City Council lays out plans for gas plants, approves park use for electricity, plans karaoke

City Council lays out plans for gas plants, approves park use for electricity, plans karaoke

City Council lays out plans for gas plants, approves park use for electricity, plans karaoke
June 08
11:03 2016

Matthew Reyna | Staff Writer

@bucko_rodgers

The Denton City Council made the next step in its Renewable Denton Plan on Tuesday, presenting plans for two gas plants during an afternoon work session and listening to public concern at the evening meeting.

Ira Shavel, principal of The Brattle Group, presents Denton City Council a study and analysis of Denton Municipal Electric’s proposed Renewable Denton Plan and alternatives to Denton’s future electricity suppliers, June 6 at City Hall.

Ira Shavel, principal of The Brattle Group, presents Denton City Council a study and analysis of Denton Municipal Electric’s proposed Renewable Denton Plan and alternatives to Denton’s future electricity suppliers June 6 at City Hall. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

The Renewable Denton Plan would involve building a new natural gas plant in hopes of increasing Denton’s renewable energy from 40 percent to 70 percent by 2019.

When the floor was opened to public comments, Denton citizens Larry Beck and Ken Gold said they were skeptical of the project. Beck presented what he said were 600 letters from citizens opposing the proposed gas plant.

“There will be heavy costs to building these plants,” Beck said. “I’m skeptical that RDP is our only option.”

Beck said the only acceptable plan is one that distances Denton from fossil fuels and works toward making the city completely renewable.

Gold said a public policy decision as important as the Renewable Denton Plan should be left to the citizens to decide.

“Trust the public to make the right decision,” Gold said. “Possibly it will confirm, support, validate and ratify the plan, but the other possibility is that it will save us $250 million we can invest in another way.”

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Roden of District 1 said there is a lot of misinformation being distributed about the proposed policy.

Kevin Roden, Mayor Pro Tem of District 1, strives for clarification on The Brattles Group presentation for their review on the Denton Municipal Electric’s proposed Renewable Denton Plan June 6 at City Hall.

Kevin Roden, Mayor Pro Tem of District 1, strives for clarification on The Brattles Group presentation for their review on the Denton Municipal Electric’s proposed Renewable Denton Plan June 6 at City Hall. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

“If someone’s telling me they are going to pollute my air and kill my kids, I might say I’m against it too,” Roden said. “I get the concern, but we are doing something very progressive, very aggressive, and I look forward to voting on it.”

Electricity in parks, Fire Department accusations

The city council also approved Tuesday the use of parts of North Lakes Park and Northpointe Park for non-park use that will allow the city to maintain electric transmission through the park with power lines.

Jim Mays, the Superintendent of Planning and Construction for Denton Parks and Recreation, said the power lines were necessary and would not affect the parks, and that the non-park usage meets the requirements of a state law.

The law mandates if a portion of a public park is used, there must be no reasonable alternative to the project and must minimize harm to the property.

Willie Hudspeth, Denton County NAACP president, contributed to the meeting multiple times during public hearings and accused the Denton Parks and Recreation Department and the Denton Fire Department of not being diverse.

“They come up with their own segregated situation and I have to pay for it,” Hudspeth said. “I’ll come up with my own fire department.”

Roden and Councilman Dalton Gregory, at large Place 5, said Hudspeth’s accusations lacked a factual basis.

“We don’t want to discriminate, and I don’t think we have,” Roden said. “We’ll look at that, but lowering your standards is never a good policy for a fire department.

Awards, Appointments and Karaoke

The City Council also recognized members of the community who have made significant contributions to the city.

Dan Leal, the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County, presented an award to retiring Denton police officer Virginia Nichols for fighting child abuse throughout the last twelve years.

“She is actually the longest tenured police detective in Denton County working consecutive years on child abuse cases,” Leal said.

Mayor Chris Watts honored Colonel Wesley C. Reed, a 1982 graduate of Denton High School, with a proclamation recognizing his military service and declared June 8 “Colonel Wesley Reed Day” in Denton. Reed retired at the beginning of this month.

“Don’t give me the mic, holy hell,” Reed said. “I grew up in Denton, Texas. If you told me I’d be here receiving this award 34 years later, I’d have said no way.”

The City Council also appointed officials to city bureaucratic organizations. Ed Steele was appointed to the Public Art Committee, and David Higgins was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

During closing statements, the City Council promoted the All-Star Karaoke event hosted by the Greater Denton Arts Council at Dan’s Silverleaf on Saturday, June 18. All proceeds from the event will benefit the GADC and the arts in Denton.

“I guess they’re considering local politicians all-stars,” Roden said. “I hope there will be more interesting people on the docket.”

Councilman Gregory hinted that visitors could be surprised with what they see.

“Last year the mayor sang, and I had no idea what talent the man had,” Gregory said. “I will be part of the chorus for sure.”

Featured Image: Dalton Gregory, Councilmman at large Place 5, clarifies a point for alternatives to Denton’s electricity towards the end of the Gibbons Creek power agreement by The Brattle Group June 6 at City Hall. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor 

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