Many great things have happened within the first 100 days of a new administration. Roosevelt passed the Emergency Banking Act, Kennedy created the Peace Corps, and Reagan initiated a series of tax cuts and spending reductions under an economic program that would later bear his name. Unfortunately, such progress is a rarity within the first 100 days of a local government agenda. Bureaucracy and politics often impede work and delay much needed progress, but in pursuing an aggressive agenda, NFL, along with Tom Hayden and other members of council, have addressed desired policy revisions, pressing community health issues, and needed transportation updates, and we’re in the process of finalizing a balanced budget in one of the most difficult economies on record. With a majority of its members working together to address a wide variety of community needs, this Town Council is on track to be one of the most productive in Flower Mound’s history.
Urban Gas Drilling
As mandated by Flower Mound voters, one of the first issues we have been faced with in our first 100 days has been the concerns surrounding urban gas drilling. In our first full council meeting, we ratified the petition submitted by 6,000 voters that was not approved by the previous council. With it we enacted a 180-day moratorium on applications for specific use permits related to centralized collection facilities, enacted a 90-day moratorium on acceptance of all applications for new gas drilling operations, and appointed the Oil and Gas Advisory Board to evaluate the Town’s oil and gas ordinances. We also worked with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to install a 24-hour, permanent air monitoring station in Flower Mound, that provides continuous online air quality measurements, and approved a resolution supporting the Federal Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act.
This is not to say that we have not had disappointments. Unfortunately, by the time we got our hands on the wheel, the gas drilling ship had already sailed and we had no ability to call it back to port. When this Town Council took office, several gas drilling-related projects were already vested and underway to a point that we could not have a positive affect on their outcome, even with enacting the moratorium and aggressive changes in our current oil and gas ordinance. While I could go into great detail about what did or did not happen prior to the swearing in of our new administration, negative rhetoric regarding previous Town Council Members and their actions would serve no productive purpose. But this administration shares the deep frustration of a majority of our residents as we are working diligently to safeguard our community. What is important to know is that the responsible and legal regulation of natural gas drilling will continue to be a priority for this Town Council for the duration of our service to Flower Mound.
Building on the community involvement momentum that began during the election, we have created several new boards and committees to ensure residents have an increased voice in their government. A new sign regulations stakeholders committee is reviewing the sign ordinance, the Mayor’s Committee on Environmental Sustainability will take us into the future, and the Mayor’s Committee on Code Enforcement is charged with helping maintain high standards for our neighborhoods and community. In addition, we created Town Council sub-committees to ensure that council members have specific municipal areas of responsibility in which to participate in and provide recommendations to the entire council.
Conservative Financial Leadership
Like many other elected officials who were re-elected or took office in May, this council inherited a potential shortfall of $1.9 million and immediate financial and budgeting challenges that required attention within our first 100 days. Faced with one of the most difficult economies in our history, we have approached the 2010 – 2011 budget with a goal of maintaining quality services and infrastructure for our residents without even considering a property tax rate increase. Through reduced spending, increased productivity and efficiency, the use of grants and external funding sources, and the refinancing of bonds, the Town Council and staff have balanced the budget and will continue practicing conservative financial management well into the future.
Providing quality Police and Fire services is the cornerstone of any municipal agenda and we have no intention of minimizing the importance of these key programs. During our first 100 days in office, the Town continued to decrease Police and Fire Department response times, obtained a new brush fire truck utilizing a Texas Forest Service Grant and a park and trail Electric Powered Street Legal Utility Patrol Vehicle (similar to our own NFL Express) utilizing criminal seizure funds, and completed 204 annual fire inspections, which is more than the total for 2008 and 2009 combined.
Transportation and Facility Improvements, and Town Limits
For most of us, a daily commute is a part of our routine that greatly impacts the other portions of our lives. Recognizing this, the new Town Council enacted an aggressive transportation improvement schedule that will benefit drivers who are making local trips as well as those who travel to jobs and other destinations within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. We began construction of Garden Ridge, from FM 3040 to Spinks Road, Flower Mound Road to a four-lane roadway from Skillern to FM 1171, Flower Mound Road pavement improvements from Old Settlers to near FM 2499, and we also awarded the construction bid for expansion of Dixon Lane east of FM 2499. In addition, we began the process of converting the old Town Hall into a temporary free-standing senior center and opened Fire Station #5, located in southern Flower Mound on Spinks Road, and began the annexation process for a remainder of the Town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
The voters also spoke loud and clear during the election in letting us know that a clear change in direction in the implementation of town policy was also needed. Flower Mound residents deserve elected leadership that listens to and incorporates community feedback into each and every decision that is made at Town Hall. In doing so, we have made a clear distinction between Morriss/Gerault Phase 1 and Phase 2 in the Capital Improvement Plan, amended the policy for establishing 25 mph speed limits on residential streets, and re-authorized the Town’s curfew ordinance for residents under the age of 17. A policy of boosted support for the business community and economic development has also been implemented as we have generated new jobs and helped to balance the tax base by welcoming more than 26 new businesses to Flower Mound during this time. Our Mayor, Melissa Northern, along with Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce leadership are personally visiting and meeting with the businesses in our community that are so vital to the economic success of our town.
While exhaustive and often challenging, the first 100 days of this Town Council have also been productive and rewarding for me. Our efforts and achievements are beginning to garner regional, state, and national recognition for Flower Mound and reestablish the Town as one of the best communities in North Texas to live, work, and play. We were recently recognized by the Texas Municipal League and other organizations as a Certified Scenic City, ranked number eight by D Magazine on the Best Dallas Suburb list, and named the number 14 top earning town in the nation by CNNMoney and Money Magazine. I will continue to work with our Mayor, the Town Council, staff, resident boards and commissions, and community volunteers to ensure that Flower Mound remains a town in which our residents are proud to call home. And, as al
ways, I appreciate your patience and continuing support. Please continue to send me your comments and concerns at [email protected].
Mayor Pro Tem
Town of Flower Mound
The following list outlines accomplishments of the Flower Mound Town Council since May 17, 2010:
Oil and Gas
• Worked with TCEQ to locate a permanent 24-hour autoGC air monitoring station at Fire Station #2 in Flower Mound
• Enacted a 180-day moratorium on applications for SUPs related to centralized collection facilities
• Enacted a 90-day moratorium on acceptance of all applications for new gas drilling operations, which may be extended in 45-day increments
• Approved a resolution supporting the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act
• Appointed Oil and Gas Advisory Board to evaluate Town’s oil and gas ordinances
• Appointed Sign Regulations Stakeholders Committee to review Town sign ordinance
• Created the Mayor’s Committee on Environmental Sustainability
• Created the Mayor’s Committee on Code Enforcement
• Created Council sub-committees and designated each council member for assignment
Finance and Outside Funding Sources
• Ensured no property tax rate increase by approving a maximum tax rate of $0.4497
• Approved issuance of General Obligation bond refunding with present value savings of $940,551 and an annual average savings of $96,070 from fiscal years 2011-2021
• Obtained an additional $2.5 million in Regional Toll Revenue funding for the Morriss/Gerault Phase 1 project
• Obtained approximately $3 million from the Regional Transportation Council for roadway construction to extend Windsor, install a signal at the Windsor and FM 2499 intersection, and build a hike and bike trail to connect Bridlewood to the development
• Completed 204 annual fire inspections during June and July 2010, which is more than the total for 2008 and 2009 combined
• Obtained a brush truck valued at $80,000 through a Texas Forest Service grant
• Oversaw continuing decrease in Police and Fire Department response times
• Purchased an Electric Powered Utility Vehicle with seizure funds for the Police Department to more efficiently patrol parks and trails
Road Improvements, Facility Construction, and Land
• Awarded the construction bid for expansion of Dixon Lane east of FM 2499
• Began construction of Garden Ridge, from FM 3040 to Spinks Road
• Began reconstruction of Flower Mound Road to a four-lane roadway from Skillern to FM 1171
• Began full pavement reconstruction of Flower Mound Road from Old Settlers to 300 feet west of FM 2499
• Began process of converting the old Town Hall building to a temporary free-standing senior center
• Opened Fire Station #5, located in southern Flower Mound on Spinks Road
• Began annexation process for remainder of the Town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction
• Made a clear distinction between Morriss/Gerault Phase 1 and Phase 2 in the Capital Improvement Plan
• Amended the policy for establishing 25 mph speed limits on residential streets
• Re-authorized the Town’s curfew ordinance for residents under the age of 17
• Welcomed 26 new businesses to Flower Mound
• Obtained the status of a Certified Scenic City
• Ranked number eight in D Magazine’s biennial Best Dallas Suburb list
• Named number 14 top earning town in the nation by CNNMoney / Money Magazine