By BOBBIE MITCHELL
Want to stay connected to Denton County? Watch for my column each month for updates and events happening in Precinct 3 and around the county.
County Board Appointments
The Denton County Commissioners Court appoints a number of Boards and Committees that advise and assist in governing County programs. Primarily members of those boards and committees are appointed in January of odd-numbered years. A list of volunteers is maintained throughout the year, however, since vacancies may occur at other times.
Our current need is to appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the Child Protective Services Board. The purpose of Child Protective Services is to provide an ongoing program for the protection, care and well-being of dependent, neglected and abused children in Denton County and to the general public for the prevention of abuse and neglect of children. Members work to encourage, engage, promote and participate in activities that will benefit all children of the county.
If you are interested in serving Denton County and would like to be considered for appointment to a committee or board, please click the link for a list of boards and committees and for an application: https://dentoncounty.com/Departments/Commissioners/Commissioners-Court/Volunteering-for-Service-on-County-Boards-and-Committees.aspx.
New proposed tax rate
Denton County is currently holding public hearings on the proposed new, lower tax rate of $0.237812 per $100 for the tax year 2017.
The public meeting to adopt the proposed tax rate is set for Tuesday, September 5, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Commissioners Courtroom in the Courthouse on the Square, 110 West Hickory, 2nd floor, Denton, Texas.
The tax rate being proposed will generate approximately $204.4 million in tax year 2017 and will provide funds for the increase for mandatory debt service payments for voter approved road and facility projects, and the additional funds generated from new property added to the tax roll of $8,675,101 will be used to help fund employee-related cost and operating expenses.
The current tax rate for tax year 2016 is $0.248409 compared to the proposed decreased rate of $0.237812 (cents) – a decrease of $0.010597 (cents).
County launches L.E.A.D.S. program for employees
Denton County is launching a new, progressive leadership program called Denton County Leadership by Execution of Action and Direction for Success, or L.E.A.D.S..
This program is for supervisors and managers and begins with a DISC assessment and coaching session before the DISC training kickoff on Sept. 14.
Additional sessions will cover personal leadership development plan, management, legal compliance, and team and culture building. This program will be the first of many opportunities for employees to take advantage of this training.
The county’s past leadership program, Piloting The Flight, was offered from the county for 10 years and included supervisors and those who aspired to be.
County supports North Central Texas Council of government’s watershed management initiative
Denton County Public Works has been working with North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) on the Sixteen County Watershed Management Initiative, with support from FEMA Region 6, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Floodplain Management Association, and United States Army Corps Engineers.
Texas Senate Bill 936 (2001) amends the Texas Water Code to authorize political subdivisions to adopt more comprehensive floodplain management rules that the political subdivision determines are necessary for planning and appropriate to protect public health and safety and allows steps using regional, watershed, and multi‐objective approaches to improve the long‐range management and use of flood‐prone areas.
NCTCOG worked with member counties to encourage adopting standards above the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP). This initiative began with a survey to find out where each of the 16 member counties is in regards to floodplain and watershed regulations. NCTCOG, with county representatives present from Floodplain Management, District Attorney, Emergency Management, and other watershed management related divisions of county government, then held forums and regional county roundtable discussions.
NCTCOG, as a result of these efforts, has developed an initiative with a menu of 13 regionally recommended standards in watershed management for counties to voluntarily adopt. The goal is to allow for sound development through regional consistency, to recognize cost savings associated with the investment in effective watershed management to reduce or prevent flooding, to slow water quality decline, and to avoid loss of opportunity that is a result of rapid growth.
Denton County has always been a leader in adopting reasonable standards and cooperating with our regional partners in implementing effective watershed management programs. Denton County Public Works recommended the Commissioners Court approve a resolution endorsing the initiative, and to continue its leadership in effective watershed management
Denton County Commissioners Court endorses the goal of the County Watershed Management initiative and supports collaboration with partners to implement regionally recommended standards in watershed management in North Central Texas.
Veterans Treatment Court contract extended
The Denton County Veterans Treatment Court applied for and was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commission in May of 2016. The grant funds were used to fund a program evaluator, who is a faculty member at the University of North Texas, and a student research assistant.
The Commissioners Court recently approved the first amendment to a contract between the University of North Texas and Denton County to provide the Veterans Treatment Court extending the expiration date of the agreement six months from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2017, and adding additional funding of $7,653. The original agreement was for one year and $43,430.
Denton County reports three positive West Nile cases
Denton County Public Health is reporting its third human case of West Nile Virus for 2017 in Denton County. The resident lives in Flower Mound and was diagnosed with West Nile Fever.
Dr. Matt Richardson, DCPH Director, continues to recommend that residents take a proactive approach to minimizing exposure to mosquitos, stressing the priority the county places on the health of the community members. The DCPH team is taking an active role and encourages residents to take the proper precautions to further minimize risk.
Residents should take the following steps to minimize the risk of contracting West Nile Virus:
- Drain standing water around your home, such as birdbaths or pet dishes. Consider the use of BTI briquettes (or mosquito dunks) in standing water that cannot be eliminated.
- Be aware of mosquitos during active times between dusk and dawn.
- Defend yourself by using insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus when outdoors. Use as directed on label.
- Dress in long sleeves, pants, and socks when outside to reduce skin exposure.
Please visit the DCPH West Nile Virus website at www.dentoncounty.com/WNV for additional information, including resources listing common backyard mosquito sources, frequently asked questions and the latest local news.
Commissioners Court approves purchase of new voting equipment
Verity, from Hart InterCivic, was recently chosen as Denton County’s new voting solution. Verity is the only totally new voting system that has been certified by both the federal Elections Assistance Commission and the Texas Secretary of State and is built according to the latest security standards from the EAC. The Verity system was recommended by Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips and both the Republican and Democratic parties of Denton County.
The Verity solution is a paper-based voting system, but not in the traditional sense. Denton County has historically used a combination of electronic and paper voting. Prior to the purchase of Verity, paper ballots had to be printed beforehand and delivered to the proper polling site. Paper ballots that were not used resulted in wasted cost and were required to be kept in storage for up to 22 months after an election.
Wasted money and long-term storage of un-voted ballots are now a thing of the past. Verity is a true “ballot on demand” system. Once a voter has checked in, their ballot will be printed on the spot by Verity Print, and once marked, will be scanned on the Verity Scan digital scanning device. Voters with disabilities mark their ballots on the accessible Verity Touch Writer ballot-marking device, and then scan them, along with other voters’ ballots, using Verity Scan.
Most importantly, we will now have a true paper trail after each election. If a recount is needed, we can turn to the actual ballots voters submitted. Denton County Elections Administration is happy to move forward with Verity as our new voting solution and we trust our voters will be, as well.
Connect with the County
Be sure and connect with Denton County on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DentonCountyTX and on Twitter @DentonCountyTX.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my office number is 972-434-4780.