The Fort Worth City Council had a lengthy agenda at its Dec. 6 meeting. Hidden within all the approvals, transactions and appointments, however was a simple holiday gesture by a local resident to the Fort Worth Police Department.
Reverend Jack Teeler and his wife, Brenda, donated 50 pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses to the department. He is the president and CEO of Eyecrafters in Fort Worth, an eyewear and eye care retailer.
"Our policemen and policewomen are out on the streets at all times looking out for us," Teeler said, adding with a smile, "Police are the first people we call when we need something, well, after Jesus.
"We just wanted to do something to help do their job better and safer."
The sunglasses would normally sell for about $249 per pair, Teeler said. He said they are made in Italy and have polycarbonate, impact-resistant lenses that are polarized to reduce glare and provide 100 percent protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
"These are nice glasses, and they're protective," he said. "We're a small company, but we have a big heart. We love supporting our community because our community supports us."
Teeler and his wife have made numerous donations, including giving 50 pairs of glasses to Brighter Outlook in the Stop Six neighborhood, benefiting children and seniors.
"There was one little boy, he hadn't been able to see and he was really sad and depressed," Teeler said. "He was struggling in school. They had no money.
"But when he put those glasses on, he cried he was so happy. He gave me a big ol' hug. I see him all the time. He'll say, 'Hi Mr. Teeler, I can see you.'"
Teeler is a pastor at West Mount Moriah Baptist Church in the Como area of Fort Worth.
"I'm not being critical of anyone who does, but we're doing fine and I'm not in it for the money," he said.
Teeler has also worked with Ministers Against Crime and the Clergy and Police Association. He said he's also been asked to be a part of Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald's Clergy Advisory Board.
"I joined just in time. I get a free dinner next week," he said, chuckling. "There's nothing a Baptist preacher likes better than a free dinner."
Raised by a single mother, Teeler worked at a gas station as a youngster, earning $50 a week to help with the family income. Now that he's an adult with a successful business, he often does speaking engagements to encourage others to keep moving forward in life.
And he's never forgotten what a difference being kind to people can make in their lives, he said.
"God's been good to us and we want to be good to others," he said.
Police Department spokeswomen Paula Fimbres said the sunglasses will be distributed to officers who are recognized for outstanding acts or going above their normal duty requirements.
Also in connection with the department, the council authorized spending up to $124,694 with Defense Solutions Group Inc., a Fort Worth company, for carbines for the Police Department. Many carbines are shortened versions of full-length rifles, shooting the same ammunition, while others fire lower-powered ammunition, including types designed for pistols.
Here come the judges pay raises
The City Council approved a 3 percent salary increase for the 10 municipal court judges, effective Dec. 24. The breakdown is:
*An hourly rate of $49.73 for Municipal Judges Charles Tyler Atkinson, Raquel D. Brown, Ann Y. Collins and Patricia L. Summers.
*An hourly rate of $51.86 for Municipal Judges Andrew T. Bradshaw, Simon C. Gonzalez, Benita Falls Harper, Claudia A. Martinez, Robert Neel McDonald and Jo Ann Reyes.
*An hourly rate of $53.74 for Deputy Chief Judge James D. Rodgers.
*An hourly rate of $64.36 for Chief Judge Ninfa L. Mares.
The total estimated salary cost for 10 associate municipal court judges for the rest of the fiscal year 2016-2017 is $23,770.56.
In its work session, the council discussed a proposed enhanced community facilities agreement with Hunt Southwest Mercantile LLC for construction of a 655,000-square-foot facility and improvements to North Sylvania Avenue. The new facility would be at the corner of North Sylvania and Quorum Drive.
The proposed site is an asphalt road that would be considered insufficient for commercial traffic. The Transportation and Public Works Department has suggested widening North Sylvania into a two-lane arterial road with a center turn lane.
"The Hunt Southwest Enhanced Community Facilities Agreement [ECFA] allows the city to leverage the development of a distribution facility in an existing business park to develop needed infrastructure in the area," said Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, assistant director of the Fort Worth Economic Development department.
"The road improvements along North Sylvania Avenue align with the city’s Master Thoroughfare Plan and enhance the corridor for both the business tenants and residents."
The developer intends to invest a minimum of $20.5 million in the construction by Jan. 31, 2018. In addition, the developer will improve about
1,900 linear feet of North Sylvania, including demolition of existing asphalt road, grading, paving of new road and sidewalks, re-paving of driveway entrances, utility relocations and installations, street lighting, fire hydrants, and landscaping that will be completed to city specifications by Jan. 31, 2018.
The estimated total cost for the work is $2 million.
In addition, the developer has committed to securing tenants to occupy at least 50 percent of the building by Dec. 31, 2019. The developer will also work to provide at least 50 jobs via tenants in the facility by Dec. 31, 2019, and will make to efforts to use Fort Worth certified minorities/women business enterprise companies for at least 25 percent of the public improvement costs.
In return, city staff has proposed an ECFA for the reimbursement of 50 percent of the infrastructure costs or $1 million, whichever is less. If the developer does not have the building at least 50 percent occupied by the deadline, the city's reimbursement obligation will be reduced from $1 million to $500,000. The source of funds for this reimbursement will come from the 2007 Critical Capital Projects Fund, and the city expects to receive $1.7 million in incremental new taxes from this development over the next 10 years.
This item will come before the council for consideration on Dec. 13.
Also in its work session, the council heard a presentation on a proposed tax abatement agreement with Pure Renewables USA LLC for development of a new manufacturing facility at 1400 Intermodal Parkway.
Pure Renewables USA LLC is a new company that will process post industrial waste streams through patented processes into rejuvenated products that can be used in place of virgin materials in consumer products. Customers include Fortune 5-50 companies that make products such as wet wipes, coffee filters, bandages and more.
The company was originally committed to Port Arthur but was unable to obtain a facility large enough to meet customer commitments. It conducted a multi-state site search in Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma.
The proposal is a five-year incentive with a 35 percent tax abatement on business personal property.
The company is interested in a 20-year lease on an 807,380-square-foot LEED-certified facility on 46.09 acres that will include warehouse, corporate office and manufacturing space.
The Fort Worth facility will have eight lines of fiber with all eight recycling textile scraps into cotton and rayon yarn, rayon fiber and cotton powder.
The capital investment commitment will be $266.8 million in real and business personal property by Dec. 31, 2017. The company will also commit to creating at least 370 full-time jobs by Dec. 31, 2020, including 25 percent for Fort Worth residents and at least 15 percent for Fort Worth central city residents. Pure Renewables also plans annual spending on supplies and services of the greater of 30 percent or $300,000 with Fort Worth companies or the greater of 20 percent of $200,000 with Fort Worth minority or women business enterprise companies.
Failure to meet minimum investment will result in default. Failure to meet other commitments will result in a reduction of the corresponding incentive for that year proportional to the amount the commitment was not met, or for the duration of the abatement in the case of construction commitments.
The item could come up for a public hearing and council vote at the next meeting on Dec. 13.