Denton City Council Approves of More Spending

The Denton City Council met on Mar. 7 and approved ordinances to issue a notice of intent for over $1 billion for various projects, the acquisition of a public water line, and denied a request for an increase in sound levels for a music festival.

An ordinance was approved to issue a notice of intent for nearly $37 million dollars in principal amount of Certificates of Obligation of the City of Denton for general government and solid waste projects. Another ordinance was approved to issue a notice of intent for nearly $72 million in principal amount of certificates of Obligation of the City of Denton for waterworks, sewer systems, and electric systems projects.

Portions of the property tax will pay for the general government spending and the fees collected from solid waste services will pay for the solid waste projects. Denton citizens Willie Hudspeth was against spending citizen dollars on these projects.

“You don’t just get that money because it’s just somewhere and comes out of the air,” Hudspeth said. “You pay for the service and the money that’s generated form paying the service then pays for these expenditures. It costs more money. It costs more money from us. “

The council also approved a resolution to create an ad hoc City Council Committee. Hudspeth was not happy that the committee didn’t have citizens in it, but it still got passed 6-1 with city council member Kevin Roden being the opposing vote. City council member Kathleen Wazny explains that the committee isn’t a citizen committee.

“It’s a city council committee with 3 volunteers: Keely Briggs, Sara Bagheri, and myself,” Wazny said. “And the 3 of us will sit down with the city manager and the head of human resources and take a look at sick leave policy and vacation and how it compares with other north Texas cities.”

Another item on the agenda was the approval of an ordinance determining the need to acquire a piece of land on the 3000 block of South Interstate Highway 35 East. This item was passed unanimously but had an objection from Hudspeth because he sees imminent domain being a potential threat to his own property.

“I suspect that when you prepare to widen Bonnie Brae, the street that’s going to go for that portion to be opened up for the highway, the street is going to go right through my house and that nothing will be left but the back porch,” Hudspeth said. “I’m going to have to spend lots of legal money that I don’t have, but I’m going to, to prevent you from running over me like you might possibly do this person here.”

The city council also voted unanimously to deny a request for an exception to Denton’s noise ordinance. The Ashes 420 Festival, a music festival hosted by Ashes Smoke Shop, wanted to increase the sound levels from 70 to 75 decibels and for an extension of hours from 10 p.m. to midnight. Christine Taylor from the Parks and Recreation Department said they met with the Denton Police Department and recommended that the request should be denied due to the festival’s proximity to residential houses.

The festival will be held on Thursday, Apr. 20 in a parking lot at 420 S. Carroll Blvd. Council member Wazny explains why she voted to deny the request.

“Thursday night is a school night- number one,” Wazny said. “This extension is from 10 p.m. to midnight. It’s a school night so I just have a real problem with passing this this evening.”

The festival had seven noise complaints last year and three complaints the prior year. Council member Sara Bagheri also denied the request and wanted to make sure that the festival didn’t feel like she had something against them.

“I’ll be voting no on this only because I vote no on all the noise exemptions,” Bagheri said. “I just wanted this to be clear I’m not singling out the 420 festival. I vote no for every one of the noise variances. “

Citizen Bud Porter did a presentation about ideas to help protect at-risk citizens. He said that churches in different areas have taken asylum but is afraid churches will no longer be a safe place due to the current political climate.

“There are plenty of people who are worried about church doors being kicked in,” Porter said. “We, at least as a city, proclaim that we are a welcoming community and accepting of all citizens no matter who they are, what their affiliation, what their creed. And I think a lot of people would feel at ease if we did something like that.”

Adding to Porter’s presentation, Deborah Armintor presented a citizen report that asked the city council to have a section of their website dedicated to information about the state of affairs for undocumented immigrants.

“That would be extremely helpful both to people in the public, and this is my chief concern, our friends and neighbors who are worried about their own lives and family,” Armintor said. “But it would also be a public service to people who want to know ‘is Denton a sanctuary city? Cause it better not be.’ They can look and see, yes, in fact, it’s not a sanctuary city. It will help empower people with knowledge who are vulnerable.”

The website has not been changed. However, there is a video of a Town Hall Meeting where Police Chief Lee Howell presented information about immigration and how it affects Denton on the website.

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