The Midlothian City Council and Midlothian ISD School Board met to discuss issues and receive updates from each other Monday at the Midlothian Conference Center.
City Manager Don Hastings addressed the issue of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) lack of progress on the Farm-to-Market 1387 realignment, saying TxDOT is further behind the ball than the city would like. The school board members asked about access to the school if construction was ongoing.
“As of today TxDOT has no set start date, but they said no matter what you will have access to the school,” Public Works Director Adam Mergener said.
Director of Construction Projects David Boswell said TxDOT had assured both the city and district that despite the late start, the project would be finished by the agreed end date.
MISD Superintendent Dr. Jerome Stewart took a moment to say that Midlothian Heritage High School is ahead of schedule for Phase 1 and under budget. The school will open in 2014 with 600 freshman and is projected to grow over the next four years into a full, 2,500 student high school.
The city presented a growth forecast analyzing the number of housing permits and upcoming or recent housing developments. GIS Planner Marcos Narvaez showed that since 2009 the city’s population has increased 50 percent and projected a 71 percent increase, 255-260 homes, total for 2013.
Planning Manager Alberto Mares showed where 14 new developments and four other pending developments are located in the city. In addition to residential developments, Mares pointed out nine business or industry developments.
School Board Trustee Duke Burge asked if the city captured housing permits within the extra-territorial jurisdiction. He suggested that the school district could help track those numbers as they are collected as part of the district’s demographic studies.
“You’ve done a great job of protecting the district. There have been a lot of things you could have done to get rooftops on the ground, which would have hurt the district,” Burge said.
Mayor Bill Houston said that he recognized the school district as the biggest draw for new residents in Midlothian and is it important for the city and district to work together to help each other.
The two entities discussed the new liquid natural gas company, Applied Natural Gas Fuels, which is relocating its headquarters and operations to Midlothian. Hastings said the company has an excellent safety record and suggested that both the district and city look into the cost-efficiency of using LNG fuel for its vehicles.
The city council brought up the A.H. Meadows Library hours and suggested a joint marketing effort from the city and district to make residents aware that Meadows is a dual high school and public library.
Midlothian Fire Chief David Schrodt took a moment to announce that the fire and police departments will step up enforcement of fire lanes, especially at school or city events.
“For much of my career here, we have not aggressively enforced the fire lanes. Now it has reached the point where we have no option but to step up enforcement,” Schrodt said. “We won’t just be writing tickets, we will be towing vehicles too. So far the school district has done a good job of getting the word out.”
During their closing comments, both entities agreed that their partnership and working relationship was on good terms and greatly beneficial to both sides.
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