Memo from the MANAGER

It can wait


   We've all seen them on the street. The car that's weaving in and out of

Gary 2013

 lanes, because the driver is updating their Facebook status, or laughing at a particularly funny meme. Or, perhaps, its the SUV going 30 mph slower than everyone else on LBJ because they're trying to type with their thumbs while steering at the same time.  

   I thought the issue of distracted driving was worth revisiting this week as the grace period on our new ordinance has worn off and anyone now observed to be using a handheld device behind the wheel is subject to a traffic stop which could result in a ticket and associated fine.

   We were asked the other day at the Town Hall Meeting, how many tickets have been written so far. The answer is that it's early in the process and therefore, none have been written as yet.

   However, Farmers Branch Police Chief Sid Fuller, besides being a great guy is also a wise man. He has told us all several times that the aim of this ordinance shouldn't be to write a lot of tickets, but to change behaviors and, hopefully, keep drivers from making mistakes that can carry terrible consequences for themselves and for others.

   Maybe with encouragement, continued public education and local laws like ours, those behaviors will change. But, it will be a slow process.

   Most of all, please help us spread the word that using a handheld device while driving in Farmers Branch is against the law. So, it's really plain and simple - don't do it.


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Featured STORIES
Branch Values
Overall property values jump more than 9 percent, says DCAD


DALLAS ~ Farmers Branch property values are on the way up.
   According to certified property values, released today by the Dallas Central Appraisal District, certified taxable values in Farmers Branch, for the 2014 tax year, stood at $4.2 billion, up 9.6 percent over 2013, which saw a 4.26 percent overall increase.
   Farmers Branch City Manager Gary D. Greer said the news is indicative of this extraordinary period of growth for the City.
   "Between constant economic development advances and our influx of varying types of residential development, from many multi-family installations to new construction in established neighborhoods, this is a growth period in Farmers Branch like no other," he explained. "The continuing increase in property values just verifies that things are good and getting better."
   Commercial values are up 11.8% while Business Personal Property is up 9.3%. Residential property values went up 4.7%. Residential new construction value is included at $9.8 million and commercial new construction is included at $39.7 million. All changes are calculated against last year's certified roll.


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Citations may apply
Grace period over, distracted driving ordinance now turns to enforcement


FARMERS BRANCH ~ With the grace period for public education now ended, the Farmers Branch Police Department will be on the lookout for distracted drivers who could wind up with a citation.

   Earlier this year, the Farmers Branch City Council took action to help safeguard motorists and pedestrians from the danger created by distracted drivers by limiting use of a handheld wireless communication device while driving.

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   The new ordinance prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from using a handheld wireless communication device to send, receive or read text-based messages while driving. This includes reading, writing or sending email, posting or reading communications or messages on social media, use of the internet, or the use of any smart phone application except GPS navigation with voice activated directions.

   Farmers Branch Police Chief Sid Fuller said the ordinance will not solve the problem of "texting and driving" but is a step towards changing habits.

    "The goal is to combine this ordinance with an education program to modify driver behavior in Farmers Branch and create awareness of the dangers of texting while driving," he explained.


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Fire Department plans public meeting on Station No. 2 plans

FARMERS BRANCH ~ Updating a very busy schedule in the coming month, Farmers Branch Fire Chief Steve Parker has announced a public meeting on the relocation of Fire Station No. 2, to be held Wednesday, August 6 at 6 p.m. at the Farmers Branch Municipal Court.

   The meeting is planned to share information in advance of the City's planned purchase of the undeveloped land known as "Holiday Park" from the Dallas County Community College District, for the relocation of Fire Station No. 2 and dedication as a City park.

   Chief Parker will brief the public on the Station No. 2 relocation study, the proposed time frame regarding the land purchase and the master site plan that will be developed in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department.

   Farmers Branch Municipal Court is located on the northwest side of the Farmers Branch Justice Center at 3723 Valley View Lane.


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Low chlorine levels require water main flush on west side

FARMERS BRANCH ~ In an effort to maintain chlorine residuals and provide safe drinking water on the west side of Farmers Branch, the Public Works Department has been flushing water mains in the area of Mira Lago Boulevard, off of Luna Road, south of LBJ, for the past four months.
   Public Works officials explained that flushing water mains is standard practice in many cities across the state when chlorine residuals in the water begin to decline, opening the door for possible bacterial growth.
   City Engineer Marc Bentley said the process began after routine testing revealed declining chlorine levels in the water mains. He explained, "The best way to maintain chlorine residuals, and avoid a potential health and safety issue, is to keep the water moving."
   Although development is on the horizon, the infrastructure in the area, for now, sees relatively little use. Mr. Bentley said the City of Farmers Branch is employing a consultant to study the issue and report on options that would keep chlorine residuals up, but allow the City to curtail flushing of the water mains.
   He added the amount of water flushed so far in the operation is a fraction of the potable water used by the City on a monthly basis.


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Construction CAM
Aquatics Center construction update
Updated: July 23, 2014 

FARMERS BRANCH ~ Construction continues throughout the summer on the new Aquatics Center to be located next to the Community Recreation Center on Heartside Place, near Valwood Parkway.
2014 Swim Season Options
2014 Swim Season Options

   The year-round, indoor section of the new complex is expected to be open next winter with the outdoor portion ready for the summer, 2015 swim season.

  In the meantime, Farmers Branch residents can still get season passes, at 2013 Farmers Branch prices, for the Carrollton Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatics Facility. Call 972.247.4607 for more information, or check out this video.



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Volume 4 | Edition 30 | Number 179   
Branch Bulletin
is published weekly by the  Communications Office
of the City of Farmers Branch, TX.
Three-time Award Winner for
Excellence in E-Newsletters in Texas
Awarded by the
Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers

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Bright sunshine
  After an unseasonably mild summer thus far, the season seems to have turned harsh with temperatures flirting with or exceeding the century mark through the latter part of July, heading into the "dog days" of August.

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Big Band performance
   Under the direction of Keith Umbach, students from the Brookhaven College music department will perform at the Farmers Branch Manske Library on Wednesday, August 6 at 7 p.m.
   With Brookhaven since 2000, faculty member Keith Umbach is currently the director of the jazz big band and the director of the digital music program. In addition to his director roles, Mr. Umbach is the applied percussion instructor as well.
   This performance is free and open to the public. For more information call the Library at 972.247.2511.
Charity Car Wash
   The Farmers Branch Fire Department will hold a charity car wash for "Little Johnny" on Saturday, August 2, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Walmart Neighborhood Market at the corner of Josey Lane and Valley View. "Little Johnny" is a Farmers Branch resident in a fragile state of health and his mother's wheelchair van is no longer operational. Firefighters, who have made numerous medical calls to the residence over the years, are trying to raise money for a new van for the family.
Tell it to the Mayor
   Farmers Branch Mayor Bob Phelps will be available for open office hours on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, 3 to 6 p.m., at Farmers Branch City Hall, beginning in August. Anyone is welcome to come by, without an appointment, to chat with Mayor Phelps on any topic. Call 972.919.2515 for more info.
Citizen Police Academy
   The Farmers Branch Police Department is gearing up for the Fall session of its Citizen Police Academy. The 30-hour block of instruction is broken into classes over 10 weeks designed to give adults a working knowledge of Farmers Branch Police Department policies, personnel and procedures. Enrollment is free. Call 972.406.0184.
FBHP Volunteers
   The Farmers Branch Historical Park is seeking volunteers to assist with school tours, special events and projects. No experience with museum work is necessary. Two training sessions for prospective and veteran volunteers is set for Thursdays, July 31 and August 7, 6:30 p.m. at the Historical Park. For more information, call or email Museum Educator Danielle Brissette at 972.919.8731.
Vintage Base Ball
   The Farmers Branch Mustangs Vintage Base Ball Club is seeking new players to engage in the great game as it was played by 1860s rules - no glove, no ungentlemanly conduct, no stealing of bases and more. Residents are encouraged to come and play ball with the Mustangs or join the Mustang's Fan Club. No sports experience necessary. Upcoming open practices are from 6 until 8 p.m. on August 12 and September 16 at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. Call 972.919.8731.
Teen Camp Video Blog
Teen Camp Video Blog
"Don't Text & Drive"
Pool's Closed!
"Pool's Closed!"
Farmers Branch
"Above & Beyond" 
John F. Burke Nature Preserve: An Overview
"John F. Burke Nature Preserve: An Overview"
"Farmers Branch Connections"

LBJ Express
Check the latest weekly report on the five-year reconstruction of Interstate 635 that includes:

Check the latest information on the 28-mile, $1.4 billion reconstruction of Interstate 35E from LBJ, through Farmers Branch, to U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County.

About the City of Farmers Branch Farmers Branch Logo
An historic community in the geographic center of the DFW Metroplex, Farmers Branch boasts a residential population of 28,800 and a daytime employment population of 66,000. Located on the northwest border of the City of Dallas, the City's 27 parks and lush greenbelts feature nationally-acclaimed, award-winning soccer fields, football facilities as well as baseball and softball complexes. The city's location in the center of the Metroplex and only 15 minutes away from both DFW Airport and Love Field, along with the 2,200 hotel rooms within the city, make Farmers Branch an ideal location for residents and for business. For more information on the City of Farmers Branch, visit or call 972.247.3131.
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