Saturday, May 25, 2024

News from Double Oak Town Hall — May 2023

Double Oak Mayor Mike Donnelly

Hello Double Oak Neighbors,

As I write this column, early voting is underway for citizens to cast their ballot to elect a mayor and two town council members. Running for election is not easy. It takes commitment and dedication to go through the entire campaign process. The candidates in this election cycle have been busy knocking on doors, talking to voters about their ideas, participating in candidate forums and general campaigning.

I want to acknowledge and congratulate Mayoral candidates Patrick Johnson and Jean Hillyer, as well as Town Council candidates Mike Gwartney, Ginger Brittain, Pat Wellen and Lisa Miller on their campaigns for elected office. These candidates, their family and supporters have walked lots of miles, literally knocked on every door and worked hard to get their respective campaign message out to the voters.

Now, it is up to the Double Oak voters to decide who wins the election. The town traditionally has a great turnout of voters in all elections. Your local municipal and school board elections are very important and have the greatest impact on your daily lives. When one casts their vote, that’s something very special. Go vote on Election Day, Saturday, May 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Double Oak Town Hall.

The town will communicate and post the unofficial election results from the Denton County Elections website, votedenton.gov, after Denton County Elections has posted the results.

The newly elected Mayor and Town Council will be sworn-in and take office at the council meeting on Monday, May 15, at 7 p.m.

Thank you to the candidates for running to serve the town. Congratulations to those who will win the election. The town wishes the new mayor and council blessings and success.

With elections and changes on town council, it is also a time to say thanks to outgoing council members.

Scott Whisenhunt was first elected to town council in May of 2017. He has held the positions of Council Member, Deputy Mayor-Pro Tem and Mayor Pro-Tem. He has always been a leader on the council and in the town. I often say there is no one that I am aware of who volunteers more than Scott. He not only gives his time serving on town council, but he also serves as the Fire Chief for the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department. And, if that’s not enough, Scott is the Emergency Management Coordinator for the town. Oh yeah, and he works full time in his professional career. The citizens, town and employees have been well served by Scott during his time on council. During his town council tenure, the town has reduced its property tax rate, enacted a property tax ceiling and local property tax exemption, strengthened its balance sheet and was recognized in 2020 as the Safest City in Texas.

In his role as Fire Chief, the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department has increased its firefighter membership and improved training and certification. Speaking of saving citizens money, Fire Chief Whisenhunt along with the DOVFD leadership and firefighters achieved an Insurance Services Office Class 2 ISO rating. This reflects fire service readiness and preparedness to protect the Double Oak community. This superior rating helps to lower the cost of homeowner’s insurance.

Scott, on behalf of the town, we offer our sincerest appreciation and thanks to you and your wonderful family for all of your service. You have helped make Double Oak a great place to call home.

Casey Garrison Parsons won election to town council in May of 2021. She immediately embraced her council role and worked for the betterment of the town.

Her experience and knowledge with finances has been a great asset to the town. I have admired Casey’s strength and toughness when it comes to town management. She comes to meetings prepared and is able to address questions from citizens, council and staff. She is one of the best and most thorough researchers I have seen on town council. I respect her perspectives and opinions. Casey is known for asking, “How can I help and what can I do?”

During Casey’s council term, the town adopted balanced budgets, reduced its tax rate, adopted a property tax ceiling and local property tax exemption. She has assisted Town Treasurer Billie Garrett when called upon. Casey has a huge caring heart for the town’s First Responders and has supported requests from the town’s public safety departments. Town Administration has enjoyed working with her during her term.

Casey has been a valuable member of the Double Oak Town Council. We all owe her and her family our gratitude and thanks. The town is set up for future success because of her efforts.

Thank you Scott Whisenhunt and Casey Garrison Parsons for your honored service on the Double Oak Town Council. Your service has made the town a better place.

National Police Week

RESPECT. HONOR. REMEMBER.

National Police Week is Sunday, May 14, to Saturday, May 20.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week as National Police Week. National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

The Double Oak Police Department and the Town of Double Oak community sadly lost three police officers in 2022.

Double Oak shall always remember Double Oak Police Officer John Mestas, Double Oak Police Officer Lonnie Sneed and Double Oak Police Detective Clint Murphy.

Memorial stones for the three police officers have been placed in the Mayor Tom Pidcock Flagpole Memorial located at Town Hall.

Officer Lonnie Sneed’s name was added to the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Wall in Austin in April. Officer John Mestas’ name will be added in April of 2024.

Their names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial during this year’s National Police Week.

Whenever you see our Double Oak firefighters and police officers in the community, give them a smile, a wave and tell them thanks for their service. 

Former Denton County Judge Passes 

Judge Mary Horn, 77, recently passed away peacefully at her home. She served as Denton County Tax Assessor before becoming the Denton County Judge and serving from 2002 through 2018.

Judge Horn assisted the Town of Double Oak many times just as she did for other cities and towns in Denton County during her tenure of service. She leaves a legacy that will continue to benefit Denton County residents for years to come.

Double Oak extends its condolences and offers our thoughts and prayers to her husband Jim and the Horn family and friends. Together, Mary and Jim raised a wonderful family and have lots of precious grandkids.

Mary was a close friend to Treva and me. We will miss her but have fond memories.

Memorial Stones Honor Town Servants

Memorial stones have been placed in the Mayor Tom Pidcock Flagpole Memorial for former Mayor Dick Cook, his wife Georgette Cook, who was a longtime Planning and Zoning Commission Member, and for former Mayor Chuck Bimmerle. Each contributed to the development of Double Oak.

On Saturday, June 17, members of the Cook family will be in town. A community gathering is being planned by the town and the Double Oak Women’s Club. Put this on your calendar and stay tuned for further information including event time.

Town’s 50th Anniversary Logo Contest

The town’s 50th Anniversary is coming up in 2024 and as part of the celebration the Anniversary Planning Committee is kicking off a logo design contest. The Double Oak 50th Anniversary logo design competition is meant to be a fun and community-minded activity open to all ages. We want to see the creativity of our citizens and how you would show what makes Double Oak a great place to live. To learn more about the Town’s 50th Anniversary, please visit the Town website doubleoak.texas.gov. Click on Government and then Committees for the Logo Contest Submittal information.

Congratulations to the Marcus Lady Marauders Soccer Team

The Town of Double Oak congratulates the Edward S. Marcus High School Lady Marauders on winning the 2023 Texas UIL 6A Girls Soccer State Championship.

Town of Double Oak Approves Homestead Property Tax Exemption

On April 3, the Double Oak Town Council unanimously approved a new Double Oak Homestead Property Tax Exemption of 1%; $5,000 minimum. The approved town ordinance has been filed with the Denton Central Appraisal District. As a homeowner, if you have an active homestead exemption on file with DCAD the new local homestead exemption will be added. If you do not have an active homestead exemption on file with DCAD you will need to contact DCAD to fill out the appropriate paperwork.

Speaking of the Denton Central Appraisal District…

Homeowners in Double Oak and across Denton County are receiving their 2023 Notice of Appraised Value. Appraisals continue to skyrocket. Make sure, as a homeowner, you are receiving all the property tax exemptions you are eligible for. There is a Description of Exemptions information sheet in the appraisal notice envelope. Pay very close attention to the information in the notice about how to protest the appraisal and the Deadline for filing a protest.

State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) 2nd Annual Report

The second annual report was prepared and sent to the U.S. Treasury on April 30. This financial annual report will include the Premium Pay and related distribution that was given to town employees which totals more than $250,000. The reports will be available for viewing once completed.

The town provides fiscal year revenue/expense data and balance sheet reports in meeting agendas so residents can stay informed. There is $373,762.27 of SLFRF funds remaining in the town’s account as of April 27.

Thanks from Code Enforcement 

Thank you to property owners for mowing, removing dead trees, repairing damaged fences and removing debris from your property. Code Enforcement will continue to follow-up with those who have received notices but not yet responded. If you have a code enforcement complaint, please contact the Code Enforcement Officer at town hall.

Farewell from Mayor Mike Donnelly

This will be my final column as mayor. I want to thank everyone for the opportunity you gave me, again, to serve the town. I have enjoyed working once again with all of the town employees, town council and departments. I hope residents have enjoyed the monthly columns and Friday Communications.

We have worked together on five basic principles that residents have expressed over the years and we have had success: 1. Low Taxes; 2. Debt Free; 3. Safe Community; 4. Minimum One-Acre Estate Home Lots; 5. Good Commercial Development that fits Double Oak’s Character. Those 5 basic principles are still here today in Double Oak.

Double Oak is a small town where folks live and work together. It is a community where neighbors care about one another. It is a wonderful place to call home.

That is what I think makes Double Oak so special.

Best wishes and blessings to you,
God Bless Double Oak
Mayor Mike

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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