The Work on Council Begins Now
It is my honor and privilege to have been sworn in on May 14th as City Council Member for Denton’s District 3. I thank each and every one of you reading this for helping to make my home town of Denton such a wonderful community to serve. There are many important decisions ahead for Denton, and many voices that must be heard. In just the next 6 months, I expect that the City Council will consider two very important issues that will particularly impact southwest Denton and Robson Ranch.
At the top of the list is a proposed $190 million bond package that may be on the November ballot. I am firmly committed to maintaining Denton’s low tax rate, and only taking on new debt for critical projects. City staff proposed issuing these bond before I was elected to the Council. But, just this last week, I nominated two good folks to serve on the Special Citizens Bond Advisory Committee, alongside two people nominated by former Council Member Don Duff.
The committee’s purpose is to vet the ideas proposed by City staff for feasibility, fiscal responsibility, and priority. The current proposal includes many necessary public safety and infrastructure improvements, such as expanding police headquarters at City Hall East, building a police substation near Fire Station #7, widening several busy roads, and making crucial repairs to several others. Additional funding is expected to come from state, regional, and county sources. If the committee’s report ultimately sticks to these kinds of necessities, I will be happy to recommend the bond package to you this Fall.
Additionally, by the time you are reading this the Texas Legislature will have voted to give Denton the ability to form the Municipal Management Districts (MMDs) requested by the Hunter and Cole Ranch developers. However, the choice of whether or not we create these special taxing districts is still ours. You may remember from newspaper articles that the developers want these districts to be able to levy additional taxes (just on the people who will live in the new developments), to help pay for building out the “regional” roads and utility infrastructure.
To a certain extent, it is natural to expect new residents to pay for the rapid expansion of public services that will benefit them the most. After all, it’s better than expecting the City’s operating budget to subsidize it all. But no tax increase should ever be taken lightly—even if it’s an increase on homes that aren’t built yet and people we haven’t met. We owe it to our future citizens to thoughtfully consider all our options. The benefits of the Hunter and Cole Ranch developments may be great, and will include new retail opportunities closer to Robson Ranch and southwestern Denton. I will only vote to allow the MMDs if I am fully satisfied that they are the best choice for Denton’s future.