OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2017
CITY OF DENTON
FACTS ABOUT THE UPCOMING CHARTER ELECTION Denton’s city charter details many aspects about how the City’s government operates and how City services are delivered. Recently, Denton’s City Council created a committee of 21 citizens to consider and advise the Council on potential revisions to the charter. As a result, the Council has called for a charter amendment election. The election will propose five charter amendments, which are listed below. Early voting will be available Oct. 23 through Nov. 4 at any Denton County polling location. Election Day voting will take place Nov. 7, and residents must vote at the designated polling location for their precinct. Proposition A seeks to clarify the residency qualifications to be a council member by replacing “resided” with “domiciled,” which is defined as the principal place of establishment to address concerns of multiple addresses or residences. Proposition B asks if the signature requirement for a recall petition should be increased from 25 to 35 percent of the total number of votes based on the last election for which that council member was a candidate.
Early Voting Oct. 23 - Nov. 4 Election Day Nov. 7
Proposition C would clarify that the City of Denton shall have a permanent, full-time internal auditor with specific responsibilities set forth in the charter. Proposition D asks if Section 14.04, related to conflicts of interest, and Section 14.05, related to nepotism, should be repealed and replaced with an ethics section that would require the City of Denton to adopt an ethics ordinance. At a minimum, the ethics ordinance would need to address certain components and standards, including adherence with standards set by Texas Local Government Code Chapter 171 and prohibiting the use of public office for private gain. Proposition E would provide a monthly stipend to each member of the City Council. A council member would receive $750 per month, and the mayor would receive $1,000 per month. The City Council would be able to vote on a maximum increase of three percent to the stipend amount each year, unless otherwise approved by a two-thirds vote. For more information about the City of Denton 2017 Charter Election, visit www.cityofdenton.com/charterelection. For voting information, including times and locations, visit www.votedenton.com.
IN THIS ISSUE
FROM THE MAYOR
Facts about the Upcoming Charter Election.....1
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the City of Denton’s bimonthly Resident Update! We’re mailing these newsletters to everyone in Denton in an effort to keep you informed about what is happening in your city.
From the Mayor........................................................2 Upcoming Public Meetings....................................2 Denton City Council................................................2 Denton’s Budget Process.......................................3 Protect Yourself Against Scams............................4 Denton Energy Center Update..............................4 The Cone Zone.........................................................5 Park Update...............................................................5 Sustainability Goes to School................................6 Planning for Sustainability......................................6 Contact Us.................................................................7 Denton Works...........................................................7 Upcoming Community Events..............................7 Stay Connected........................................................8
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS DENTON CITY COUNCIL Tuesday, Oct. 10 Tuesday, Oct. 17 Tuesday, Oct. 24 Tuesday, Nov. 7 Tuesday, Nov. 14 Tuesday, Nov. 28
The Resident Update is a new source of information to connect you with your local government. There are many ways to learn what’s going on in Denton, from reading newspapers to following blogs and social media, listening to the radio, or talking with your neighbors. In addition to these news sources, we believe you deserve to hear directly from your local government about its priorities, programs, and actions. In this edition, you’ll find information about the upcoming charter election. Denton’s charter operates like its constitution. It details many aspects of how Denton’s local government functions on behalf of the residents. The charter election gives voters the opportunity to either accept or reject proposed changes to the charter. You can also read about Denton’s newly adopted budget, updates to Denton’s Sustainability Plan, and other important issues. I hope you’ll find value in this information. Please let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions by sending an email to CMO@cityofdenton.com.
DENTON CITY COUNCIL
PUBLIC UTILITIES BOARD Monday, Oct. 9 Monday, Oct. 23 Monday, Nov. 13 Monday, Nov. 27 PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION Wednesday, Oct. 11 Wednesday, Oct. 25 Wednesday, Nov. 8 Wednesday, Nov. 29 These and other public meetings are broadcast live on DTV and at www.cityofdenton.com/dtv. For a current list of meetings and agendas, visit www.cityofdenton.com/public-meetings.
Chris Watts, Mayor | Chris.Watts@cityofdenton.com Gerard Hudspeth, District 1 | Gerard.Hudspeth@cityofdenton.com Keely G. Briggs, District 2 | Keely.Briggs@cityofdenton.com Don Duff, District 3 | Don.Duff@cityofdenton.com John Ryan, District 4 | John.Ryan@cityofdenton.com Dalton Gregory, At Large Place 5 | Dalton.Gregory@cityofdenton.com Sara Bagheri, At Large Place 6 | Sara.Bagheri@cityofdenton.com
DENTON’S BUDGET PROCESS After months of public input and deliberation, the City Council has adopted a budget for the fiscal year starting in October. This budget reflects Council priorities, which include reducing costs and inefficiencies while expanding public safety’s response capacity, as well as the maintenance of streets and utility infrastructure. See below for an overview of where your local government’s funds come from and where they are spent. Visit www.cityofdenton.com for more detailed information.
General Fund Revenue
General Fund Expenditures by Function
D E I H
A. Ad Valorem Taxes 37.7% B. Sales Taxes 30.3% C. Service Fees 6.9% D. Return on Investment 6.7% E. Cost of Service 6.7%
F. Franchise Fees 4.2% G. Fines and Fees 3.3% H. Licenses and Permits 2.3% I. Other 1.9%
A. Police/Animal Services 28.3% B. Fire/Community Improvement 25.5% C. Parks & Recreation 11.2% D. Planning/Community Dev./ Inspections 6.3% E. Libraries 5.1% F. Legal and CMO 4.4% G. Finance/Internal Audit/ HR 4.3%
H. Facilities Management 3.6% I. Other 3.2% J. Traffic/Transportation/ Street Lighting 2.8% K. 380 Agreement 2.7% L. Municipal Court/Judge 1.6% M. Economic Development 1.0%
Effective Tax Rate — At the direction of the City Council, Denton’s annual budget has been prepared using the effective tax rate. The aim of the effective tax rate is to generate the same tax revenue from the same set of properties as the prior year. As stated by the Texas Comptroller, “Although the actual calculation can become more complicated, a taxing unit’s effective tax rate is a calculated rate generally equal to the last year’s taxes divided by the current taxable value of properties that were also on the tax roll last year.” Utility Rates — Setting the rates for electricity, water, wastewater, and solid waste services are an important component of the City’s annual budget process. Utility rates are set so that sufficient revenues are generated to support operations, maintenance, and improvements for each of the City’s utility funds. There are no rate increases for Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Funds, while there is a slight rate decrease for the Electric Fund. The chart below shows the change to the average monthly bill based upon consumption of an average residential customer.
Electric (1,300kWh) Water (9,200 gallons) Wastewater (6,000 gallons) Solid Waste (standard + recycle cart) Total
2017 $140.47 $54.18 $35.55 $27.85 $258.05
2018 $138.73 $54.18 $35.55 $27.85 $256.31
Increase/Decrease -$1.74 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 -$1.74
Change -1.2 percent 0.0 percent 0.0 percent 0.0 percent -0.7 percent
For more information or service requests, visit www.cityofdenton.com, call Customer Service at (940) 349-8700, or visit City Hall East, 601 E. Hickory St., Suite F, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST SCAMS From shady roofers to unscrupulous salespeople, there are plenty of scammers looking to defraud the public. Here are a few guidelines you can follow to protect yourself: • Use caution when responding to solicitations claiming to offer free trips, money, or other valuables. Even if the solicitor claims to be working with the government, these offers are often fraudulent. Be especially cautious if you are asked to pay a fee in order to access your prize. • Carefully research the companies you do business with. For example, after major storms, disreputable roofing companies have been known to steal down payments, install substandard materials, or offer a low bid only to raise the price once the job begins. Protect yourself by getting recommendations from friends and neighbors or by contacting the Better Business Bureau. • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Scammers have been known to call Denton residents purporting to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They claim that back taxes are owed, and that a warrant will be issued for the individual’s arrest unless they purchase a pre-paid debit card and provide them with the card’s information. The IRS does not call demanding immediate payment, nor would they ask for a card number over the phone. Individuals can avoid falling victim to this scam by asking critical questions. • Hang up, look up the official phone number, and call back. Scammers often pose as representatives of familiar organizations in an attempt to appear more legitimate. For instance, scammers have called Denton residents saying that they are with Denton Municipal Electric. They claim that their electric usage has been especially high, and to avoid disconnection, they must purchase a pre-paid debit card and give them the card’s information. By hanging up and calling the official phone number for Denton’s Utility Customer Service, (940) 349-8700, individuals can be confident that they are speaking with an appropriate representative. If you suspect that you have been the target of a scam, call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (940) 349-8181.
DENTON ENERGY CENTER UPDATE The Denton Energy Center, a 225-megawatt electric-generation facility, is currently under construction on the south side of Jim Christal Road, east of Hickory Creek Court. The Denton Energy Center was approved by City Council in June 2016 and is expected to begin operating next summer. Upon completion, the Denton Energy Center will consist of 12 large internal combustion engines, which will run on natural gas. These engines were manufactured by Wärtsilä at their factory in Italy and shipped to Denton during the summer.
Artist Rendering of Denton Energy Center
At over 50 percent completion, the project continues to be on schedule and within budget. The foundations and engine halls have been constructed, and the engines will be moved to their permanent locations in early October. The Denton Energy Center is part of the Renewable Denton Plan, which aims to increase renewable energy in Denton while maintaining competitive rates and reliability. For updates about the Renewable Denton Plan, visit www.dmepower.com. Progress as of September 2017
THE CONE ZONE Hickory Street Hickory Street, between Bonnie Brae and Carroll Boulevard, is undergoing major improvements. Crews from Water, Wastewater, Streets, and Denton Municipal Electric are all part of the multi-year project to improve the condition of the street, sidewalk, and utilities in the area. The anticipated end date for the Hickory Street Project is early 2019. For more information about this and other ongoing projects, visit www.dentonstreets.com and view the Streets and Construction Map. Bell Avenue Reopens Crews worked hard during the summer to replace wastewater lines, curbs, and gutters; repair sidewalks; and install new asphalt in the Texas Woman’s University (TWU) area of Bell Avenue. They also worked with TWU to remove the nonfunctioning pedestrian bridge. Bell is just one of the many road construction projects that have been recently completed. For more information, view the Streets and Construction Map at www.dentonstreets.com. Phase 1 of 35Express Complete The first phase of the 35Express project, which began in October 2013, will be substantially complete in November. The $1.4 billion project—which has been funded through federal, state, local, and other funding sources—runs 30 miles from US 380 in Denton to I-635 in Dallas. A second phase, which TxDOT estimates to begin in five to seven years, will include the construction of noise wall segments along the highway between Loop 288 and N. Texas Blvd.
SUSTAINABILITY GOES TO SCHOOL The City of Denton is partnering with area schools to promote sustainability. With the Sustainable Schools program, individual campuses can earn funds to improve environmental education through activities, lessons, field trips, and more. See below for a list of this year’s winners. Primary School Winners • 1st Place: Koan School • 2nd Place: Olive Stephens • 3rd Place: Adkins • Most Improved: Olive Stephens • Most Active: Adkins • Top Recycler: Hodge • All Star Teacher: Sharon Betty, Hodge Secondary School Winners • 1st Place: McMath • 2nd Place: Harpool • 3rd Place: Bettye Myers • Most Improved: Strickland • Most Active: McMath • Top Recycler: Denton High • All Star Teacher: Mary Arndt, McMath
Denton Sustainable Schools is gearing up for the 2017-18 school year! Program enrollment forms are due on Oct. 13, and all campuses enrolled by then will receive a $100 signing bonus. For more information, visit www.dentonsustainableschools.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY The Simply Sustainable plan turns five years old this year and will receive an update for its birthday. This fall, Denton residents will have many opportunities to provide input into the sustainable future of Denton through online surveys and public meetings.
Simply Sustainable is a citywide action plan focused on improving quality of life, protecting Denton’s environment, and creating economic opportunities for citizens. It is meant to be a fluid document that is updated every five years to ensure that it represents the current wants and needs of the Denton community. The goal is to update the strategies and actions within the following eight focus areas: • • • • • • • •
Water Air Quality and Green House Gas Management Energy Efficiency and Conservation Land Use and Open/Natural Space Transportation Education, Communication, and Community Involvement Material Resource Management Local Food Production
Since the plan’s adoption in 2012, the City has constructed two LEED-certified buildings, installed 21.5 miles of on-street bike infrastructure, expanded the curbside recycling program by adding food and beverage cartons, increased the percentage of renewable energy provided by Denton Municipal Electric, decreased the per-capita water consumption, and accomplished many other goals set in the plan.
If you would like to provide input into Denton’s sustainable future, visit www.sustainabledenton.com, or take part in the online surveys and public meetings.
Despite all the new ways to communicate with us, we are still available to talk in person. Use the listing below for frequently contacted departments. For a comprehensive listing of services, as well as staff contacts, visit www.cityofdenton.com.
Did you know that methane gas is produced by decomposing materials in our landfill? That methane can be harmful to the environment, which is why City staff use a gas analyzer (as shown in the photo below) to take readings at each of the facility’s 24 methane probe sites. Those readings help them to know if any landfill gas migrates beyond the permitted area.
ANIMAL SERVICES (940) 349-7954
The landfill gas is collected through a series of pipes. From there, it is converted to electricity through a 1.6-megawatt generator, providing power to approximately 1,600 homes in Denton. During this process, the Solid Waste Regulatory Compliance Manager and staff use specialized equipment to monitor the perimeter of the landfill, ensuring the safety of its neighboring citizens and the environment.
BUILDING INSPECTIONS (940) 349-8360 CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE (940) 349-8307 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (940) 349-7726 COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT SERVICES (940) 349-8743 DEVELOPMENT SERVICES (940) 349-8541 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (940) 349-8541 FIRE (NON-EMERGENCY) (940) 349-8840 GAS WELL INSPECTIONS (940) 349-8369
UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS
HUMAN RESOURCES (940) 349-8340
STREAM CLEAN Saturday, Oct. 14
LIBRARY (940) 349-8752
NEIGHBORHOOD EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT Saturday, Oct. 14 at MLK Jr. Rec Center
MUNICIPAL COURT (940) 349-8331
KDB COMMUNITY TREE GIVEAWAY Saturday, Oct. 21
PARKS & RECREATION (940) 349-7275
HALLOWEEN HARVEST & MOVIE IN THE PARK Friday, Oct. 27 at Denia Rec Center
POLICE (NON-EMERGENCY) (940) 349-8181
HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL & HAUNTED HOUSE Saturday, Oct. 28 at MLK Jr. Rec Center
UTILITIES CUSTOMER SERVICE (940) 349-8700
Visit www.cityofdenton.com for a full calendar of events, workshops, and meetings.
CITY OF DENTON
RESIDENT UPDATE OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2017
STAY CONNECTED www.cityofdenton.com
A publication of the City of Denton • ADA/EOE/ADEA • TDD (800) 735-2989 • wwww.cityofdenton.com