In the wake of sudden resignations by Bartonville Mayor Ron Robertson and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farrell on Nov. 19, Robertson spoke with The Cross Timbers Gazette to explain why he made the decision to step down.
A special election to fill two vacant council places was held on November 5. The two candidates elected were Jeff Traylor and Gary Marco, both proponents of not expanding the town’s police force.
On the night Traylor and Marco were sworn in, following the executive session of the November 19 regular town council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Farrell and Mayor Ron Robertson turned in their resignations.
“At first, during the executive session, it seemed like we could move forward and all work together,” said Robertson in a phone interview. “Then, once we went into the open session the dialogue changed and it was clear there was no middle ground. It was all about a group of people who don’t have the same feelings I do for Bartonville, with different values and who want to take the town in a different direction. They have a set agenda, period. So, after Jim Farrell resigned I just gave it up. I can’t be part of stupid.”
Robertson served on council for 13 years, 11-1/2 as mayor. Under his leadership, Bartonville has attained the lowest tax rate in Denton County with zero debt and the highest property valuations. Lantana Town Center, a new $80 million shopping complex under development with a Kroger Signature store, two banks, a 24-hour gas station and five restaurants, is expected to earn $400,000 in sales tax revenue per year.
Robertson said that while the town’s boundaries are protected, Bartonville will be affected by outside influences. To that end, the Bartonville Police Department, established in 2007, had grown to meet the law enforcement demands that are anticipated. He added that trying “to dilute, destroy or eliminate the town police department and return to coverage by the Denton County Constables” isn’t realistic.
“They want to return to 1980 and it’s not possible,” said Robertson. “They don’t want us [Bartonville’s police officers] to answer calls from Lantana or anywhere else, but that’s part of a mutual aid agreement with Denton County.”
He added that the sheriff’s department has already said they will not provide coverage and that depending on the constables’ coverage via a first-called, first-served basis is going to have a pronounced impact on response time.
“The future will finish the story,” said Robertson. “Bartonville is a desired place to live and now they are trying to destroy that and it’s a shame.”