead exemption vs. reducing the tax rate shifts some tax burden to the commercial base. Also, even though I mentioned above that you need to look at the real dollar amount paid per household in property taxes, a city’s actual tax rate does influence decision making for residents and commercial enterprises moving to our area. That is another reason why it is important for Rowlett to pass tax reductions to our residents through a tax rate reduction instead of a homestead exemption increase. Of the 31 cities in Dallas County, 14 provide no homestead exemption, 5 provide the same level as Rowlett, and 12 provide a higher homestead exemption. On another point, only 11 (including Rowlett) of the 31 cities lowered their property tax rate last year.
Rowlett runs an incredibly efficient and lean operation and provides an excellent level of city services. Rowlett was recently ranked the 5th leanest local government (out of 38 north Texas Cities with populations over 30,000), with 77 employees per 10,000 residents. The average for these cities was 98 employees per 10,000 residents and the range was 67 to 187 employees per 10,000 residents. In most areas, Rowlett is running well below pre-recession headcounts despite significant growth across the city. We have made a commitment to our current employees that we will pay them competitive wages and we must start investing in more personnel to manage our current operations and our growth. Each penny reduction in our tax rate saves the average Rowlett homeowner $48 annually and reduces the funds available for the city operations by approximately $450,000.
Please note that we are currently in the midst of budget preparations. The assessed values we have received from the taxing authorities are preliminary and subject to change as protests occur and numbers are finalized. The City Council has given our City Manager guidance to prepare a budget with an assumed 2 cent reduction in our tax rate. There will be much more detailed information available to Council and the public during our budget workshops on August 14 and August 23. The public is welcome to attend all public meetings, including these workshops."
Public Hearings on the ad valorem tax rate for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 will be held during the regular City Council Meetings beginning at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, August 21 and Tuesday, September 4.
Public Hearings on the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 will be held during the regular City Council Meetings beginning at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, August 21 and Tuesday, September 18.
The City Council will vote to approve an ordinance formally adopting the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget during the regular City Council Meeting on Tuesday, September 18. If adopted, the new tax rate would become effective October 1, 2018.
1. What are the Current Rates? Base Rates •Water Base (5/8” meter) = $28.00 •Sewer Base = $19.79 •Storm Water Management = $5.50 •Trash Base (1 Trash/1 Recycle) = $17.00 •Tax on Standard Trash Service = $1.65 •Maintenance Fee Pavement = $3.00 Consumption Rates Water •0 – 3,000 = $4.35 per 1,000 gallons •3,000 – 15,000 = $5.44 per 1,000 gallons •15,000 and Above= $6.80 per 1,000 gallons •(Commercial Rate) = $5.44 per 1,000 gallons (1 tier only) Sewer •$4.87 per 1,000 gallons (Residential Capped at 10,000 gallons) 2. How is my water bill actually calculated? The City of Rowlett has over 19,000 accounts with each account having one or more water meters. Each water meter is electronically read once every 30 days. That reading is uploaded into the billing system, and the account is charged based on the amount of usage. 3. Are sewer charges calculated the same as water? Not exactly. Sewage is not metered at the property; therefore, the City uses the amount of water usage measured by the water meter to calculate sewer charges. However, for residential customers, the City has a cap of 10,000 gallons. Therefore, if a customer uses less than 10,000 gallons of water, the City would use the actual amount of water usage to calculate the sewer volume charges. If a customer used a higher amount, they are only charged 10,000 gallons for sewer. 4. Why is my water bill so high? We have heard two main questions/statements from numerous customers - that their bill has never been this high and/or that they have never used this much water. The answer is complicated because every customer has different personal habits and some have irrigation systems or swimming pools while others do not. •My bill has never been this high. For many customers this is a true statement. Over the past seven years, Rowlett has increased the water and sewer charges by an average of 5.5% each year (based on 10,000 gallons of usage) to pass on increases from North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) for water purchases and the City of Garland for sewer treatment. •My usage has never been this high. For most customers, this is not accurate. Customers can check their historical usage on both the AMI and Citizen Self Service Portals. Customers can also contact the Utility Billing office to discuss their past usage patterns. 5. Does the City of Rowlett use “estimates” in billing? The City reads each customers’ water meter every month to obtain actual usage. The only time “estimates” may be used are in situations when the customers’ water meter is pulled and tested or even rarer times when a resolution to an issue cannot be resolved during the billing period. Otherwise, we do not estimate bills. 6. What is the “pavement fee” that appears on my utility bill each month? The pavement fee assessed each month on the utility bill is for providing a funding source for pavement maintenance to alleys and streets each year. Approximately $750k is generated each year for pavement maintenance. The fee was included in the refuse collection fee previously but to improve transparency, the fee was recently broken out so customers can view what amount is assessed each month. 7. What Is AMI? New water meter reading system, AMI-Flexnet, is now online...giving water customers (YOU!) the ability to access and track water consumption online. In fact, the system reads every hour so you can get real-time usage information. Simply create an account at www.rowlett.com/AMI, set up your alerts and start tracking your daily usage. Armed with this information, customers can spot and repair potential leaks before they result in a higher bill! Realizing that we all have to work together to reduce water use, improve the reliability and sustainability of our water system and minimize costs, over the past year the City replaced ALL of the radio antennas for this important upgrade to the water meter reading system. In fact, approximately 18,000 meter radio antennas were installed! These new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) antennas transmit water consumption data directly to the City’s Utility Billing Department, thereby eliminating the need for staff to drive by each home and business to acquire the meter readings. 8. Why doesn’t the AMI record usage when I take a shower? The AMI system registers usage in 100 gallon increments. Common household tasks alone are not enough to register while occurring: •Shower (17-32 gal); •Washing dishes by hand (8-27 gal); •Dishwasher (6-16 gal); •Washing load of clothes (25-40 gal)
Read Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian's July, 2018 Mayor's Spotlight newsletter (linked below) for more great information about the complex issue of water in our community.
NTMWD rate increases ensure reliable, uninterrupted water delivery now and in the future by maintaining NTMWD’s existing system and funding future expansions.
2. What is "Take or Pay"?Rowlett is a “Customer” City of the North Texas Municipal Water District (as opposed to one of the 13 “Member” Cities). Like many such wholesalers, the District has a “take-or-pay” provision in the contract that requires the annual purchase of a minimum amount of water based on the highest annual usage. For Rowlett, this amount is 3.2 billion gallons, which was set after the drought of 2006. Over the past 13 years, Rowlett has paid $9.9 million for water it did not sell under the “take-or-pay” agreement with NTMWD.• Requires annual purchase of a minimum amount of water (3.2 billion gal) based on highest annual usage (set back in 2006/2007)• Actual water delivered to Rowlett customers was less than 2 billion gal FY17. • City has to pay for the minimum 3.2 bil gal whether it is sold to customers or not = drives up customer cost• Expanded customer base will drive reduce effect of "take or pay" Current NTMWD Capital Projects
Policy Statement on Economic Development Incentive
1. Why isn’t my street/alley fixed? How do I find out where my street/alley ranks?The City assesses and rates each street and alley every four years. You can contact the Public Works Department at 972-412-6287 to see where your street and alley ranks. Or you can visit the link below to view the street ranking and top worst 50 alleys.
2. My street was included in the 2015 bond election. Why isn’t it completed?The City is working diligently to deliver the 2015 Bond Program. The goal is to begin all street projects by the Spring of 2018. Updates to the CIP Bond Program can be accessed at www.rowlett.com/CIPinfo. Street Ranking and Top 50 Worst Alleys
The above strategic guiding principles identified distinctive growth areas (Downtown, Bayside, Healthy Living, Signature Gateway, North Shore and Woodside Living) that are now seeing a tremendous amount of private investment including the diversification of Rowlett’s housing options to include multi-family units (apartments, townhomes, senior living, condos, etc.). The market (not just in Rowlett, but all of DFW) has recognized the need for housing options and development that creates a distinctive character and lasting value so Rowlett has been successful in attracting projects like the Village of Rowlett, Terra Lago, Evergreen @ Rowlett, Harmony and The Mansions at Bayside.
1. Will the Rowlett market support this number of apartment communities?Relative to the number of apartments, the City engaged a market study as part of RR2020 and North Shore to analyze the potential market for land uses including multifamily units and said study indicated that the Rowlett trade area has a 20 year potential market demand of nearly 15,000 units, to date approximately 3,000 units have been proposed to be constructed in Rowlett. (http://tx-rowlett.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/8543).
2. How are we going to address all of the traffic problems from so many apartments?As part of each development, a traffic impact analysis is required to be performed at the time the development is proposed. This analysis informs the city on traffic impacts from the development and identifies areas of concern, and allows the city to make the determination on improvements to existing infrastructure that the developer would be responsible to install. For example, the signals along SH 66 will be retimed to efficiently handle the traffic along the side streets, including the increased traffic on Scenic due to the Terra Lago development. In addition, the City imposes a traffic impact fee for all development within Rowlett (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.). Those impact fees are used to help fund projects that are identified on the City’s Master Thoroughfare Plan.
3. Are the schools ready for the influx in students from all this growth?The City works closely with both Independent School Districts (ISD’s) and they are regularly briefed on and involved in their own tracking of development as it occurs. On a regular basis, the ISD’s plan for growth and continuously make preparations as development occurs with their districts.
4. Is our police department able to handle the influx in crime from all this growth?As the City grows the police department will be adding additional police personnel to the department to keep up with the needs of the City. Evaluations for additional manpower is determined on number of calls for service, response times, call holding, are just a few indicators for the need of additional personnel.
1. Village of Rowlett Over 10 years ago, the City Council made a decision to redo Main Street from an asphalt road to concrete. Through a grant and other funding mechanisms, the clock tower, monuments and landscaping were added in an effort to add character to our downtown area. Although some felt this project was not of value, today, the clock tower has become a popular destination for photos and nothing says “Rowlett” quite like it! This investment and the Realize Rowlett 2020 plan are key reasons downtown development has progressed. Bankhead Brewing is a great example of the type of new business that located in our downtown simply because of this plan! The Library will makes its home at the Village, and more restaurants and retail establishments will also be locating downtown as well, providing different and unique choices for dining and shopping. Many of the same features downtown (i.e. street lights, trees and sidewalks) will be carried through into the surrounding neighborhoods as well, creating a synergistic flow to our Village. The DFW area is growing at a rapid pace, so it was imperative the City properly planned, attracting the best type of development to bring real value to our downtown. The Village project/concept was a result of many years of planning, much citizen input and finding the right developer to carry out the vision! In fact, the goal was to find a developer willing to match what was downtown and help to create the downtown our citizens have long desired. And the sign brings "identity" and character to the area (like the water tower and clock tower), and adds a flavor of nostalgia to the buildings! The Village features live/work units. Simply put, the first floor units are designed so small businesses can occupy them and not pay commercial rents, simply put that means they’re affordable. So, if you were an accountant, attorney, therapist, or just a very small office with a few employees you can rent one of these offices essentially giving your business a "Main Street address" and not pay commercial rates. Then add accessibility to the DART rail, which will help bring clients/customers into the downtown area! 2. How will the Village of Rowlett affect downtown parking? The Village of Rowlett is just one many planned developments within downtown, the City is taking a strategic and global look at the entire 250+ acre downtown area. Parking management downtown is an ongoing concern that will continue to be addressed as development occurs through the city initiated Downtown Parking Management Plan. Currently, the Village of Rowlett has not only met parking requirements, but provided a surplus of 13 spaces in addition to pre-construction conditions. The Village of Rowlett is also providing publicly accessible, on street parking in the spaces along Main Street and north of Dennis St., as well as on a portion of Southridge north of the leasing building.
2. Can the City limit the amount of liquor stores we have in Rowlett? The City may NOT, according to State law, discriminate against or treat these businesses any differently than others wishing to locate here. The City CAN, and has, adopted the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations regarding distance requirements related to churches, hospitals and schools. The City has also adopted an Ordinance allowing these businesses to request a variance from the distance requirement.
1. What is the senior tax freeze?The freeze sets a ceiling on the amount of actual taxes the person will ever pay to the City of Rowlett - the frozen amount is determined in the first year they obtain the senior exemption. They will never pay more than that amount, regardless of what happens to their assessed value and regardless of what happens to the tax rate. They may pay less - if the assessed value and/or the tax rate goes down.
2. What is the senior tax exemption?The $30,000 exemption means the year that a person becomes 65, they are given a $30,000 exemption off of their home's assessed value.
The exemption amount can be changed, but the tax freeze is forever.
In 2004, the City set the senior tax exemption at $67,000, the third highest rate in Dallas County. In addition, the City adopted the freeze (again the freeze can never be changed) and was one of only seven cities in Dallas County to provide the senior tax freeze.
3. How does this affect the City?For the FY2018 tax year - 10/1/17 through 9/30/18, the City will not receive $2.7 million in property taxes due to the senior tax exemption and freeze. That equates to 7 cents of the property tax rate.
Due to the senior exemption and freeze, property taxes paid to the City in 2014 were $3.4 million less than if the senior exemption and freeze were not in place. In 2014, the City had an across the board tax increase to fund city services and deferred maintenance that suffered tremendously from the great recession. The City also lowered the senior exemption amount from $67,000 to $30,000. Since the senior freeze was still in place, seniors that already had the exemption and freeze in place were not negatively impacted. And new seniors coming to that age still receive a great tax break in the year they turn 65 - the $30,000 exemption and the tax freeze.
A real focus of the City of Rowlett is to improve those existing parks first and ensure there are maintenance plans in place to keep them in excellent condition. Once this has been done, Council will prioritize what undeveloped parks are developed.
2. When will the City of Rowlett build a community dog park? Coming soon: Scentral Bark, Rowlett's first off-leash dog park! A $20,000+ donation from the Sachse Park Pals was gratefully approved and accepted at a December, 2017 City Council Meeting, and will fund this long-desired community amenity. The new dog park will be installed in Herfurth Park, will include both large and small dog areas, and....will open in early March, 2018!!!
3. Parks, Recreation and Trail Master Plan This plan, approved by the City Council in January 2018, outlines new goals and strategies for Parks and Open Space, Recreation and Trails.
4. When will you start working on Trails? The Parks, Recreation and Trail Master Plan will outline priority one, two and three trails. We will begin making the connections as soon as the plan is adopted by City Council. One of the first connections we will complete is the trail at Scenic Point Park – connecting the end of the trail behind Terra Lago to Scenic Dr.
Timeline:In 2012, Rowlett partnered with la terra studios to develop a Scenic Point Park Master Plan. In May 2012, City Council held a special work session to discuss this Master Plan. In August 2013, City Council approved this Master Plan.
In September 2013, City Council approved awarding a bid to York Bridge Concepts to construct the wooden bridge and lookout.
In 2014, the City partnered with Terra Lago to complete Phase II, which would include a grand staircase, parking and 660 linear feet of trail. Future expansion will complete the additional phases of the park.
Phase I: Master Planning, Boardwalk, Easements - Approximately $785,000 - Funded through Cash CIP - status: open
Phase II: Grand Staircase, partial trail completion - Approximately $500,000 - Funded through a partnership with Terra Lago - status: anticipated to open no later than March 31, 2018
Phase III: Trail & Trail Head, overlook, kayak/canoe launch, terraced seating, playground, nature trail, wetland, wetland bridge, pavilion, boardwalk, pier, parking, signage/branding. Status: future funding for Phase III will depend on partnerships, sponsorships or future CIP funding opportunities.
In 2017, in an effort to enhance the already popular offerings for our community’s senior citizens, the department hired a full time parks and recreation programmer and added seven new senior fitness programs. At the time, the programs were offered at no charge to gauge interest and allow everyone to try the classes. In order to remain sustainable, PARD has implemented fees for SOME senior programming at a rate of $1.25 per class (seniors are still receiving a discounted rate, Youth and Adult programming ranges from $4 to $8 per class). This will allow us to ensure we have great instructors and facilities. And, as participants are aware, there are already many senior programs for which a small fee is charged to support the sustainability goal. These include trips, luncheons, some instructional classes and some exercise programs such as Senior Stretch.
This does not mean every senior program will have a fee – for example, Bingo, Coffee and Donuts, Bridge, Texas Hold ‘Em, Senior Health Checks and Table Games will continue to be offered at no charge. Core fitness programming will still be offered at no charge – PACE, Senior Fitness Fun, SAIL and Get Energized with Jill. Due to extremely high enrollment numbers, participants will now need to pre-register for these programs though!
Going forward, fees will be assigned to senior programming based on the type of program and the expenses related to the program. This structure is outlined in the Master Fee Schedule approved by City Council. All areas of programming follow the same structure including preschool to adult programming and athletic programming.
2. When will we get a Senior Center in Rowlett?During Fiscal Year 2017 the City of Rowlett conducted a Senior Center Feasibility Study at the request of the Senior Advisory Board. It was decided the best location for a senior center facility was as an attachment to the Rowlett Community Centre. The price tag for the facility is approximately $7 million dollars. The Community Investment Advisory Board will request funding for the design of the facility as part of the 2018 CIP Bond election.
Initial funding for the project will come from the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards $250,000 grant, awarded to Keep Rowlett Beautiful in 2014 by Keep Texas Beautiful. Subsequent funding will be provided through TxDOT’s Green Ribbon program. Together, the Governor's Community Achievement Award and Green Ribbon Project will provide over $2.1 million in funding to Rowlett. No matching funds are required from the City of Rowlett with this project, and TxDOT provides the administration and management.
Phase 1 of the project began at the far west city limit and extends to Applebee’s. Phase 2 runs from Chiesa to Heritage Parkway on the east end of SH66 and is anticipated to begin in February 2018. The areas specifically over Lake Ray Hubbard are not included due to necessary environmental approvals, but will be part of future projects. Plant selections include Liriope, Pennisetium Grass, Gulf Muhly, Flame Acanthus, Russian Sage, Coreopsis, Blue Grama, Upright Rosemary, Autumn Sage and similar plantings. Trees include High Rise Live Oaks, Texas Redbuds and Crape Myrtles.
Entryway features will be placed on SH66 at Dexham on the west end of Rowlett and at Heritage Parkway to the east. The features have been designed by la terra studio and will encompass a large wall with a “ROWLETT” designation on one side. There are additional environmental approvals the entryway features must go through, so their installation will be the final components of the project.
View the TXDOT (funding and managing the project) and la terra studios (landscape architects) City Council Work Session presentation from April 18, 2017, Item 3C on the Agenda at the link below. TxDot/la terra studios presentation
1. When will the library move back downtown? The Library is now open on the ground floor in the Village development. Transitioning the Library from its temporary location at 5702 Rowlett Road to Downtown was always been part of the Village of Rowlett development plan. The agreement with the Village is to house the Library for five years, with an option to renew for an additional two years. 2. What’s the City going to do with the 5702 Rowlett Road facility? The building will be repurposed for the Community Development and Economic Development Departments. 3. Why can’t it stay open as a library branch? The building’s proximity to downtown makes this less feasible, as it would require additional staffing and operational costs to do so. Branch libraries are more frequently seen in larger population centers that are further spread out geographically.
Prior to this adoption, outside of the 1997 Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings, the City did not have a means to address certain property maintenance issues/concerns. As the City continues to age and progress with continued growth and development, we needed a means to address these aging and deteriorating properties. The adoption of the IPMC will now allow all properties (residential- owner occupied and rental, multi family, and commercial) to be held to specified property maintenance standards all across Rowlett.
Subsequently, we have implemented a Rental Housing Standards Program to ensure minimum housing standards for the protection and safety of the occupants of all rental homes, both single family and multifamily.
All single-family and duplex homes are required to be registered annually and multi-family complexes are required to be licensed annually. Single family registration fees are $50 per year and multi-family is $12/unit/year. Forms are available on the Rental Housing web page or at the Community Development Office located at 3901 Main St. Rowlett, TX 75088. Forms may be mailed in or brought in person. There is no "online" option at this time.
To report a complaint concerning a rental residence, please call Environmental Health at 972 412 6125 option #9 or email email@example.com. More Info...
What is a Housing Finance Corporation? Why do we have a Housing Finance Corporation? What does the Housing Finance Corporation do? Does the City fund the HFC? A Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) is a public, non-profit corporation organized under Chapter 394 of the Texas Local Government Code. HFCs essentially provide a means to finance affordable residential development for local governments. Rowlett City Council voted to approve incorporation of the Rowlett HFC on July 11, 2017. The Rowlett HFC promotes residential ownership and development through the financing of projects and programs that are of long term economic benefit to the city and its residents. HFCs are standalone corporations. Although they perform essential governmental functions, they are not directly funded through the city’s coffers. HFCs may issue debt (through the sale of bonds), but the debt is not directly tied to the city and does not affect the city’s bond capacity or rating.