Engage D2: August 16 [ YOU SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION ]

Council meets Tuesday, August 18 for a work session and a regular session:

You can CLICK HERE to access the agenda.  The work session begins at 1:00PM and the regular council session is scheduled to begin at 6:30 in council chambers.

THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE
I would like to call your attention this week to one specific consent agenda item:CLICK HERE TO ACCESS AGENDA ITEM# ID 15-744.  On the surface this appears to be a new ordinance related to planning and development fees associated with gas well drilling and production within the City of Denton.  Pay particular attention to the fee schedule.  Some of you may get excited and encouraged at the way that fees drastically ramp up (by a factor of 10 in many areas) starting on February 15, 2016.  Oh and they do ramp up.  But what you probably don’t realize is that they are ramping back up (yes, you read correct, back up) to where they basically sit right now according to ordinance 2013-248.  Look for yourself: CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LOOK AT ORDINANCE 2013-248.  WE ARE ABOUT TO REDUCE OUR FEES BY 90% FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS!!!

If we vote “yes” on this staff recommendation (and my bet is that left unchecked council will vote “yes” since this is currently on the table as a consent item meaning that council doesn’t have to have a public discussion on it before voting and the item get’s bundled with a whole host of other consent agenda items) then we are effectively stating to the anyone and everyone seeking to drill in Denton that the deep discount window is now open for the next 6 months… come and get it boys!!!  

I  have asked for clarification from legal and staff.  So far there is no reasonable straight forward explanation.  Just convoluted and flimsy logic about this being to the City’s strategic advantage.  Here is my opinion.  Strategy is an overused word.  Typically a word used by those who have no idea what they are doing, or by those who are trying to buy time or offer a distraction.  I could not be more beside myself right now if I tried.  I am not buying it.  Neither should you.

SO HERE IS WHAT WE CAN DO
You may think that the issue at hand is gas well drilling.  You may be thinking that this is a tired topic that we need to get over.  But the topic is shenanigans… B.S… a lack of transparency.  The topic is bad government.

I will be making a motion in the work session that day to have this item removed from the consent agenda and placed on the regular session agenda for public discussion prior to voting.  If I am successful in this effort staff and legal will be asked to explain this proposed ordinance and citizens will have the opportunity to step up and express their support or dissatisfaction with the proposed ordinance.  If this proposed ordinance makes you as crazy as it makes me then I would ask you to show up and be heard on Tuesday.  Email the rest of your City Council.  Email the city secretary Jennifer Walters and request that this consent item S ID 15-744 on Tuesday’s agenda be pulled out and put up for public discussion and vote.  That is your right as a citizen.  Let those in charge know that you are paying attention.   

LET’S MOVE ON TO OTHER TOPICS…

SALES TAX REVENUES CONTINUE TO RISE
This week Assistant City Manager Bryan Langley informed council that the Texas Comptroller’s Office notified the City of Denton that our June 2015 sales tax collections (9th month of FY 2014-15) are $2,843,453, which is $211,496 or 8.04% more than what we received in June 2014.  Compared to budget, the June collections are $259,636, or 10.05%, more than what we were budgeting.  Year-to-date, sales tax collections are now $2,070,592, or 10.18% more than last year, and $1,687,626, or 8.14% more than budget. The sales tax collections are obviously very positive, and they are in line with staff projections provided in the current budgeting process.

SPEAKING OF BUDGETS…

Public Hearings on Proposed Tax Rate and Budget Scheduled

DENTON, TX, Aug. 12, 2015 – On Tuesday, August 11, the Denton City Council adopted a resolution calling for three budget-related public hearings before adoption of the final FY 2015-16 budget on Sept. 15.  Residents will have an opportunity to provide open comment regarding the proposed tax rate at public hearings on both Aug. 18 and Sept. 1. On Sept. 1, the Council will also hold a public hearing regarding the proposed budget. The final budget is scheduled for adoption on Sept. 15.  All meetings are held at City Hall in the City Council Chamber, 215 E. McKinney at 6:30 p.m.  Interested citizens are encouraged to attend the public hearings and City Council meetings and express their views. 

AND HERE IS A BUDGET FUN FACT…
We pay $3.4 million a year in salary and “other compensation” to our City Manager, four Assistant City Managers, and 16 department heads.  This figure does not cover insurance and benefits.  A 3% increase is on the table for the upcoming budget.  12 of these 21 city leaders live in Denton. City administration costs a lot of money.  I guess we are lucky that those sales tax revenues are up.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
DISTRICT 2 COMMUNITY CONVERSATION
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
NORTH BRANCH LIBRARY 2:00-4:00 PM

This will be the first in a series of open forums for District 2 citizens.  These conversations will be held at the wonderful North Branch Library here in District 2.  I would like to encourage you and your family (bring the kids) to attend.  It is a great opportunity to express your ideas, communicate your concerns, and to discuss the direction of the city with me and your fellow citizens.  Citizen engagement is a cornerstone issue for me.  I will remind you as we get closer to this date and provide some items and themes for the conversation just to get the ball rolling.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas.  I am here for you District 2.  

Your humble representative,

Keely G. Briggs

Council Member – District 2
215 E. McKinney Street
Denton, TX 76201
Phone: (940) 453-8377
Email:  keely.briggs@cityofdenton.com
Email:  briggsfordenton@gmail.com
Web:  briggsfordenton.org

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