Stall tactics? Tax raises? Denton City Council has a busy night

Stall tactics? Tax raises? Denton City Council has a busy night

Stall tactics? Tax raises? Denton City Council has a busy night
September 14
15:38 2016

City council members continued discussing the vote on the proposed new gas plants, the slight raise in taxes and the new budget for the upcoming fiscal year as a part of the regular meeting held Tuesday night.

During the last half of the meeting, there was a public hearing where members of the community were allowed to talk to council about their concerns for the city’s tax and budget. It is required by state law and the city of Denton charter that councilmembers open the floor to the public regarding these topics.

Save more money, don’t raise taxes

The buzzword of the night was penny pinching. People in the community told City Council they want officials to save more money rather than raise taxes.

City staff proposed a tax rate Tuesday night that would be $0.68 per $100 of value. Denton resident David Zoltner, the only resident to speak about the issue, said he doesn’t think that would be an effective rate, and that he hopes the new city manager would have more respect for spending.

“I honestly don’t think citizens will understand or feel the impact of this proposed tax rate,” Zoltner said. “There should be more penny pinching. I elected you all for a reason.”

The tax increase was not approved. Further discussion will continue Tuesday, at the next city council meeting.

Pick up your trash

Denton County NAACP President Willie Hudspeth emphasized the need for more savings and for leaders to clean the city better.

“I want you to penny pinch to no end and clean up dumpsters in southeast Denton,” Hudspeth said. “The trash is never picked up. Our area is always slighted and I pay the same taxes. Plant more trees and get rid of trash.”

Councilmembers Kevin Roden and Sara Bagheri said they have been working to beautify southeast Denton, the area off of Teasley Lane and Dallas Drive, and are discussing ways to improve that environment.

Denton resident Deb Armintor, who ran for city council in the most recent election, continued the call for more open discussion of city issues and transparency, something she also pegged for during her campaign.

“Penny pinching needs to happen not only when there is a particular project,” Armintor said. “I would love to know what goes into the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Fund, what they do with their money and the DME [Denton Municipal Electric] budget as well.”

What to do with Renewable Denton Plan?

Councilmember Keely Briggs brought bags full of printed emails to illustrate the intensive discussion surrounding the Renewable Denton Plan, which aims to open two natural gas plants and reduce emissions, and has remained a consensus debate in the halls of Denton.

According to Briggs’ presentation, city management paid the  consulting firm for the plan, Brattle Group, $45,000. And, Briggs said, the relationship between the lobbyists and city management is hazy and unclear. Because of this, she motioned to delay voting for the plan, so that a city ethics committee could review the relations between the group and city staff.

Roden said he thought Briggs’ motion to postpone is a stall tactic.

“I want clarity for the situation,” Roden said. “This is a weird motion and I see this as stalling the vote.”

Briggs explained her reasoning to postpone voting for the plan.

“I can assure you this is not a stall tactic. I didn’t think the communications in these emails were proper,” Briggs said. “This is not fun for me, this is not a stall tactic. We just need to do something.”

The motion to postpone was approved 5-2. Discussion will continue Tuesday.

Featured Image: Keely Briggs motions to postpone the vote to build a gas plant on Denton’s west side. The motion to passed and discussion will continue on Sept. 20. Katie Jenkins

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Julia Falcon

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