In September, the town council approved the budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which means some great projects are on the way for our residents.
While all projects will benefit residents in various ways, here are some of the projects that are worth noting:
Property Tax Rate: The property tax rate remains unchanged at $0.4390 per $100 valuation and remains one of the lowest property tax rates in the Metroplex. Last year, the council approved the lowering of the property tax rate to the current rate, which is the lowest it has been in 30 years due to strong economic development performances and conservative fiscal practices.
Public Safety: The town continues to invest and prioritize public safety. This year, public safety expenditures account for approximately 44 percent of the budget. Some project highlights include the construction of a temporary fire station No. 6, near Canyon Falls, to prepare for the opening of the new Argyle ISD middle school near this neighborhood in August 2016. Once the permanent fire station is constructed, the temporary facility will be turned into the town’s western operations and maintenance facility. We will also hire 12 additional firefighters and a fire inspector to handle Flower Mound’s needs. The police department will purchase its first body cameras, equipping on-duty uniformed officers, including our school resource officers. The police department will also be upgrading its communications, or dispatch center infrastructure from analog to digital. This change will provide enhanced communications and increase our capabilities to communicate with other digital communication centers such as Denton County, Lewisville and Highland Village.
Street Projects: The town will spend approximately $6.2 million on street projects next year. One of the largest project is the new right-hand turn lane on the eastbound side FM 1171, to turn south onto Long Prairie Road (FM 2499). Other major projects include Stonecrest Road, the redesign of Waketon Road, and the reconstruction of Forest Vista Drive, Woodbine Street and Yucca Drive. All street reconstruction projects are made possible through our dedicated sales revenues, which have increased significantly over the past few years due to strong economic growth in Flower Mound.
Park Projects: Two of the largest capital improvement projects the town will undertake for fiscal year 2015-16 are phase 3 of Heritage Park and the pond dredging and bank stabilization of Rheudasil and Wilkerson ponds. Both projects are vital to our park system and are great gathering areas for our families to enjoy. Heritage Park phase 3 will include a splash pad, rustic pavilion, additional restrooms and parking and a natural rain garden. Rheudasil and Wilkerson ponds have had sediment and debris settle on the bottom of the pond, threatening the aquatic health of the pond. Therefore, it is time to conduct mechanical dredging to restore the pond’s natural bottom. Going hand-in-hand with dredging, bank stabilization is performed to turn steep slopes into gradual inclines leading up to the water’s edge, increasing accessibility to residents looking to fish or simply relax, while also minimizing erosion, which only contributes to the sediment buildup of a given pond. Fish and other aquatic life will not be impacted during these projects.
Tree Survey: The council approved a tree survey of all the town’s trees on public land. The data staff collects will serve as an inventory of the trees we have, including the species, and will help provide a foundation for a management plan. This will also be helpful to determine what trees we lose in any potential natural disaster or accident, such as the trees lost at Twin Coves Park due to recent flooding.
Water/Wastewater/Stormwater Projects: While not as exciting as maybe our park projects, water and wastewater upgrades are necessary to maintain the health and infrastructure of our community. Over the next year, crews will be installing important water lines throughout town to complete missing gaps that increase the reliability of the system. It is also time to rehab the Bruton Orand western elevated storage tank, which was completed nearly 20 years ago. Our wastewater treatment facility is also due for a new sludge and solid-handling facility. There will be three major storm water projects focusing on creek bank stabilizations.
Town Employee Raises: The council also approved a 3 percent raise for our town employees. Their countless hours of dedication and hard work often goes unnoticed, as they work to complete tasks and accomplish goals behind the scenes. It is important to ensure we keep our quality workforce in Flower Mound at a competitive pay rate.
Please note many of these projects were expanded or expedited due to increased sales tax revenue. As you may know, the town voted to authorize four, one-quarter-cent sales tax revenue dedicated for parks and recreation, street maintenance, crime control, and fire control.
The 2015-16 fiscal year approved budget includes $21.5 million in sales tax revenue, including $10.7 million in dedicated sales tax dollars. Without additional sales tax revenue, these projects would be funded through our general fund or even postponed until the funds were available. However, our growing sales tax collection is providing the necessary funds for these important projects in a timely manner.
If you’d like to check out the town’s entire 2015-16 budget, please visit www.flower-mound.com/index.aspx?nid=314.