Things have been busy in Bartonville. This is a good time to provide updates on two key areas:
Having police coverage is a significant investment for a small town of our size.
We are evaluating our options as guided by the desires of our residents as well as our budget constraints. We opened channels of communication to really listen to what our town needed and desired by issuing a town survey as well as sponsoring a public forum. The majority of the survey respondents (55%) indicated they wanted a smaller police department.
We experienced significantly less participation in the public forum, but the message this small group expressed was for 24×7 police coverage. A few at the forum stated we should raise taxes, if needed, to allow for a full-time Police Department. The council is not open to the idea of raising taxes and will ensure every dollar spent is in the best interest of the citizens of Bartonville.
Based on our resident’s input, we explored several options. The most viable option was to partner with our neighbor, Double Oak. As such, we opened preliminary discussions to try to achieve both objectives. This had the potential to resolve both challenges without budget impact. The potential benefits:
• Immediate achievement of 24/7/365 staffing for both towns without having to add staff/cost to either town.
• Increased officer safety through having a “cover” officer available on the Bartonville or Double Oak beat.
• Bartonville benefits by the immediate addition of Criminal Investigations expertise, provided by full time Double Oak CID, which addresses anticipated commercial district growth.
• Increased efficiency by division of labor resulting in more available patrol time.
• Dedicated officers per town to allow for familiarity and rapid response.
• Streamlined and efficient chain of command and critical incident response through shared written directives, policies, procedures and training.
• Financial benefit to Double Oak by payment of an administrative fee which would be utilized for police equipment / salaries; immediate addition of electronic citation writers and associated software.
Unfortunately, this promising solution is no longer an option. A small subset of our former town administration, including former Mayor Robertson, did not want the people of Bartonville to have this option, nor to be able to make a choice. They worked behind the scenes and successfully poisoned this option with members of the Double Oak council and citizens. This opportunity has been withdrawn and is no longer available for us.
We are just now in a position to balance general fund expenses against general fund revenues. Again, per the town survey, road repair was a major concern. As we approach the next fiscal year, we have the opportunity to continue on the second year of a five-year proposed plan to spend in excess of $1 million dollars on critical road repairs. Road repair is critical and expensive (the repairs on Jeter, Redbud, and Pecan totaled more than $200,000). Over the past several years very little money had been placed in the road fund and we are now replenishing the fund to ensure the future of our infrastructure.
We do have additional funding coming in from the addition of the 380 agreement (commercial corner on FM 407 where the Kroger is being built); a 2% Sales and Use Tax. This money is only available once the development is completed. There is a lot of confusion on how this 2% can be allocated, so we contacted the Texas Comptroller for clarification:
0.75% – Bartonville has to pay the developer 0.75% of the town tax revenue for 12 years and 0.50% thereafter.
0.5% – Denton County Development District No.4 – this money does not go to Bartonville.
0.5% – Bartonville Community Development Corporation (funding for support of commercial development) – this money is unavailable for general town funding.
0.25% – Bartonville Street Maintenance – this helps our current infrastructure deficit.
0% – Bartonville Crime Control District.
There has been a great deal of conversation regarding the revenue that Bartonville will receive from this new Kroger. As you can see, a major portion of the revenue was given away several years ago to entice the development to be built. It has been stated that without this incentive to the developer, Bartonville would not have the large commercial development at the entrance of our small town. To have such development, and to not receive the full tax value to compensate for the impact on our small rural town environment, is a loss. Our true usable revenue for town operations from the Kroger development is limited; the majority of the developer’s optimistic projection of $1.5 million over 5 years is committed to the Bartonville Community Development Corporation.
We continue to work hard to keep our low tax, friendly, rural environment.