DESOTO ENACTS WATER BILL RELIEF TO RESIDENTS IMPACTED BY WINTER STORM
At the Tuesday March 2, City Council meeting, Council approved a Resolution authorizing the City Manager to provide a Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit to all City of DeSoto water and sewer utility bills. The purpose of the program is to support residents and businesses from unexpected high water charges due to increased water consumption during Texas’ Winter Storm.
During its February 23, City Council voted to unanimously to approve a resolution to waive all storm damage-related permit fees for home and business property repairs related to the winter storm. This includes waiving the standard fees for building inspections and fees associated with repairing damage caused by the weather. This relief is being provided through the end of April 2021.
The Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit will cap the amount of water and sewer usage in February 2021 at whatever the water and sewer usage was for the month of January 2021. For the billing period covering the week of the winter storm, residents and businesses will be protected from receiving an unusually high bill. This is a one-time credit to be applied for customer bills covering the week of February 14 through February 20. The best part of the Winter Water Preservation Credit is that DeSoto customers do not need to do anything to receive this credit. DeSoto water bills will be automatically adjusted and the credit will be applied to bills received during the month of March.
Commercial accounts are expected to be approximately 27% lower and residential accounts are expected to be approximately 10% lower due to the Winter Water Infrastructure Preservation Credit (when compared to what the bill would have been without the credit).
DESOTO CITY COUNCIL WINTER RETREAT RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 13
The City Council Winter Retreat has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 13.
Details of the Winter Retreat and agenda are still the same. This year’s retreat will be held virtually and will focus on Business plan updates, reviewing the City’s approved 5-year Strategic Plan, and four additional educational/review topics in the afternoon.
Council and staff will spend the largest bulk of time reviewing the Strategic Plan for the purpose of ensuring that the plan is in alignment with the Council’s priority projects. This will be Council’s opportunity to request and discuss changing the plan, adding items, removing items, etc. Because it is a virtual meeting, Business Plan and Strategic Plan information was provided to City Council ahead of the Winter Retreat. Guest speakers have been invited to present and provide educational information on Trends in Residential Development, Utility Regulations & Rate Setting, and the CDBG Process. Virtual viewing information will be provided to residents in the coming weeks.
DESOTO EMERGENCY RENTAL & UTILITY BILLING ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE NOW
The City of DeSoto, in partnership with The MINT Foundation, is offering residents financially impacted by COVID-19 two temporary relief programs: the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (TERAP) and the Utility Assistance Program. Both programs provide up to six months of financial assistance. Applications will be accepted online and in-person at The MINT Foundation, 1604 Falcon Drive.
Residents who would like assistance with submitting documentation, navigating Zoom Grants or questions about income eligibility, can make an appointment to work with a dedicated Case Manager at The MINT Foundation
The City of DeSoto received $150,000 in CDBG-CV funding from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to operate TERAP and $249,000 in CDBG-CV funding from HUD for the Utility Billing Assistance Program. In order to assist residents who are behind on water accounts, staff coordinated with the City’s Utility Billing contractor, Dataprose, to mail notifications of the Utility Assistance program to 2,046 residents in Desoto with delinquent water utility accounts.
Residents interested in applying to either program will need to apply directly through The MINT Foundation by calling (972) 224-7200 or APPLY AT: https://www.zoomgrants.com/gprop2.asp?donorid=2367&rfpid=3370
ROUND 2 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT NOW OPEN
It is time for the second round Neighborhood Matching Grant Application submittal process to begin. This round of the grant program should be used for beautification projects and neighborhood revitalization projects sponsored by the HOAs. This year, $20,406.25 of funding is available for the matching grant program. The application process opened Monday, March 1, and the deadline to submit the application for Round Two to the City of DeSoto is Wednesday, March 31 by 5:00 PM. The Spring 2021 Program Guidelines and Spring 2021 Grant Applications are available on the City of DeSoto website under the “My Neighborhood” tab.
Since the grants are awarded and not guaranteed as in the first round, a committee of up to 7 individuals who are members of active HOAs not participating in the second round will be selected at a later date to make recommendations to the City Council to approve the disbursement of funds. Approved grants will be awarded in May 2021.
Contact Becky Lewis in the City Manager’s Office at (972) 230-9643 for more information.
• Landscaping Projects
• Cooperative Neighborhood Work
• Seasonal Decorations
• Creative Neighborhood Beautification Projects
• Safety-related Equipment
COVID-19 RESPONSE AND VACCINATION PLAN
Ellis Davis Fieldhouse and the State COVID testing site at Meadow Park have resumed normal operations after the winter storm. Ellis Davis hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday. Meadow Creek is open 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM Sunday through Friday. As of this week, there have been a total of 5,653 COVID-19 cases reported in DeSoto during the span of the pandemic affecting 3,359 residents.
On Thursday, March 4 and Friday, March 5, Texas Army Medics and Fire Rescue Medics conducted COVID vaccinations for homebound residents in partnership with the Visiting Nurses Association (Meals on Wheels). DeSoto was chosen by the Texas Department of Emergency Management as the beta test site for this program that will be offered State-wide.
DESOTO ECONOMIC RECOVERY ADVISORY TASK FORCE
DeSoto’s Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force Senior Broadcast outreach team devoted its 30-minute Thursday morning segment to discussing DeSoto’s two significant winter storm initiatives, the Winter Water Infrastructure Credit Program and building permit fee waivers.
Communications Manager, Matt Smith, joined Assistant Director of Public Utilities, Tonya Warren and Building Official, Brian Hunt to discuss both programs. Click https://www.facebook.com/desototx/vide os/193514752526405/ to watch.
PARKS FILM CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The Parks and Recreations Department would like to thank DeSoto for your support during the 2021 commemoration of Black History. Your support during the entire month was a great success! Take a look at the wrap-up video.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qpiku3p67 gbznkh/Celebrating%20BHM%20Thank %20You.mp4?dl=0
MENTAL HEALTH & BAN THE BOX TOWN HALLS
The City of DeSoto will host a panel discussion on the mental health services in our area on Monday, March 8 at 6:30 pm. Representatives from Parkland Hospital, the DeSoto Police C.A.R.E. Team, and Dallas Behavioral Health will be in attendance. This meeting can also be viewed on the City’s website, Spectrum cable channel 16, Uverse channel 99 and Facebook
Live @desototx. For additional info call (972) 230.9680. Follow this link to join the Zoom meeting:
Or US: +1 346 248 7799
Webinar ID: 824 4636 1078
At the February 2 Work Session, City Council discussed a policy related to questions on initial job applications regarding an applicant’s criminal history. Council then requested staff to move forward with further discussions with the public.
The City of DeSoto will host a Town Hall on March 11, at 7:00 pm to discuss the implications of implementing Ban the Box policies.
To join the virtual town hall:
Or US: +1 346 248 7799
Webinar ID: 838 3240 9474
WEEKLY EVENTS & MEETINGS
March 8 Town Hall Meeting on Mental Health Resources (Virtual) 6:30-8 pm
March 9 Planning & Zoning Meeting (Virtual) 7:00 – 8 8m
March 11 DeSoto District 5 Public Meeting (Victual) & Ban the Box Meeting 7:00 – 8: pm
March 13 – City Council Winter Retreat (Virtual) 9:00 am – 5 pm
March 15 – Topical Work Session City Council Meeting (Virtual) 6:00 pm – ?
March 16 – City Council Meeting (Virtual) 5:00 pm.