City Makes Modifications to COVID-19 Regulations for Business

City Council approved new and existing temporary regulations and activities for Southlake businesses during the October 6 City Council meeting.

The City understands that businesses have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and has suspended enforcement of sign codes, parking, landscaping and outdoor and patio activity regulations to help businesses succeed and continue to provide a safe environment for the public.

With social distancing guidelines still in place, the City allowed businesses to post tents, trailers and trucks outside to sell merchandise and offer food pickup. Regulations to provide vaccination or testing related services by medical and health professionals outside of the normal office or clinic settings were also approved.

Ratifications of new regulations to Institutions such as schools, churches and government facilities will also go into effect to allow organizations to set up temporary structures or tents in order to conduct business or activities outdoors as long as they meet all zoning, building and fire regulations.

Gyms, fitness studios or any facility that is associated with instructional classes will also be allowed to conduct sessions outside the building as long it is on the same property as the facility.

Any tenant utilizing temporary signage regulations will need approval by the owner or property management company.

All changes will be in place until January 5, 2021.

To view the lists temporary regulations click here. For questions please contact the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services Department.

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City’s new website serves as digital City Hall

The City of Fort Worth is preparing to launch a revamped website that provides a more robust digital experience for residents, businesses and other community members. The website provides updated information and improved navigation and offers online payment for multiple city services, among other features.

“Our new website provides a digital City Hall that is open for business 24-7-365,” said Michelle Gutt, director of the Communications and Public Engagement Department. “That means the Fort Worth community can access city services and information on any device, on any browser, at any time, from any place.”

The city’s web team has partnered with OpenCities, which works with governments across the globe to provide digital services. The new site debuts Oct. 19. Although the new site will be available that day, city staff will continue to transition information and services to the new platform over the coming weeks.

“We are developing this website through intentional community engagement,” Gutt said. “We are using feedback from residents to ensure our website meets their needs and expectations. The result will be a true community-centric and customer-focused website.”

Watch future City News articles to learn more about the website’s features and benefits.

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City Council Appoints New Members to City Boards and Commissions

City of Southlake Mayor Laura Hill and the City Council announced the appointment of new board and commission members during the October 6 City Council meeting.

These volunteers assist with serving the Southlake community by working alongside City staff, Council and the Mayor to help the City strategize to implement policies, review programs and meet goals.

Members were appointed to serve a term period of two years on the following boards: Community Engagement Committee, Community Enhancement Development Corporation, Crime Control & Prevention District Board, Library Board, Metroport Teen Court, Senior Advisory Commission and the Southlake Arts Council.

If you are interested in becoming a part of one our boards or commissions, please visit our Boards and Commissions webpage.

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Kroger, City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County partner for Oct. 9-10 drive-thru flu vaccinations

Kroger Health, the health care division of The Kroger Co., announced a partnership with the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County as part of a comprehensive flu shot program designed to provide recommended vaccines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kroger Health will offer drive-thru vaccinations noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10 in the Chevrolet Parking lot at Dickies Arena, 3464 Trail Drive.

“In light of the challenges we may face from both the flu virus and COVID-19 this fall, Kroger Health is proud to partner with the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to host a two-day event, offering flu shots by our certified immunizers, in the safety of the individual’s vehicle,” said Jeff Loesch, Dallas division health and wellness director for Kroger Health. “In particular, we wanted to provide an efficient way for our seniors to receive the recommended high-dose formulation of the flu shot while minimizing the risk of potential exposure in the general public.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that during an average flu season, 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu, with an average of 500,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Since March, more than 370,000 Americans have already been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19, marking the potential for a significant burden on the already taxed health care system.

“This year it is more important than ever to get a flu shot,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “As we continue to combat COVID-19, we must do everything we can to avoid a flu outbreak, and getting a flu shot is a simple way to help protect your health and the health of our communities.”

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley agreed: “With all of the attention on COVID-19, we cannot let our guard down on the upcoming flu season. It is very important that everyone get a flu shot as soon as possible. We do not want our hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 or the flu this winter.”

Kroger Health’s recent COVID-19 drive-thru test sites were able to assist thousands of people in getting tested in a short amount of time. By using that model to provide flu shots, Kroger Health will have the capacity to administer up to 1,200 vaccinations during the two-day event.

Event details

  • To receive a flu shot, individuals must make an appointment online. Online pre-visit paperwork helps reduce contact.
  • If you need assistance making an appointment, call Tarrant County Public Health at 817-248-6299.
  • Flu shots will be provided to insured and uninsured patients. Children must be six months or older.
  • Flu shots are available at no out-of-pocket cost to those with Medicare B and are also fully covered by many insurance plans. Bring identification and an insurance card.
  • For the safety of patients and the health care team, vaccinations are limited to one arm per vehicle door. Wear short sleeves.

Learn more online.

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2020 Southlake City Council Candidate Forum Goes Virtual

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the candidates for Southlake City Council at the upcoming virtual City Council Candidate Forum, hosted by the Community Engagement Committee (CEC).

The CEC is a City of Southlake Committee and a nonpartisan body dedicated to facilitating citizen engagement opportunities and communication between residents and local government, typically through SPIN Town Hall Forums.

This SPIN Town Hall Forum takes place on Monday, October 5, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It will be broadcast on the City’s cable channel (Frontier channel 34 and Spectrum digital channel 190) and online via Video on Demand. A recording of the forum will be made available within 48 hours of the end of the program.

The candidate forum is a public opportunity to familiarize residents with each of the candidates:

Place 1:

Sabreena Hakemy
Kathy Talley

Place 6

Randy Williamson
Victor Avila

Program

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this program will use a virtual format. Questions for the candidates should be submitted using this form: http://bit.ly/AskSLKCandidates2020. All questions must be submitted no later than 3:00 p.m. on October 5—no questions will be accepted during the forum. The moderator will consolidate similar items and may edit questions for clarity.

The forum will begin with each candidate providing an opening statement. Next, all candidates will have the opportunity to respond to questions submitted by the audience. Finally, all candidates will be asked to provide a closing statement.

Make sure you’re ready for either early voting, starting October 13 or election day, November 3, by checking out our voting guide. For more information about the election, visit CityofSouthlake.com/Elections.

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City Council preview: Tuesday, Sept. 22

The following information is a preview of items being discussed at City Council meetings on Sept. 22.

City Council Work Session, 8:30 a.m., Room 290 of City Hall, 200 Texas St.

  • Informal reports will discuss 2019 results for economic development incentive agreements; a bid to lease 188 golf carts for municipal golf courses; an update on the permitting process and an upcoming public meeting related to Mary’s Creek Water Reclamation Facility; and a Municipal Court update on panhandling cases.
  • Briefings will cover 2020 Reading Instruction Program results and a preview of planned improvements to the city website.
  • Councilmembers will also hear briefings on COVID-19 recovery and CARES Act funding.

City Council meeting, 10 a.m., City Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall.

  • Council will vote on the recommended fiscal year 2021 city budget and tax rate.
  • Councilmembers will vote on a resolution appointing eight members to the board of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.
  • Members will vote on a contract with the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Inc. for $1,786,370 for management of the Fort Worth Public Art Program and adopt the Public Art Annual Work Plan for fiscal year 2021.
  • The Council will vote on an economic development program agreement with Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp. for the relocation of its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth.
  • Proclamations will be presented for Indigenous Peoples’ Week, Near Southside Arts and National Preparedness Month.
  • One zoning case is on the agenda.

Visitors to the City Council meetings must undergo a temperature check and health screening upon entering City Hall, and masks or face coverings are required.

To promote social distancing, seating during the Council meeting will be extremely limited. Residents planning to make an in-person presentation should arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the meeting to allow time for screening and to ensure seating is available.

Though in-person comments will be allowed at the 10 a.m. Council meeting, residents may also comment by telephone on an agenda item or during the public presentation portion of the agenda. To sign up to speak, use the link on the agenda, call 817-392-6150 or email the City Secretary. Speakers before Council should keep in mind that state law prohibits councilmembers from engaging in dialogue with speakers during public comment periods.

Watch the meeting live on Fort Worth TV, either online, on TV or on Facebook. You can also watch the meeting via the Fort Worth TV video library.

Members of the City Council may be participating remotely in compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Council Rules of Procedure, or under the provisions provided by the governor of Texas in conjunction with the Declaration of Disaster enacted March 13, 2020.

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City Council Approves Ordinances to Amend Town Square Signage and Storefront Designs

Businesses in Town Square can now have an individualized look thanks to recent ordinances passed by City Council over the summer.

The modifications to the ordinances allow for greater flexibility for the provision of signage, administrative approval of storefront façade designs, and relieves some restrictions on the use of branding colors.

Town Square has always played a pivotal role in Southlake by serving as the heart of the community with retail, office and hotels which is highly critical for the community economically in terms of attracting visitors and other business opportunities.

The City has made recent modifications to the Town Square sign ordinance and Downtown “DT” zoning ordinance to create flexibility and efficiency in the provision of signage, store front designs and lighting with the intent to create an ordinance that streamlined the review and approval process.

The modifications to the ordinances will increase the variety and diversity in signage types to address new trends in retail while remaining complementary to building designs, the urban pedestrian-oriented environment and further placemaking efforts that may occur in the near future.

For more information on this ordinance, please contact the City of Southlake Planning and Development Services.

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How the City of Southlake Manages Debt

To help pay for a community’s essential services or build facilities for your enjoyment, cities sometimes borrow money.

Just like you might take out a loan to pay for your home, the City of Southlake might accrue debt for capital projects. Issuing bonds allows the City to spread the cost over several years.

However, we never borrow money to pay for daily operations. Over the past several years, the City has opted to pay cash for projects and limited its use of property-tax supported bonds. Some projects are paid for with special funding approved by voters for a specific purpose.

Property taxes are used to pay off City debt for things like roads and sidewalks. The total debt fluctuates depending on projects funded during the year and payments. Since 2010, the City of Southlake has reduced its tax-supported debt by 69%. The remaining property tax debt obligations will be paid off in less than 10 years.

“Many years ago, we made the decision to reduce property tax supported debt,” said CFO Sharen Jackson. “We’ve worked our plan by using cash for projects, refinancing when market conditions were favorable and amortizing the debt over short periods of time. This has allowed us to reduce the tax rate dedicated to debt, even while we are planning for future infrastructure investments.”

Conservatively managing the amount of bonds issued prepares the City to handle projects that might require bonds in the future, like a new library, an open space acquisition program, updating infrastructure or other large capital projects.

Through using debt responsibly and our excellent financial management, the City has a AAA rating from both Fitch and S&P.

More information about how we manage debt and a deep dive into how to review the current status of the City’s outstanding bonds is available on our website.

Learn more about the City of Southlake’s financial plan for FY 2021 by reviewing the proposed budget.

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City of Southlake Receives Positive Notice on One WNV Mosquito Trap

The City of Southlake has received notice from Tarrant County Public Health that one mosquito trap in Southlake have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Southlake residents should take precautions against a disease spread by mosquitoes, West Nile Virus. The positive sample is located near the 3200 block of Woodland Drive. Fire Chief Mike Starr says, “We will continue to implement our aggressive mosquito testing plan to help control the mosquito population. Southlake residents are our partners in this effort and we encourage the public’s continued help in the fight to reduce West Nile Virus.”

“Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not become sick. Some may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or rash. In some cases, West Nile may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain,” said Amanda Meneses, City of Southlake Emergency Manager. “Individuals with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible.”  People at risk include people over 50 years of age, those with compromised immune systems, or those people with diabetes and high blood pressure. Symptoms may include fever above 100 degrees and a severe headache, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, shaking, paralysis, or rash. It is important that you contact your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

The City will respond with targeted spraying for three consecutive nights within a half-mile radius of the positive trap location.  Spraying dates are set Saturday September 5th, Sunday September 6th and Monday September 7th, during the evening hours, weather permitting.  Emergency Manager Meneses asks residents to remember to continue taking personal protective measures including:

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can be a breeding ground for biting mosquitoes, such as flooded fields, watering troughs, birdbaths, wading pools, clogged gutters and old tires. If it holds water for 7 days, it can produce mosquitoes.
  • Stock water troughs and ornamental ponds with mosquito fish.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas.
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535 or Picaridin, making sure to follow the directions on the container.
  • Make sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

Please review the fact sheet located in the link for more information on West Nile Virus, signs and symptoms, and how you can protect yourself. Reducing the mosquito population is key, please dump any standing water on your property, refrain from overwatering your lawns, and clean out any areas that collect water or remain damp.

For more information about the West Nile Virus, personal protective measures, or response actions, please visit CityofSouthlake.com or MySouthlakeNews.com. And as always, if you have any mosquito concerns, please reach out to our Emergency Manager Amanda Meneses at ameneses@ci.southlake.tx.us

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City prepares to launch second round of Preserve the Fort business grants

Earlier this summer, the City of Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County launched the Preserve the Fort small business grant program as a way to distribute CARES Act funding to small businesses across the city who had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first round of the program was extremely successful, providing $6.2 million to 842 businesses distributed across every district in Fort Worth. The city’s minority-owned businesses and businesses located in the city’s targeted neighborhoods received a combined $4.1 million. Of the companies who applied, 95% were businesses with 25 employees or fewer.

However, economic fallout from the pandemic has continued. As a result, the city is gearing up to launch a second round of Preserve the Fort business grants with the almost $9 million left in its business-related CARES Act allocation.

Applications are expected to open in early September, although the exact date has not been finalized. More information about the second round of funding is being posted on the city’s Preserve the Fort webpage as it becomes available.

There are several key differences between the first round of Preserve the Fort grants and this round, both in the types of businesses targeted for assistance by the city and in the documentation that applicants must submit to be considered for a grant.

  • Funding criteria has expanded to include nonprofits businesses (including local performance art venues) and slightly larger businesses with up to 500 employees, in addition to smaller for-profit businesses and self-employed individuals/independent contractors.

  • Bars and music venues that were forced to close as of June 26 are eligible for a grant up to three times their lost average monthly revenue before the COVID-19 disaster declaration of March 13. This award will be capped at $100,000.

  • Business owners will be expected to submit up to seven documents – including a 2019 Federal Tax Return, their Profit & Loss (P&L) statement for 2019, their Profit & Loss Statement for 2020 with data broken down by month, and a Proof of Employment Q1 2020 941 – as part of their application. These documents not only help ensure that the City of Fort Worth is distributing these taxpayer-funded CARES Act dollars appropriately and responsibly, they also keep the city accountable to the federal government for all distributed funds.

A complete list of eligibility information and required documents, for both businesses and nonprofits, is currently available on the Preserve the Fort webpage.

“It’s critical that we continue to support our residents and businesses throughout the pandemic,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “By supporting our small businesses, including bars and performing art nonprofits, we can all work to ensure that Fort Worth recovers faster and stronger.”

“While we had many successes with the first round of Preserve the Fort, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Robert Sturns, the city’s economic development director. “In addition to our small business owners, several of the industries for which Fort Worth is known – our bars and restaurants, our arts scene, our music venues, and others – are all still struggling. This second round of funding will hopefully help offset some of the damage from the past few months.”

“United Way of Tarrant County is pleased to partner again with the City of Fort Worth on the Preserve the Fort small business grant program,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “The initial round of funding provided a much-needed lifeline to more than 800 small businesses, and yet we continue to see economic devastation, especially among small business owners, as a result of COVID-19. The distribution of the next round of funds will support even more locally owned companies in Fort Worth and help them avoid layoffs or keep from going out of business.”

Document assistance and application help.

One of the major challenges identified during the first round of Preserve the Fort funding was how many businesses struggled to produce some of the legal documents that were required for the application. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the first time that many businesses have had to apply for financial assistance, and it can be very overwhelming.

By working with volunteers and leveraging its partnerships, the City of Fort Worth is doing more during this second round of Preserve the Fort to provide business owners with assistance preparing their documentation, and guidance about the application process.

Spearheaded by Fort Worth Now, a team of volunteers will be on standby to help meet business owners’ needs. Business owners will be able to select an appointment time that’s convenient for them, and will receive a 30-minute phone call from the volunteer at the appointed time to discuss whatever they need help with – whether it’s explaining documentation requirements, providing direction on the application itself, or assisting with the creation of profit & loss statements.

A complete schedule of appointment times will be posted on the Preserve the Fort webpage once it becomes available.

Also, as with the previous round of funding, any printable Preserve the Fort support materials – like lists of Frequently Asked Questions, or PowerPoint slides that walk businesses through the application process step-by-step – will be available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Also, as with the previous round of funding, any printable Preserve the Fort support materials – like lists of Frequently Asked Questions, or PowerPoint slides that walk businesses through the application process step-by-step – will be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Important notes

  • Businesses who have already received a Preserve the Fort grant earlier this summer are still eligible to receive another one during this second round of funding. However, the amount that they received from the first round will be subtracted from their final amount. Ex. A bar that received $5,000 from a previous Preserve the Fort grant earlier this summer might be eligible for $30,000 for this second round of funding. They would receive $25,000 during the second round, because their earlier grant would make up the remaining difference.

  • Businesses that received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are still eligible for this grant.

  • Credit scores and existing debt will not be taken into account before the funds are awarded.

  • Businesses and nonprofits who receive Preserve the Fort grants will be expected to keep track of how their grant money is spent, and may be called upon to produce these documents in the event of a financial audit.

  • Business owners are encouraged to keep an eye on FortWorthTexas.gov/preserve-the-fort in coming days, or follow the city’s Economic Development Facebook page, to learn when applications will open.

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