Saturday, March 2, 2024

News from Double Oak Town Hall – January 2024

Hello Double Oak Citizens,

We are excited and look forward to 2024. It brings a new chapter and cleans the slate of the prior year. We look forward to twelve new months and intend to make them better than the last twelve.

We think about what lies ahead, and sometimes, we forget to absorb the good and bad moments from the past. Whether you experienced the best times or success or became stronger for the tough times and hardships, we will all be better and stronger as people and as we progress into the new year.

In an article by Alice Colemen from a few years ago, she references “Tending the Garden of Life.”

Take time to contemplate your personal life with a blank paper or file and make a list with three headings.

  1. Flowers (what did you love)
  2. Weeds (what would you leave out)
  3. Fertilizer (what could you add or improve)

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How did I grow in the past year?
  2. What was the single biggest challenge I overcame?
  3. Who needs to be acknowledged in my life? Is there anyone I should express gratitude to for what they have done for me or helped me with over the past 12 months?
  4. What were my most memorable stand-out moments?
  5. Pick three words someone close to me would describe this year.
  6. What was the best thing I learned?
  7. What was I most grateful for?
  8. What was my single biggest time waster this year?
  9. Name a song that would be my soundtrack to the past year.
  10. Name the year. 2023, the year of…

Reflecting on what you took from 2023 is the best way you can prepare to make the next year even better.

The following are some reflections on the highlights and accomplishments of Double Oak from 2023.

These are in no order, so I hope you all see what a special place Double Oak is with special people taking care of our citizens.

Double Oak Police Department: The DOPD filled their ranks with a complete staff last year.  We are blessed with a Chief, an Assistant Chief, a sergeant/Detective, six full-time and three part-time officers, and a school crossing guard who all protect our town.

The DOPD received grant monies for new body cameras and obtained a Speed tracker trailer to slow down our speed challenges on our town streets. They added new vehicles to their fleet while they, at times, limped along with our older vehicles. The DOPD will work towards continuous improvements in people, processes, and training in the coming year.  We are all thankful for the job they do in protecting our citizens.

Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department: A volunteer fire department (VFD) is made up of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction. Volunteer and retained (on-call) firefighters are expected to be on call to respond to emergency calls for long periods and are summoned to the fire station when their services are needed. They will also likely attend other non-emergency duties (training, fundraising, equipment maintenance, etc.).

The Town of Double Oak and its citizens highly respect and cherish the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department.

Our annual Fourth of July celebration is the best in DFW and North Texas, and the DOVFD does this all on its own with the assistance of volunteers from the town and Double Oak Women’s Club. In return, they support the DOWC in many of their events. They move about the town, clearing streets of debris when storms hit, and are there to lend support and assistance to our EMS provider.

The DOVFD does its part in our holiday celebrations by providing transportation for Santa not just on the night of tree lighting but up and down every street in Double Oak on that second Sunday in December.

In 2023, Erik Eichinger became the new Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department Chief.

The town of Double Oak would like to congratulate Chief Eichinger on a well-deserved appointment and thank former Chief Whisenhunt for his years of service.

Double Oak Women’s Club: The DOWC provides periodic social gatherings for its member’s fellowship, entertainment, and education. Fundamental to DOWC is connecting with one’s neighbors, making contacts with other women for fun and support, and creating a caring environment for us, our children, and our families.

Throughout 2023, the DOWC hosted the town’s annual Easter Egg Hunt/Pancake Breakfast; they held an auction to raise money for their cause and the DOVFD. They hosted successful Christmas Socials and the ever-popular Casino Night. They supported and supplied refreshments for our memorial for former mayor Dick Cook and do the same for other events when the town comes calling. This strong group cares about our town, which shows in everything they do.

Town of Double Oak & Administration: Last April, Mayor Mike Donnelly and Mayor Pro Tem Johnson put the first-ever Homestead Exemption of 1% /$5,000 minimum for the citizens of Double Oak before the town council. Homestead exemptions reduce the appraised value of your home and, as a result, lower your property taxes. The town council unanimously approved the Double Oak Homestead Exemption, which will show up on your property tax in years to come.

The town was able to celebrate our former mayors in 2023. The town lost a great citizen and former mayor when Chuck Bimmerle passed away in April. Citizens came together in June to celebrate former mayor Dick Cook and his wife, Georgette. Family and friends gathered at the town hall to see his name put above the wall to the entrance of our council chambers and memorial stones laid in our Tom Pidcock memorial.

In May, former Mayor Mike Donnelly was honored with the title of Mayor Emeritus for the Town of Double Oak. No one has done more in all his roles for the citizens and the town of Double Oak than Mayor Emeritus Donnelly, who will forever be a part of our town.

Also, in May, the citizens elected a new mayor: Patrick Johnson, and two council members: Mike Gwartney and Pat Wellen. Mark Dieterich filled the position vacated by Councilperson Johnson, and later, in November, when Mayor Pro Tem Connie Schoenrade resigned, Khourschid Favero, known as Dr. K, was appointed to join existing Councilperson Jean Hillyer, to complete the town council roster moving into 2024.

Double Oak partnered with Flower Mound EMS to renew the interlocal agreement contract between the two towns that protects our citizens and provides EMS services to Double Oak.

The Town of Double Oak has a solid balance sheet. For years, the mayor and town councils have focused on protecting the citizen taxpayers of Double Oak while simultaneously managing our town expenses in a manner that allowed the town council to approve the tax rate and adopt a budget with a No New Revenue Rate of $0.178384 per $100 for the tax year 2023-2024.

The town has benefited from numerous IT-related projects in 2023. Upgrade improvements to the sound system in the park pavilion and video streaming equipment in the council chambers to improve the live broadcasting of our council meetings. The town hall has had three of its exterior doors replaced, which will enhance the security of the building.

The town hosted or took part in many events in 2023. It hosted the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, a tree lighting ceremony, and a popular hazardous waste event in September.

Our town could not run without our town administration and staff. Eileen, Lynn, Brian, and Randal work diligently to provide the best service possible to our citizens.

Our court system is the best in the county. No one does a better job than our own Lynn Jones. She is on top of everything that touches our Double Oak court system.

Our public works department continues to improve how the town operates with the new permitting process and, of course, all the permitting certifications and approvals that must take place.

The town of Double Oak never takes a break and never sleeps.  We are a very active town.

Double Oak Town Council: It has been a busy year for our Town Council. As I mentioned, each of our council members above works hard to do the right thing for the citizens and the town of Double Oak.

In 2023, the council bundled multiple mill and overlay street projects into one project, saving the citizen taxpayers over $100,000. They approved multiple street projects for crack sealing, fixed issues on Brittian Lane, and restriped Simmons Road. Together with the Roads Committee, they worked hard to improve Double Oak’s infrastructure.

In December, with assistance from Denton County, the Waketon road project was officially declared closed and done. For those not aware, the Waketon Road project was a part of the Trip 2008 Road Bond Program. The town began working on this design in 2017, and it was completed this past year.

Together, they established a new town organization chart, officially ratified the town use of the SLFRF funds, reappointed Double Oak citizen Dave Nelson to the Upper Trinity Board of Directors, and reappointed Sue Tejml to the Board of Managers for Denco 9-1-1. The council also updated the list of liaisons for our Double Oak boards and committees, split the Roads and Drainage committees into separate committees, and partnered with SPAN, enabling Double Oak citizens to take advantage of their services. They have revitalized our town review process, working on reviewing and renewing our Town Administration Handbook, and reconsolidated and organized a more streamlined budget for the town.

In 2023, the town council, utilizing funds provided through the SLFRF program, approved a Drainage Study for the town of Double Oak. The Drainage Study will be presented to the mayor and public works in mid-December and then to the town council at the mid-January meeting. After that presentation, up to four public meetings will be held to discuss these findings. There is much work to be done after we receive the study.

These are just a few agenda items that the town council discussed, considered, and acted on in 2023. I am sure there will be many more next year.

Thank You: The Town of Double Oak owes tremendous gratitude to the following for the commitment and hard work they provided to the citizens in 2023.

Current council members: Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gwartney, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pat Wellen, Jean Hillyer, Mark Dieterich, and Dr. K.

Mayor Emeritus Mike Donnelly.

Former council members Scott Whisenhunt, Casey Parsons, and Connie Schoenrade. Former town treasurer Billie Garrett.

Town Administration Eileen Kennedy, Lynn Jones, Brian Shults, and Randal Anglin. Steve Koehler assists with our permitting and certifications: Police Chief Rivas, Assistant Chief Gains, and all DOPD officers.

Chief Erik, the DOVFD members, Double Oak Planning and Zoning, the Board of Adjustments, and all our committees and their members.

Our interlocal partnerships with Flower Mound EMS, Denton County, Denton County 911, and others that Double Oak can rely on when needed.

I am sure I may have missed a few in my thanks to all, so if I missed you, Thank You.

Vision for 2024: So, what is next up for the Town and Citizens of Double Oak?

We will welcome our newest business to Double Oak in late February or early March. Braum’s will become part of Double Oak, and I know the citizens have been impatiently waiting for them to open. The Town welcomes you, Braum’s!

Double Oak’s 50th Birthday Celebration will be held on May 4, 2024, with an Auto Show and Movie Night. Then, on May 18, 2024, the 50th Birthday celebration will conclude with historical museum displays, birthday cake, food trucks, a street dance, photo booths, contests, a ceremony to honor prior town officials, and many more fun events! We look forward to these two fantastic events to celebrate our town’s 50th Birthday!

As mentioned, the town council will hold public citizen meetings on the drainage study and engage our citizens on the Kings Road project, which is part of the Trip 2022 Road Bond package approved by the voters last year.

The town will host a successful election in May.  There will be three council spots up for re-election.

The council could consider a percentage uplift to our Double Oak Homestead Exemption, work on revisions to the town handbook, and review outdated and old ordinances. Improve relationships with our DOPD and DOVFD. The council could also consider reviewing our town hall hours and exploring the need for a Town Manager.

The mayor will be active in any potential progress with the land at 407 and Simmons and will work towards a more efficient and effective way to lead all parts of the Town of Double Oak, including staff and council. Continue with more effective town council meetings and represent Double Oak and its citizens best.

There was a great deal to cover in this article, and I would like to Thank Max Miller and the staff of The Cross Timbers Gazette for allowing this forum to communicate with our citizens and the towns surrounding Double Oak.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and, more importantly, being involved as a citizen in this great town called Double Oak!

I welcome all comments and suggestions. Be sure to catch all exciting news or updates; please visit the Double Oak Town website at doubleoak.texas.gov. In addition to contacting Town Hall at 972-539-9464, Double Oak citizens may reach me at [email protected].

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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