Friday, June 21, 2024

Around Argyle — September 2023

Hello Argyle! It’s September, and school is in full swing once again. For many of you, this is the start of your child’s journey in one of Argyle’s fine teaching institutions. It’s a return to familiar ground for others, and for some, the beginning of a whole new chapter as our fine young men and women begin their next level of education beyond Argyle, head out into the workplace, or engage in some other adventure. Whatever the path ahead may be, know that the hearts and prayers of this amazing community are with them and with you.

Reflecting back on my family’s time here, it was the outstanding schools that initially attracted us to Argyle so many years ago. However, it was the unique combination with the beauty of the area, the small town feel, and the strong sense of community that sealed the deal. We are truly blessed to call Argyle home.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that so many have discovered this slice of paradise and have flocked to Argyle and the surrounding region. At the August Denton County Mayors Council meeting, which I had the honor of attending, County Judge Andy Eads reminded the group that Denton County surpassed the 1 million mark in residential population earlier this year. As of January 1, 2023, Denton County’s population was estimated at 1,006,492. With this in mind, it was only appropriate that the meeting’s keynote speaker was Eric Hutmacher, Director of the Office of Emergency Management. Mr. Hutmacher provided an outstanding overview of his office and the resources available to Argyle and our neighboring municipalities in the event of an emergency. It was reassuring, to say the least, and the common theme throughout the entire meeting was how much we can accomplish through teamwork and collaboration.

Speaking of teamwork, we are incredibly fortunate to have so many outstanding great people serving the citizens of Argyle. One recent addition to town staff is Jim Lang, who was named Argyle’s first full-time Director of the Municipal Development District (MDD). We are beyond excited to have Mr. Lang leading the MDD’s efforts to attract and retain the types of businesses and amenities that Argyle citizens desire and deserve. Having Mr. Lang in this role will help ensure our town continues to grow responsibly and in a way that serves the best interest of our residents.

In other economic development news, the developer who purchased “Johnny Joe’s” gas station and convenience store on US 377 requested and was granted a Specific Use Permit (SUP) by a majority vote of the Argyle Town Council for a child day care center. The center will be located in a former residence located on the East side of the property, and the plan for the former convenience store/gas station is to turn it into a restaurant. The restaurant is in the early planning stage and has not been formally approved yet.

I would be remiss in ending this column without commenting on the Town’s decision to roll out a new program to support our senior citizens directly. After all, who needs reliable sources and fact-checking when you can just trust the well-researched and completely unbiased world of social media for all your news and facts? Seriously.

The fact is, the Town of Argyle, and the majority of the members of this particular Town Council, has a long history of proudly supporting our senior citizens:

  • August 2021, Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance to freeze homestead taxes for qualified people who are 65 and older or those with disabilities for the 2022 tax year.
  • In December 2022, Council Member Schmidt and I championed the efforts to increase the homestead exemption for residents who are disabled or 65 years old or older from $100,000 to $150,000, beginning in the 2023 tax year. Town Council voted unanimously to approve it.
  • Last year, after hearing from the Argyle Senior Citizen’s Organization about interest in adding exercise classes and other activities, I personally championed an increase in their budget from $2,500 to $6,000 as a council member. Town Council voted unanimously to approve it.

Additionally, Town Council and Staff, along with Argyle PD have worked diligently for many years to support the regular activities of the seniors. This includes providing use of the Community Room for monthly luncheons, bingo, and other activities along with paying for meals and reimbursing expenses.

I am disheartened and disappointed by the recent discourse, and I am deeply saddened by the exaggerated stories and attacks playing out on social media.

The facts are:

  • When the Town recognized the Argyle Seniors Organization in 2011, it was under a set of bylaws. These bylaws cover important matters such as financial reporting requirements, expense reimbursement, and election of officers, all of which are necessary for the Town to support the organization effectively and with accountability to our tax-paying citizens. Unfortunately, the board has refused to follow these bylaws including those governing qualifications and elections of board members.
  • The Town has been serving the Argyle Seniors Organization as a non-profit since its recognition in 2011. However, the Town was unaware until recently that the organization lost its status as a 501(c)3 over 10 years ago. The Town Administrator volunteered to complete the necessary paperwork to regain non-profit status, but the group declined.
  • These are just a few of the issues, and while staff, Council and I have offered solutions to every concern above and beyond what was requested, it has become clear that the board has zero interest in actually reaching a resolution.

Despite all of this, Town Council, staff, and I remain committed to honoring and serving all of our seniors. As I announced at the Town Council meeting on August 21st, I’m proud to say the Town is rolling out a new program providing support to our respected elders directly. We will continue our long tradition of valuing and serving our seniors, just without the political middleman. I sincerely apologize to the many seniors that have been affected by this board and their irresponsible and divisive actions. We are excited about the future ahead, and we thank you for your patience and understanding.

In closing, I ask you to consider this lesson:

If you put 100 black ants and 100 red ants in a jar, nothing will happen. But if you shake the jar hard, the ants will start attacking each other. The red ants will consider the black ants their enemies, and the black ants will consider the red ants their enemies. The real enemy is the one who shakes the jar. The same thing happens in human society. So before we attack each other, we should think about who is shaking the jar!

Argyle is a wonderful community with a bright outlook and a lot of good people working diligently to shepherd us into the future. We can do so much more by pulling together as we focus on preserving and protecting this beautiful place we call home.

A Heartfelt Message from Stella, ASCO President: Honesty, Change, and New Beginnings
Submitted by Stella McDaniel

Greetings to our cherished community members! As the president of Argyle Senior Citizens’ Organization (ASCO), I want to speak to you about our new venture. It’s important to me that you hear from my heart. Over the years, the town of Argyle has stood by us with a lot of support, and we’ve had a relationship that was strong. But over the last two years, things changed. Because the relationship with town administration has gotten so difficult, the ASCO board made a decision to part ways and start a new group. We are proud to introduce our new non-profit group and a new beginning that will invigorate and grow our group and connect with our community. I invite you, dear friends, to join us as we start this exciting journey! Our inaugural luncheon at the Denton County Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, on Friday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be fun! Come have delicious BBQ brisket generously provided by the Bellinghausens and the Myers, bingo with prizes, and lots of friendship. Our new organization will have donors, sponsors, and speakers who share our enthusiasm for ASCO’s renewed goals of community and service. As ASCO steps into this new chapter, we hope to reconnect with our community, start new friendships, and bring new ideas to serve others. The journey ahead is exciting, and I can’t wait to share it with you! God Bless you!

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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