Highland Village, Hickory Creek officials update county commissioners

Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, center, and County Judge Andy Eads, far right, welcome City of Highland Village officials at a recent Denton County Commissioners Court meeting.
County Judge Andy Eads, left, and Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, right, welcome officials from the Town of Hickory Creek.

Officials from the Town of Hickory Creek and City of Highland Village recently updated us about what is happening in their communities.

The presentations are part of an ongoing series where Denton County invites our cities and towns to give presentations during the Commissioners Court meetings on Tuesdays.

Hickory Creek Mayor Lynn Clark told us their town has experienced 40 percent growth since 2010 with more on the way. Several residential developments will begin building soon including Hickory Creek Crossing with 90 new homes and Hickory Farms with 140 new homes.

The Town of Hickory Creek is experiencing commercial development along the recently completed Turbeville and Point Vista roads. An 8,500-square-foot Angelina’s Mexican Restaurant will sport rooftop dining while the Elm Fork Tap House, featuring a silo from the former Lewisville Feed Mill, will provide patio dining. In addition, Don Camillo Italian Cuisine recently purchased property off Turbeville Road. The Adam’s Cliff shopping center planned in the area will feature several new businesses including The Learning Experience daycare.

Highland Village Mayor Charlotte Wilcox and City Manager Mike Leavitt shared a few interesting facts about their city. For instance, the average age in Highland Village is 43 and an estimated 56.7 percent of the city’s residents are between the ages of 25 and 65. An average family of 3.3 members has a median home value of $384,214.

City officials also shared how fast the city’s property valuations have grown – doubling in 14 years to $2.25 billion as of fiscal year 2018-2019. In that period, the city saw significant retail development with The Shops of Highland Village, The Marketplace at Highland Village and much more. On one note, the sales tax revenues paid for nearly 23 miles of trails spanning the city.

We were glad to have representatives from both communities visit Commissioners Court and look forward to hearing from our other towns and cities.

Master Gardeners Association celebrates 30th anniversary

In the past 30 years, the Denton County Master Gardener Association has contributed thousands of volunteer hours to more than 100 projects across Denton County.

In three decades, more than 500 volunteer Master Gardeners, who were trained, continue to give back to their communities.

These volunteers work with more than 50 schools across the county in addition to the 30 schools currently part of the Cool Shade for Third Program. They also have supported projects at 15 churches, work with communities to provide information to residents and have even helped the county with an orchard at the Precinct 2 Government Center in Carrollton.

An upcoming program you may find interesting if you are looking for information about Earth-Kind® practices conserving time, money and natural resources to create productive yards and gardens that are also pleasing to look at. The Denton County Master Gardener Association volunteers along with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will offer classes from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. At a cost of $100 per person or $125 for two people in the same household, you will learn planning preparation, design application, hardscape considerations and plant selection.  The program will be at the Flower Mound United Methodist Church at 3950 Bruton Orand Boulevard. For more information and to register, visit www.dcmga.com.

AgriLife Extension and the association are also conducting free community classes in Lewisville on such topics as “Grow Your Own Vegetables” and “Texas Plants.” Keep Lewisville Beautiful and the City of Lewisville are sponsoring the 2019 Garden Secrets Classes. All classes are held in Classroom 1 or the Recital Hall at the MCL Grand at 100 N. Charles St. in Lewisville. Classes are limited to the first 40 to RSVP by calling 972-538-5949. “Grow Your Own Vegetables” is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 5. “Texan Plants” will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 19. “Birds, Bees and Butterflies: Gardening for Wildlife” is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 and “Texas Trees” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 will be the final class of the series.

Lake Dallas Animal Shelter needs supplies

If you like animals and want to help, the Lake Dallas Animal Shelter could use a few supplies.

With an abundance of kittens, the shelter immediately needs dry kitten food. Other items on the wish list include bleach, Clorox wipes, canned adult cat food, canned kitten pate, 42- to 55-gallon contractor trash bags, Dawn dish soap, dishwasher pods and laundry detergent. The shelter is located at 687 N. Lakeview Drive. You can reach them at (940) 497-7090.

If you have room in your family for a new member, consider adopting a furry friend from the shelter.

National Night Out brings neighbors, police together

Consider registering your neighborhood for the annual National Night Out in Lake Dallas from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1.

The event also promotes partnerships between police and the community to create a safer, more caring place to live.

Register your neighborhood on the Lake Dallas Police Department Facebook page.

Denton County to approve 2019-2020 budget, tax rate

As the time draws near to adopt our 2019-2020 fiscal year budget and tax rate, it is important to me that we let you know a little about what went into our planning.

First, with projections of the county’s population reaching the 1 million mark by 2023, we realize the need for county services will continue to grow. However, it is just as important to me that we handle your tax dollars prudently.

In the proposed budget, we wanted to keep new positions to a minimum and we did. Out of 66 requests, we only approved 27.73 new positions. Those were primarily for juvenile detention, an increase in child abuse cases and cybersecurity. Thirty-one positions deferred from the current budget are in the proposed budget including 21 for public safety and eight for a new district court created to handle the increasing number of cases.

In spite of the additional positions, the number of employees per 1,000 county residents continues to drop from 2.38 a decade ago to 2.05 employees per 1,000 residents as proposed in the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.

We wanted to lower the tax rate and we were able to accomplish that goal, dropping it to our lowest tax rate since 1986 at $0.225278. That is particularly important because it affects you – our taxpayers.

When you see your tax bill in the fall, please note the county’s portion is only 9 percent of the overall bill.

We will have an evening public hearing that begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. The meeting will be in the Commissioners Court at the Courthouse-on-the-Square. The final public hearing will be part of our regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 17 at the same location, when we will also adopt the budget and tax rate.

If you are unable to attend, please consider watching the meetings live on the Denton County Facebook page.

Watch out for school buses and children while on the road

With school back in session across Denton County, please be on the lookout for school buses and children crossing streets to and from schools.

State Law requires drivers to stop when a school bus extends its stop sign or turns on flashing red lights. That includes drivers on the same side of the road where the bus is located and anyone driving on the opposite side. The only exception is on major roads with raised medians or barriers. Then it only applies to vehicles on the same side as the bus. However, it is important to follow the speed limit and stay aware of your surroundings just in case.

This reminder is to help you know what the law requires and to help keep our children safe as they get on and off the buses.

New behavioral health annex for veterans now open

I want to offer a special thanks to Congressman Michael C. Burgess for welcoming the VA Denton Mental Health Annex with a recent ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.

The new annex at 406 S. Carroll Boulevard will assist veterans in Denton County suffering from PTSD and other behavioral health issues. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Denton County Veterans Coalition, United Way of Denton County and community leaders collaborated to address the need for mental health services.

With an estimated 45,000 military veterans across the county, it is vital to support them in whatever they need.  It is what we owe them for their service to our country.

Plan to join me for coffee and a chat on Sept. 13 in Lake Dallas

I am planning a Coffee with the Commissioner and Lake Dallas mayor in the Lake Dallas City Hall community room, 212 Main St. at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. Please stop by and bring any questions you may have. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

Connect With Us:  Be sure and connect with Denton County on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DentonCountyTX and on Twitter @DentonCountyTX.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is bobbie.mitchell@dentoncounty.com and my office number is 972-434-4780.