Engage D2: November 8, 2015 (Please Share Your Thoughts with Me)

Please Share Your Thoughts with Me
Your City Council will be hard at work on Tuesday.  We start with a work session (open and closed sessions) at 2:00PM followed by a regular council meeting, which begins at 6:30PM in City Council Chambers.  I encourage you to check out our agenda here: http://legistar2.granicus.com/denton-tx/meetings/2015/11/1027_A_City_Council_15-11-10_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

There are three specific topics I would like to have your input on.  I have been hearing from quite a few District 2 citizens over the past few weeks on each of these topics.  While I have been transparent in sharing my views with citizens and stakeholders on these topics I do not want to ever forget that I represent you.  I would like to hear from even more of you on these topics.  All of my contact information is provided in the closing of this post.

INPUT: RENEWABLE DENTON Denton Municipal Electric held two open houses and has published their citizen survey (I will not link the survey results directly because the city has opted to included every responding citizen’s name and address). Some citizens have told me that they were unclear that the current Renewable Denton plan requires us to build two natural gas fueled power plants which will be sited within our city (these two plants are marketed as the Denton Energy Center).  One plant will be near the Denton Municipal Airport and the other will be located here in District 2 somewhere in northeast Denton.  Some other citizens have expressed concern with what they believe is a biased survey.  While achieving 70% renewable energy would be commendable, the building of two natural gas power plants could actually further degrade our local air quality (which is among the worst in the North Central Texas area; which is graded as an “F” by the American Lung Association).  Further clarification reveals that these “quick start” plants would be subject to running not only when and if necessary to backfill demand not met by our renewable resources, but whenever ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) requests additional production or possibly whenever market rates make it advantageous for DME to run the plants and sell excess energy on the open market (as learned in the October District  2 Conversation).  There are pros and cons to the Renewable Denton plan as it stands today.  What is your opinion on this?  Is this an opportunity you want your city to invest in?  What concerns do you have?  What questions do you want answered?

INPUT: HOTEL and CONVENTION CENTER  We are slated to vote Tuesday night on weather to provide an incentive package for a Hotel and Convention Center development at Rayzor Ranch. This was a controversial deal last year when the development was going to be near UNT and would require public debt.  We are now looking at a different type of package worth an estimated $35-$40 million over 25 years in tax rebates.  I understand the argument that this is an investment and that we are being told that this project’s positive impact is supposed to outweigh the lost taxes.  But will it?  $40 million is a lot of money and 25 years is a long time.  How will this hotel and convention center hold up and produce over the back-half of this 25 years?  If this project is a homerun, why does it require such a large and lengthy incentive?  Does granting such a large and lengthy incentive for this development set a precedent that this and future councils will be asked to live up to?   Again, we are slated to vote on this Tuesday night?  What is your stance?  What do you want to see your city do with this proposed incentive?  If you have opinions for or against incentivizing this hotel and convention center please let me hear from you before Tuesday!  You can learn more about the project and proposed incentive in this presentation: http://denton-tx.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=06af7826-92db-460d-90a8-3dfe3971bb09.pdf

INPUT: THE OLD FIRE STATION DOWNTOWN This station has basically been condemned and will need to be demolished no matter how this property is used in the future.  I have received many emails and calls from business owners and employees in the downtown area that would like to see this property converted into a city owned free parking lot (similar to Williams Square).  Current estimates show that we could add between 100-130 additional parking spots.  As a citizen, would you like to see this lot turned into parking or explore other land use options?

REMINDER: DISTRICT 2 CONVERSATION NEXT SUNDAY The next District 2 Conversation will be held on Sunday, November 15 from 2:00PM to 4:00PM at the North Branch Library.  Event invite here: https://www.facebook.com/events/198599277141474/

ACTION:  SIGN UP FOR THE GREENSENSE RENEWABLE RATE You can sign up right now to receive 100% renewable energy from Denton Municipal Electric.  Call DME Customer Service and ask to be put on the GreenSense Renewable Rate.  There is a small rate increase of .004 cents per KWH (which averages about $5.00 per month).  Make the switch this week!  You can reach DME Customer Service at: 940-349-8700

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