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Bartonville Town Update – January 2015

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Hi, Everyone.  It’s hard to believe that Christmas was just here. As you continue to celebrate, please reflect on how wonderful it is to live in Bartonville. We have so much to be thankful for. Being a resident for 22 years, I can say that we have a little slice of heaven. The rural country oasis is what we all want to continue to enjoy.

Over the past few years, our town politics have been a little bumpy. Much has been said but actions speak louder. Our council is a diverse group of individual thinkers. Granted, with diverse views comes debate and compromise, which also leads to great ideas and opportunity. The town council is working very well together. We are much like a family. Having disagreements is a part of it, but in the end, we are all working towards the same goal. We want to ensure the rural environment that we all love continues for years to come.

I have been asked recently about our boards and commissions. These are the groups of citizens that manage things like Planning and Zoning (P&Z), Board of Adjustments, Economic Development and the town Crime Control District. Most people understand some of what these groups do.

Allow me to give a little detail. First, how do people get on these boards? Once a year, the council requests for any citizen to submit applications to join the boards and commissions. Anyone can put in an application as long as you have lived in Bartonville for 6 months. No experience required, just a willingness to support your town. From the applicants, the council will interview and place people. Let me briefly explain our boards and commissions:

P&Z is charged with recommending to the city council the boundaries of the various zoning, appropriate regulations to be enforced and any proposed amendments to town regulations.
Board of Adjustments is much different. In general, the board of adjustments hears appeals on topics that P&Z has made, interprets unclear provisions in the zoning ordinance, and decides on “variance requests” from the zoning regulations. This is a much more judicial board.

Economic Development is a commission that was created a few years back to collect and manage a special Development Tax. These funds are not controlled by the council and are for the Economic Development of the town. Yes, it is strange to have a tax to help develop in a town that does not want commercial development. I would suggest you either go to Economic Development meetings or contact the members through city hall to express the future direction or concerns for the future that you might have. The members on this board, like all the others, are committed to doing what is right for Bartonville. They would love to have people show up at their meeting and participate.

Crime Control and Prevention District board works jointly with the Town Council to ensure that funds raised through the half-cent Crime Control sales tax are spent on programs and capital purchases that will reduce crime, increase public safety and maintain a high quality of life in Bartonville. This group has been in place for several years and directly support the police department.

The people that volunteer on these boards and commissions love our city. They protect, defend and support the future of Bartonville. Our focus has been to improve, and continue to expand, communication from Town Hall and ensure all information is available and timely.

Another question I get asked is about Kroger’s. As you can see, they are making headway towards being completed early next year. No, there is no plan for a decorative wall to visually block the view of the back of the building. They will be planting some shrubbery and small trees to reduce the view but nothing else.

We are trying to work with the developer to improve the big gray wall on the west side facing the old Bartonville Store. Our hope is to get stone or paint on the wall.

Contractually, our ability to influence this change is limited but we are working on it.

What’s going on with the Police Department? We are looking to find the best candidate for our Chief Position. This should be completed in January. We have a budget for a Chief and 3 officers. This will always be a hot button item for the town.

I believe government must be controlled or it grows purely for the sake of growing, not need. Same with a Police Department. I am not a supporter of a large force unless we begin to experience crime. A few years ago the force had grown to 5 officers and a Chief and was about to grow to 6 officers. The crime rate in Bartonville has been the same for 20+ years… VERY LOW. The crime rate was minimal long before we had our own police department, and it is still minimal now.

My mandate is to understand what the citizens want and to do my very best to ensure our dollars are spent wisely and that the town is protected. Although I prefer a nominal force, I did vote to budget for the 3 officers and a chief. The council was divided on this topic. We have members that want many more and some that want less. After many hours of debate, and to commit a budget, we compromised and agreed on the 3 officers and a Chief.This is an example of how we, as a council, work together.

There have been several requests in the recent months to alter our master plan. The master plan is our overlaying guide as to how the city will be built out. Every four years or so, this plan is brought before the town for review. It is key that this document reflect our requirement and desire to stay large lot plots and no commercial. The people on town council have the greatest impact on our future.

I have heard people say change is coming. That is true, but that does not mean our zoning ordinances should.  We can keep development out. Some say a town can be forced to allow commercial… Not true.  If we manage our ordinances consistently, we can remain rural.  If we allow the change to happen, it will be a death by a thousand paper cuts. Nothing quick, just one lot at a time until the road is lined by business.

I hope this information helps.  Please email me or call me if you would like to know more. I am happy to go over any topic with you. My position is to be clear and direct. To hear rumors and half answers only leads people to doubt. We are moving in the right direction. The council and staff are communicating at every level. The town operations are current and smooth. Improvements have been made that ensure we are one of the best towns in Texas. I hope you see that Bartonville is a Texas Family town.

Happy New Year and God Bless.

Residents can contact Jeff Traylor, Bartonville Town Council Place 1, via email at Place1@townofbartonville.com or by calling 972-824-8605.

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