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Bartonville Town Council Update – Mar. 2014

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Hello from the Bartonville Town Council, I am Jeff Traylor, your council member for Place 1. In an effort to pass along town information, each council member will take turns writing an article regarding activities in our community. As this is the first such article, I wanted to try to touch on many different topics.

New Construction. With the construction underway at Jeter and FM 407, it is clear the new shopping center is on its way. This has been in the works for many years, with the legal commitments made years ago, and soon it will be completed. Many of you have asked questions about the development. Here are a few of the most common:

Q- Is this in Bartonville?
A- Yes, the developer requested the land to be added to Bartonville. By doing this, they gained the opportunity to sell beer and wine.

Q- Do we have control over the development?
A-
No. The contract, when the property entered Bartonville, was signed so all regulations fall under Lantana’s control. 

Q – Do we get anything for having the development?
A – Yes, we receive a portion of the sales tax revenue for a defined period of time.

Police in Bartonville. We currently have four full-time officers and one part-time officer. This is down by one due to a resignation from an officer. By the time this article publishes, we will have had the town meeting to discuss the needs and wants of our town. From that town meeting, a clear plan will be in place as to what is the right-size of our police department. I feel we spend too much of our budget on the police department and need to come up with ways to cut costs or be forced to raise taxes. The argument, that without a police department, our town would be overtaken by crime is unfounded. If that were true, then Lantana would be a hot bed of crime.

Q – Why do we police Lantana?
A – The simple answer is – we do not. But that is not the complete truth. We support the county; and therefore, do send officers on calls from the county – which end up in Lantana. This arrangement is also supported by Double Oak. As a Council Member, I do not agree that we should protect Lantana with the limited resources we have. Lantana is almost seven-times our size, and they should figure out a way to provide this type of service if it is wanted. But, as long as we have a police force, we should make every effort to support other departments if they are in need of assistance. It is abundantly clear, from the stats provided by our Chief; crime in our small town is almost non-existent. This is my view and may not reflect the council’s view.

Water Tower. In response to current speculation involving the water tower we would like to offer a few observations.  Since we currently are involved in litigation it would not be prudent to discuss the details while the matter is still in court.  This has allowed speculation, viewpoints and opinions in the community. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, the focus was on the CEO of Exxon and the need for water to do gas drilling fracking.  This case is simply defined in the court as a city’s control over its zoning.  Fracking, which has been occurring in our town for years, furthermore the town, is not involved in this case because of oil and gas. The Town’s involvement is about protecting its zoning authority and appropriate land use. Our legal position is rooted in administration of our legitimate land use regulations. As it stands today, we are following the process determined by the courts. We are not spending any amount of money on the process right now.  Since we have been sued on three different occasions we have been forced to be embroiled in a lengthy and costly court proceeding. Currently, there is no construction at the water tower site and legal proceedings have been abated pending completion of our successful appeal. We will continue to weigh all of our options as we move forward. The town council will do what is in the best interest of the town and its citizens.  We will not put the town in jeopardy (fiscally, environmentally, nor physically) and we will continue a process of well informed decisions.  We all look forward to a final resolution to this matter.  Again, if we did not have a court order preventing us to talk about it, I would love to go into great detail.

Roads in our wonderful town. We have a number of problems and several will cost a substantial amount of money to correct. Many others fall under routine maintenance. Most of our roads are safe and provide access to all of us. We do have some that are borderline and must be addressed very soon. That in mind, we have worked with the town’s engineer to develop a plan to address and budget for these needs. I hope we can continue this pattern which will protect the long term investments we have made in our roads.

What are you doing with the Bartonville Store? We have a few challenges. The property has underground tanks that have to be removed. Councilmember Marco requested we look for grants to help offset that cost. The town staff did a great job and found us funds that might cover some of the cost, and in a best case, most or all. We will know more soon. I believe it is the feeling of the council that we should sell the property once the tanks are removed and allow the property to be redeveloped. Right now, we are waiting to get final details from the State of Texas on our grant.

Town Hall Improvements. No, we are not building a new Town Hall. That would not be a good uses of town funds. We do need to make some changes. Councilmember Harrington and I were tasked by the council to determine what needs to be done. The siding has failed in many places and must be repaired. In this process, we are also looking at different ways to improve the building. One idea is to use the old fire truck garage as a multi-purpose room. It could be used for council meetings, town events, private parties and any number of activities. Today it is used to park police cars and overall storage. If you have input, please email me.

Don’t forget, we have elections in May. We have people running for Mayor, Place 2 and Place 4. Please get involved and learn about the candidates. Also, please sign up for the online town newsletter. You can email tdixon@townofbartonville.com or go to www.townofbartonville.com

I hope you enjoy living in Bartonville as much as I do. For the past 21 years, I have been proud to call it home. The great thing about our small town is that it is ok to not agree on every topic. It is healthy to challenge different viewpoints, and to hear differing opinions. You have the right to express what you believe. As you have that right, so do others. We are not a left and right town, nor a rich and poor town. Single issues should not polarize us. I hope we all continue to believe, uniformly, that Bartonville is the best place to call home.

Contact me at Place1@townofbartonville.com.

Jeff Traylor, Bartonville Town Council, Place 1

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