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What’s Happening in Copper Canyon – July 2017

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Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

Residents Wonderful in Observing “No Fireworks” in Copper Canyon!

Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger said he has had no calls for fireworks in Copper Canyon in the last THREE years!  Many thanks to our Town residents for being willing to voluntarily comply with “No Fireworks in Town”!  Four years ago Argyle Fire District responded to 18 calls in their 55 square mile District for fires started by fireworks and people injured from exploding fireworks.

Annual Copper Canyon Fourth of July Parade – Tuesday 10 A.M.

Come join the fun!  Be in the Parade!  Decorate your car, golf cart, tractor, motorcycle, bicycle, or anything that moves!  Bring your kids and get ready to have fun!  Once again Copper Canyon resident and Argyle Fire District Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger and firefighters will assist children – and parents welcome, too – up on top of the big red fire engine for a slow cruise through the Woodlands Subdivision!  Parade line up will be at 9:30 A.M. in front of Town Hall, 400 Woodland Drive.

If you don’t want to be in the parade, join us on your front lawn and cheer the parade on!  Immediately after the parade everyone is welcome for hotdogs and drinks in front of Town Hall!  Many thanks to the members of the Woodlands Women’s Club, and their helpful husbands, who have traditionally hosted this holiday luncheon for over a decade! For questions call Carol Owens at 940-241-1455.

 New concrete lanes on Woodlands Drive will be completed through the entrance to the Town Hall parking lot before the Parade!  And, on July 4th, traffic on Woodland Drive will be able to go east and west.  Our sincere thanks to our contractor Quality Excavation for coordinating with us!

County Commissioners Andy Eads and Bobbie Mitchell Commit to Clean up Graffiti and Drainage Issues with Trails Tunnel under FM 2499!

Hikers and equestrians treasure the trails on the US Corps of Engineers land around Lake Lewisville! Denton County Precinct Four Commissioner Andy Eads has stepped up to volunteer his stewardship of our trails.  The tunnel under FM 2499 connects the trails from the Old Alton Bridge with the trails around Lake Lewisville in Highland Village.  At present, that tunnel under FM 2499 is not safe to pass for pedestrians and certainly not for riders on horseback.

Possibly from a prior engineering design flaw, water drains INTO the tunnel!  This creates a thick mucky, inches deep muddy, slippery bottom in the tunnel that is not safe for individuals or horses to cross.  With Precinct Three Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell’s support, Commissioner Eads is taking the lead on resolving this issue in cooperation with the Corps of Engineers and TxDOT.

Trail Chairman Deb Valencia-Schmitz says Spring Trail Clean-up a Success!

Steve and Robin Grider were, as always, dedicated Trail clean-up crews!  Darryl Snedeker manned his mower AGAIN to keep grass low on the trails for both hikers and equestrians. And Municipal Services Manager Jeri Harwell again provided, courtesy of Republic Services, a huge dumpster for hauling off all the debris, trash, and pruned overhanging tree limbs removed from the trails.

Chairman Deb also requested that our Sheriff’s Deputies and Highland Village police patrol the Trail parking lot on the east side of FM 407, just north of the entrance to Pilot Knoll Park.  Evidently some individuals are using the parking lot as a free dumping area for large trash items.

New Residents Eric and Melissa Rooney and five sons are already Volunteers

Chairman Deb was also surprised to see new resident Eric Rooney arrive with his five sons to help with the Trail Cleanup.  What really warmed her heart was the youngest Rooney son – who arrived in a back pack on his Dad Eric’s back!  Now that is a parent demonstrating firsthand to his children how to “give back” to your community!

Eric and his wife Melissa Rooney had lived in Highland Village.  But, they were looking for a home with space around it for their five sons to “stretch their legs.”  They began reading the “What’s Happening in Copper Canyon” monthly article in the Gazette.  Ultimately, they bought two and a half acres on the west side of Chinn Chapel Road, a block north of the railroad tracks. They “gutted” the older home, remodeled it, and added a new roof.  And their five sons now have a large grassed multi-acre lawn area to “stretch their legs.”

Eric said their new neighbors in Copper Canyon welcomed them with “muffins and cookies.”  Small wonder!  For any of us who travel Chinn Chapel Road, this acreage had been a “disaster area” with abandoned cars, boats, tires, and an assortment of junk!  The old home and acreage had been tied up for several years in legal title and inheritance issues.  This made it difficult for the Town to hold someone accountable for the junky mess.

What a delight for the neat green lawn acreage and newly renovated house to now be the new home of the Rooney family!  Their immediate neighbors, and all of us who live in Copper Canyon and travel Chinn Chapel Road, are also the vicarious beneficiaries of Eric and Melissa’s efforts.  And, the Rooneys are considering being Neighborhood Watch Block Captains!

Recognition of Council Member Steve Hill’s 14 Years of Outstanding Service

Steve Hill is a top Executive with KPMG LLP, one of the top five accounting firms both internationally and in the United States.  Steve’s title is “Global Head of Innovation & Investments and U.S. Head of Innovation.”  Steve’s close connection to market trends and growth strategies has made him a “thought leader” and “change agent” on innovation and business transformation.

Steve is also is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, attended Harvard Business School, and was a consultant for McKinsey & Co.  Steve has served on the Dallas Symphony Board, and you’re probably not surprised that he is also a BSA Eagle Scout.  His hobby is racing Porsches on racetracks across the U.S.  He also teaches advanced driving skills to local law enforcement officers in North Texas.

(1) Copper Canyon’s Financial Officer:

If a Town is really, REALLY blessed, it has a Council Member of the fine caliber of Steve Hill.  To have his volunteer services for an incredible 14 years is awesome.  He has been the Town’s official Financial Officer, making sure Town funds are deposited in a sound Bank Depository with adequate collateral to secure those funds.  And, every two years he completes a State mandated required course to update his financial knowledge of new applicable State laws.  Steve has provided his financial expertise to Copper Canyon free, as our volunteer Financial Officer, for the last 14 years.  It is Steve’s dedicated financial stewardship of our Town that allows me as Mayor, and I hope you as a Town Resident, to sleep well at night!

(2) Pro Forma Budget:

Steve developed our Pro Forma Budget, and it is the key to Copper Canyon’s financial stability.  In 2005 he scrutinized every line item of the Town’s annual fiscal budget for both Income and Expenses.  Former Town Administrator Paulette Hartman and I gathered historical data to back up each line item.  Then Steve used financial formulas to calculate where each line item ”should be” for each of the 12 months of our fiscal year.  (By State law municipal fiscal years begin October 1st.)

For 10 years, or 120 plus contiguous months, Steve has every month recalibrated the technical formulas for our Pro Forma Budget.  The Pro Forma Budget is the financial lynchpin of our Town.  With it, the Town Council and Staff know if each line item of Income or Expense is performing according to Annual Budget projections – or is “over or under” for that specific month of our fiscal year.  If any Revenue Item is ahead of schedule, we know it.  If any Expense Line Item is “over budget”, we know it and can compensate or adjust our funding.

Together Steve and Town Administrator Donna Welsh personally review our Town budget each and every month.  And have done so for a decade.  Steve’s financial stewardship of the Town was critical in Copper Canyon being awarded an AA+ rating by Standard & Poors!

(3) Copper Canyon’s 2004 Master Plan:

Former Mayor Larry Johnson appointed Steve Hill to lead the Master Plan Commission.  Two of the other leading members were large landowner Paul Vickery, a former Council Member (now recently deceased), and Bill Castleman representing P&Z then – and now a Council Member.  These four residents were key to preserving the vision of Copper Canyon as a rural residential area with homes on spacious large minimum one acre lots. (Other P&Z members were Chairman Gary Beavers, Roy Bradford, John Brothers, and Peter Vickery.) But, four things were required to accomplish this goal of remaining a rural residential Town area.

First, the traffic pattern of our roads needed to move commuters along our perimeter streets and NOT through our residential areas

Thus, there are NO east-west cross roads through Copper Canyon, except FM 407 in the south and Orchid Hill Lane in the north.  This traffic routing preserves the rural central area of our Town from non-residents crossing through.  The “heart” of our Town continues to have many wooded areas and open meadows and pastures.  And our residential areas have many cul-de-sac streets, which also limit any non-resident street traffic in our neighborhoods.

Second, we needed to require minimum one-acre residential lots.  This set our small town apart from the high density residential areas on either side of us, Lantana and Highland Village.  Both those towns have beautiful homes, but our homes are distinctive for the acre of space around each individual home.

Third, we honored our Equestrian Heritage.   Horses were welcome in Copper Canyon, but with a reasonable limit of the number of horses per acre.  And, we negotiated a multi-year Agreement with the Corps of Engineers for Copper Canyon to maintain the treasured Trails on Corps land, as long as they remained for the use of only equestrians and pedestrians.  From a safety standpoint, horses and their riders did not blend well with bicycles and motorized vehicles.  NOTE:  June Tyler, Deb Valencia-Schmitz, and Karen Mangum were key players in these negotiations.

Fourth, we needed to emphasize “no commercial business areas” in Copper Canyon for the present.  But later Steve Hill’s calculations made us realize the need for sales taxes from commercial to broaden the Town’s tax base.  This would allow the Town to maintain its low tax rate for our homeowners.

(4) Denton County Emergency Services District #1:

When I first became Mayor of Copper Canyon 12 years ago, our former Mayor Larry Johnson, said “Sue, our small town cannot provide quality fire and emergency medical protection to our residents.”  So, I asked Steve Hill to do a Five Year and Ten Year Budget Estimate for those services.   He did.  His conclusion was, without a MASSIVE TAX INCREASE, Copper Canyon is too small to single handedly provide quality fire and emergency medical services to our residents.

Thus was born the concept of the Denton County Emergency Services District #1.  ESD #1 was overwhelmingly passed in 2006 by 62% of the voters in the 65 square miles of the District, including five small towns and unincorporated areas of Denton County like Canyon Oaks.  ESD #1 funds our own Argyle Fire District!

Current ESD #1 Board Members are Jim Carter, Pres.; Jay Haynes, M.D. Vice Pres.; Steve Harris, Secretary; Jon Donahue, Treas., and Chris Amarante, Asst. Treasurer.

(5) FM 407 Town Center – Effect of Residential Density in the FM 407 Town Center on Future Taxes of Current Homeowners:

Steve Hill spent over four months calculating the effect of various residential densities in the approximately 200 acre Town Center on FM 407 on the future tax rates of Copper Canyon’s current homeowners to maintain roads.  He looked at maintaining our minimum one-acre residential lot size.  But, this would require huge tax increases in the future on all our homeowners. With property taxes on an estimated three homes per acre in the Town Center, the remaining homeowners in Copper Canyon would NOT see an increase in property taxes to maintain our roads.  Lots larger than a third acre in the Town Center would require a substantial increase in property taxes from current homeowners in the rest of Copper Canyon to maintain our roads.

Having these kinds of reliable predictive property tax evaluations is invaluable for our Town!  Thank you so much, Steve!

In Conclusion:  If you have read this far, I hope you realize the incredible positive impact Steve Hill has had on our Town.  Nothing major, financially or otherwise, has been done without his significant input.  And, he volunteers his time and financial expertise every single month!

Steve’s international business travel schedule is very demanding.  And, he has told me for several years, “Sue, I can’t be there for every Council Meeting, and if you need me to resign I will.   But, I will still monitor the Town’s financials, even if I am no longer a Council Member.”  And, I gratefully respond, “Thank you, Steve – but, PLEASE stay on Council!”

I sincerely hope, as a Copper Canyon homeowner, you agree with me.  Probably 75% of the Town’s important business occurs between Council Meetings – such as monthly budget reviews of our Pro Forma Budget.  Maybe 25% of Town business is transacted at our monthly Council Meetings.  Residents’ feedback is both at Council Meetings and in between Council Meetings.

Did You Know that

  • Clean energy brings jobs!

In early 2016 solar and wind power accounted for 475,000 U.S. jobs, nearly three times more than coal – according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Oil – – – – – – –  515,518
Solar – – – – –  -373,807
Natural gas – – 362,118
Coal – – – – – –  160,119   (only 60,000 are miners)
Bioenergy – – -130,677
Wind – – – – – – 101,738
Nuclear – – – – – 76,771

In May Facebook opened a Fort Worth data center powered entirely by wind.  In Arlington, the giant GM assembly plant is planning to get all its electricity from renewable sources by next year.  [Dallas Morning News 6/6/2017]

  • Energy Star rated Appliances – a 25 year old outstanding program!

Hundreds of businesses are joining environmentalists and energy groups to save Energy Star from presidential budget cuts.  Though it takes up only $50 million of the annual Department of Energy budget, this federal program is credited with saving consumers more than $30 BILLION a year in energy costs!  [The Kiplinger Letter, May 26, 2017]

  • More states are making Voter Registration AUTOMATIC when a Resident Applies for a Driver’s License!

Roughly a quarter of eligible voters nationwide aren’t registered.  In 2017, at least 30 states have taken up legislation that would promote automatic voter registration with application for a Driver’s License.  Alaska, California, Connecticut, Vermont, and West Virginia have recently adopted similar laws.  Illinois and Massachusetts may be next. 

  • NAFTA: 14 million U.S. jobs rely on this cross-border flow of Trade
    Canada ranks FIRST in combined imports and exports; Mexico is #3. THIRTY of the 50 states count Canada or Mexico as their top trade partner. [The Kiplinger Letter, May 5, 2017]
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About The Author

Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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