Pillow Talk – Sept 2017

United States Capitol Building - Washington DC USA

Can you guess which Tarrant County city has more renters than single-family owners? Hint #1: this city also has the third-largest number of multifamily units in Tarrant County: 12,500. Hint #2: This city has the fifth largest population in Tarrant County: 54,250. Hint #3: the largest population of Tongans (more than 2,500) in the United States live in this city. Do you know the answer?

If you guessed Pecan Acres – you would be wrong! The answer is: Euless! Yes, Euless. Most Euless residents live in rental property. It is the only city in Tarrant County that is majority renters.  With 12,500 rental units, Euless has the third most units after Fort Worth and Arlington and is fifth in total population after Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland Hills, and Mansfield. Interestingly, more residents from the south Pacific, Polynesian-island Kingdom of Tonga live in Euless than any other city in American.

Next month, AATC is partnering with the cities of Euless, Hurst, Bedford, and Grapevine to host our first annual Mid-Cities Municipal Summit at Six Stones Ministries in Euless. If you own/operate property in Hurst, Euless, Bedford, or Grapevine, this event is for you. The Mid-Cities Municipal Summit will feature interactive discussions with city code, police, fire, and development officials from these cities. Be sure to contact Perry Pillow for more information.

If you live or work in Euless, be sure to contact Perry Pillow at (817) 616-0354 or email ppillow@aatcnet.org about being a part of the Euless Advocacy Team.

COWTOWN MUNI SUMMIT – If you own/operate property in Fort Worth, then mark your calendar for Thursday, September 14th and plan on attending the first annual Fort Worth Municipal Summit from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Botanical Gardens. To register, go to: https://apartmenttarranttxassoc.wliinc20.com/events/Fort-Worth-Municipal-Summit-829/details. This summit will include panel discussions on multifamily inspections, solid waste/recycling, water safety, fire prevention, and crime prevention. In addition, to the city code, fire, police and development department directors, the Fort Worth summit will include a “mock trial” featuring AATC member attorneys Jim Floyd & Victor Huhem and Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Ralph Swearingin.

CONGRESSMAN ROGER WILLIAMS – AATC president Char McCurdy, Madera, and  AATC government affairs committee chair Jim Canon, Milestone, and Executive Director John Mitchell, along with Mike Clark, Jeff Lowry, Gary Mann, and Brad Williams recently met with Congressman Roger Williams (R – TX25) to discuss variety of federal issues including tax reform national flood insurance. Also attending the meeting were TAA staff members Chris Newton, David Mintz, Sandy Hoy, and Kyle Jackson, as well as, NAA staff members Jim Wilson and Sheryl Eastman. Williams also addressed more than 675  Business Exchange attendees during lunch.

BUSINESS EXCHANGE – – The 2017 AATC-AAGD Business Exchange presented by Maintenance Supply HQ set records for: 1) owner/management companies–78; 2) supplier companies–180; 3) OM registrations–330; 4) supplier registrations—350; and, most importantly, 5) NAA PAC funds raised–$138,800! Needless-to-say, the Business Exchange was a huge success. Thanks to the attendees, Business Exchange Committee, and Maintenance Supply HQ!

VETERANS & SPECIAL NEEDS HOUSING – AATC recently met with representatives from the Community for Permanent Supportive Housing, as well as, officials from the City of Fort Worth, the Veterans Administration, Catholic Charities, Fort Worth Housing Solutions and Tarrant County Homeless Coalition to discuss ways to house Tarrant County disabled and special needs renters and homeless veterans. For veterans, the goal is to quickly house our Fort Worth’s 190 homeless veterans. One critical piece to ending veteran homelessness is to have available affordable housing. Fort Worth officials need approximately 30 landlords willing to accept a housing voucher from a veteran. In addition, they are looking for approximately 160 landlords willing to accept a veteran with short term rental assistance. If you can help end veteran homelessness by accepting a veteran, please contact Tara Perez at Tara.Perez@fortworthtexas.gov or (817) 392-2235 or and provide the apartment name, contact person and phone number. To pursuing housing disabled/special needs renters, contact Jacky Sylvie, (469) 438-8757 or email her at community@txcpsh.org

AATC vs Bedford – On August 10, after nearly a 5-month wait, the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth has issued an opinion denying the City of Bedford’s plea to the jurisdiction. In summary, the court upheld six of AATC’s jurisdictional claims, and allowed AATC to amend another claim. The City now has 15-days (August 25th) to file a motion for rehearing and/or 45-days to file an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court. If our case is appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, and, if the Texas Supreme Court were to ask for briefings, our attorney estimates we could be talking about this same jurisdictional challenge this time next year. However, if and/or when either court denies the petition or the City were to simply begin preparing for trial on the merits of our claim in district court, we’ll want to immediately consider taking similar steps.  The trial on the merits original schedule for May 2017 is stayed pending the appeal process. If you have related questions or concerns of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or (817) 616-0354 or AATC’s Executive Director, John Mitchell at jmitchell@aatcnet.org or 817-616-0352.

NOT SO SPECIAL – The 30-day Texas Legislature special session adjourned on August 15th without resolving differences between the House and Senate on a proposed property tax reform bill (SB 1). This legislation sought to address property tax rollback rates and reforms. Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) proposed lowering the property tax rollback rate (the amount taxes can go up without voter approval) for cities, counties and certain other taxing entities that have more than $45 million in tax revenue. Under the legislation, an automatic ratification election would occur if the rollback rate is exceeded; in other words, voters would be asked to approve the tax rate set. The bill also included many other provisions aimed at increasing taxpayer rights, providing more transparency and offering better accountability, including creation of specialized Appraisal Review Board panels for multifamily, industrial and commercial property valued at $50 million or more in counties with a population of 1 million or more.

The Senate did not initially concur with House changes to the bill, and on August 15, a day before the session was scheduled to end, the House adjourned for the session without naming conferees to see if a compromise could be reached. Following the House adjournment, the Senate also adjourned, with no resolution on this legislation. The biggest difference between the Senate and House versions was that the Senate version lowered the rollback rate, which is currently 8 percent, to 4 percent, while the House version was 6 percent.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information on any of AATC’s government initiatives, call Perry at 817-616-0353 or e-mail him at ppillow@aatcnet.org.