March was an active month for your Town Council and staff, and April is shaping up to be no different. A continually evolving legislative session, a vibrant economic development environment, and numerous capital improvement and transportation projects are keeping us busy. We also launched the 2011-2012 budget season, which is sure to be challenging but we are taking steps to not be in the same deficit position that we were in when I came into office.
The Town successfully concluded two court cases in March with a victory in a major federal housing practices lawsuit and a dropped pipeline lawsuit. In a lawsuit filed against the Town by The Inclusive Communities Project (ICP) of Dallas, United States District Judge Michael Schneider ruled on March 29 that the Town’s housing practices do not violate the federal Fair Housing Act. In an unrelated legal issue, TNT Pipeline Corporation dropped a lawsuit on March 22 that had been filed against the Town regarding a pipeline construction project where the contractor hit an Atmos gas line. Contending that the Town owed approximately $200,000 more than the contract provided for, TNT was attempting to recover its costs associated with that conflict between lines. These achievements are the latest in a trend of victories for our legal team.
The Flower Mound Police Department was awarded one of law enforcement’s most prestigious certifications on March 26 when the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) honored the agency with Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation. Less than ten percent of police departments across the country have received the accreditation, and Flower Mound is one of only 22 municipal law enforcement agencies in Texas to receive the honor.
In unanimously awarding accreditation to the FMPD, CALEA officials cited well-defined policies and procedures, the community policing program, the Citizen Public Safety Patrol, and the strength of the department’s employees and their commitment to the community as outstanding attributes. During the self-assessment phase of the accreditation process, the department reviewed all applicable CALEA standards and adjusted its own policies and procedures as necessary. In total, the FMPD complied with 464 CALEA standards. A team of CALEA assessors visited Flower Mound in December 2010 to conduct an on-site assessment of all FMPD procedures and policies, and review regulation compliance.
The Oil and Gas Ordinance review process continues to progress. The Town Council is in receipt of the Oil and Gas Board’s proposed updates and is currently researching the outstanding items that were not addressed. Staff is hosting a public comment period from April 1 through April 18 to solicit feedback regarding these outstanding items. Members of the community are invited to review the items by viewing the Town Council Presentation at www.flower-mound.com and submit feedback regarding the Board’s amendment proposal by email to [email protected].
In addition, the Town will host community meetings on April 7 at the Central Fire Station, 3838 Forums Drive, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and on April 12 at Fire Station No. 2, 4401 Shiloh Road, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to solicit public comment regarding the proposed amendments. Please call 972.874.6348 for additional information.
I’m excited to help the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound celebrate its one-year anniversary of serving the community on Saturday, April 30. The free celebration will include crime prevention with McGruff, a teddy-bear clinic, helicopter viewings, a healthy kids workshop, free blood pressure and heart rate checks, healthy cooking demonstrations, refreshments, and musical entertainment by Breaking Southwest.
In additional economic development news, more than 11 new Flower Mound businesses opened their doors in March including Ad Art, Inc., Concord Medical Group, The Pool Techs, Boda Financial Group, Inc., T & L Distributing, Sears Driving School, Concord Medical Group, Mohawk Industries, Inc., Lone Star Veterinary Clinic, Cartridge World, and O’Rourke Sales Company.
As the 82nd State Legislative session is now in full swing, Flower Mound continues to actively participate in the process as bills progress through committees to both the House and the Senate. At the March 21 Town Council meeting, the Council passed resolutions in support of two bills introduced by our State Representative Tan Parker – HB 2125 and HB 2126. These bills would provide for more inspections of oil and gas wells in counties with a population of 650,000 or more and would also double the penalty for violations related to gas wells that occur in populous natural gas producing counties.
Additionally, a resolution in opposition of HB 3105, a bill related to the applicability of the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act to certain governmental actions, was passed. As presented, HB 3105 would make a municipal regulation that damages, destroys, impairs, or prohibits development of a mineral interest subject to the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act.
While the Town is clearly supportive of personal property rights, HB 3105 is vague and also appears to provide that natural gas drilling activities must be permitted anywhere in a municipality regardless of the health or other effects of such drilling activities, regardless of the distance of such drilling activities from homes, schools, hospitals, public buildings, water wells and many other similar uses of property or the municipality may be subject to suit for a damaging, destruction, impairment, or prohibition of development of a mineral interest.
These are just a few of the bills we are responding to and watching. We will continue to monitor, support, and oppose legislation that impacts Flower Mound and have remained in close contact with our legislative delegation to ensure our voice is heard.
The Town Council and staff greatly appreciate your patience while an extraordinary number of Flower Mound’s roads are under construction. Surviving the inconvenience created by these construction projects can be a challenge, but the resulting transportation improvements and alleviation of traffic delays in our community is a payoff that is well worth the wait. Dixon Lane, Flower Mound Road, FM 407, FM 1171, Garden Ridge Road, Hamlett Lane, the Morriss Road/Gerault Road corridor, and Windsor Lane are all currently being improved.
In addition, the columns for the Gerault Road / FM 2499 flyover have been installed. Once complete, the flyover will greatly improve traffic flow to and from the DFW connector project and the rest of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex. As these road projects evolve, they are continually evaluated and our town staff always ensures they are conducted with the least amount of impact on the community as possible. For example, we were recently able to keep two lanes open on Flower Mound Road and Dixon Lane while the new road was under construction as a convenience to motorists. Many of these projects were funded with external or dedicated monies, including TIRZ and sales tax dollars which are partially funded by non-Flower Mound residents, and external funds including Denton County Bonds.
Did You Know
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml and I joined several other Denton County Mayors on March 23 in volunteering with Mayors for Meals 2011, a Special Programs for Aging Needs of Denton County program that delivers meals to senior citizens throughout the area. I was honored to visit the homes of some of our Flower Mound residents and provide them with a hot lunch.
Two major parks projects are currently underway in Flower Mound. Located between Gerault Park and Bakersfield Park, the Wilson-Carmel Community Park is being designed to consist of active and passive ameni
ties including multi-use trails, picnic benches and pavilions, and an amphitheater. Work is also underway on Twin Coves Park, located on Lake Grapevine. Once complete, the 243-acre park will include day-use facilities, overnight facilities, and a boat ramp. We are excited that the Town of Flower Mound can provide residents with this lake access for the first time using 4B dedicated sales tax dollars, which are also partially funded through purchases made by non-Flower Mound residents.
As an ongoing Economic Development Retention and Expansion Program, Melissa Glasgow and I recently had the opportunity to visit with representatives of AutoMedx, a new company within the Lakeside Business District. AutoMedx supplies medical equipment to the Armed Services. They are a great addition to the community.
The Flower Mound Police Department offers a free home inspection service that can help protect homes and provide savings on homeowner insurance premiums. Once a resident contacts the Police Department and schedules an appointment, a Flower Mound Police Officer will provide a complete security survey of the home. After all security criteria have been met, the Police Officer will then submit appropriate paperwork to the Department of Insurance, which could result in a reduction of up to 20 percent from homeowners’ insurance premiums. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 972.874.3357.
The Town is hosting several special events in April and May including the Annual Easter Egg Scramble at Jake’s Hilltop Park and the Keep Flower Mound Beautiful Electronic Waste Recycling Event on April 16, the Underwater Easter Egg Hunt at the CAC on April 23, Kidfish at Rheudasil Park on May 7, and a Family Camp Out on May 14 at Gerault Park. Please visit www.flower-mound.com and review the special events page for a complete listing.
The Town of Flower Mound General Election for Town Council seats one, three, and five is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 14. Early voting by personal appearance will occur May 2 through May 10. Eligible Denton County Registered Voters may cast their vote at a variety of early voting locations, but voting on Election Day must occur in your precinct. Visit www.flower-mound.com/voting/elections.php for a complete list of voting locations and additional election information.
With all of these projects underway, the next couple of months will prove to be crucial in Flower Mound’s future. The Oil and Gas Well drilling ordinance update process will be coming to fruition, several major road and park projects will significantly progress, and we will work through a proposed budget for next year that continues to provide an excellent level of service while also maintaining the current ad valorem tax rate. Keeping an eye on the financial bottom line, the Town Council, staff, and I are continuing to move forward with an aggressive agenda that always places resident health, safety, and welfare at the forefront.