As your Mayor of 9 years, I feel it is my responsibility to respond to recent erroneous comments by candidates in the upcoming May election. First of all, had these candidates ever come to a Town Council meeting before filing for a place on the ballot, or looked at an email newsletter, or asked a Councilmember, they would not be so misinformed. Regardless of the outcome of this election you need to know the facts.
· The town council voted to purchase the former Lantana Gardens site to maintain our rural atmosphere and preserve what has historically been considered “Downtown” Bartonville. We paid cash for that corner, did not go into debt, because the cash did not come from property tax or sales tax. In 2004 we created a Capital Improvement Fund with the proceeds from an ETJ Agreement with Flower Mound. We held that money to use when the time was right. They are not making any more land and we had an opportunity to buy the corner. In the future, should Bartonville need a larger Town Hall or establish a Public Works Department, we will have secured the land to build on. Until that time, we have discussed using the property and buildings for a community center. Prior to making this purchase, we paid cash for an acre of land behind Town Hall in order to expand our parking lot and again to control the use of the land around us.
· We did NOT double our debt. We issued short term tax notes to pay for rebuilding and realigning Stoney Ridge Road to alleviate flooding problems in that area. We also rebuilt Seals Road and did an overlay of East Jeter Road. The tax notes were issued at an extremely low interest rate. Why not use someone else’s money to pay for these improvements? We did the same thing when we paid for a new larger fire bay, install much needed fire hydrants in the Stonewood Addition and made major drainage improvements to the Loving Branch on East Jeter Road. By making those improvements the residents of Bartonville enjoy a much lower insurance rating and no longer have to worry that East Jeter Road will collapse in front of Town Hall. We have already paid those first notes off without once raising the tax rate. There is only one other town in all of Denton County that has a lower tax rate, and that is Westlake Texas. This is their first year to collect taxes and they set their rate at $.15/$100. Our tax rate is $.19294/$100 and has been for the past five years. And by the way, through sound conservative planning and spending habits, Bartonville has a General Fund Reserve Fund of over $500,000. Eight years ago, there was NO reserve fund, a low insurance rating, a functional town hall, or a police department.
· I don’t recall ever holding an emergency council meeting in Bartonville. But if we ever do, I can assure you that we will post the agenda at least two hours before we meet, just as the laws of this state require. Only one thing the candidate is saying is correct. We did hold a meeting on a Sunday in December of 2010. It was not a secret meeting, not was it an emergency meeting. The agenda was posted on Thursday (72 hours) before we met on Sunday, as required by state law. Not only was the agenda posted at Town Hall, it was on our website that same day. I promise you one thing, if we ever do have an emergency, we will not wait 72 hours to meet. We held that Sunday meeting after many, many requests that week to meet with Flower Mound Officials. Each time staff called, they were told the same thing over and over, that they were not interested in a meeting to discuss ETJs or discuss possible compression stations. We had just received information that an unwanted land use (compression station) was being planned for that area. As of the date of the Sunday meeting no application had been filed. We felt we might have had a chance to curtail the impending industrial use if only Flower Mound would have accepted the ETJ release or enforced their ordinance. Contrary to what this candidate thinks, the Town of Flower Mound’s development regulations extend into their ETJ. That is in black and white in their code book. THEY choose not to enforce those regulations. After it was determined that Flower Mound would not help us and many of the area residents expressed interest in petitioning us for annexation, we decided to take the ETJ back. At least this way we could keep other unwanted land uses from
popping up or expanding. You see a General Law city like Bartonville cannot annex anyone except on petition by the majority of the registered voters in that area. Home Rule cities, like Flower Mound, can annex just about anything that moves without petition. We have always been willing to try everything within our power, to stop unwanted land uses. We did NOT cause the compression station to be located in our ETJ. But they would know all this if they had made the effort to become educated.
If I sound angry, it is because I am. I cannot tolerate rumor and a total disregard for facts from candidates who do not research the knowledge necessary to hold the office they are seeking. I urge you to vote for a team with a proven track record, one that has worked hard for years to keep Bartonville rural and maintain a low tax rate. Look at the background of their challengers. Do you really want someone on the Council who touts their experience in corporate America as qualification for office? Bartonville does not need go the way of corporate America. It needs to be the rural community we all love to come home to. What Bartonville really needs, now more than ever, is dedicated people protecting our way of life in Bartonville. I urge you to get out the vote for Carla Anderson, Bill Reaves and Ryan Litherland for Council. They have proven experience running a small town and will continue to represent YOUR INTERESTS by doing the right thing and whatever it may take to retain Bartonville’s current status. envied by other residents in surrounding communities.
Mayor Ron Robertson