- Support the Denton Police Department and Denton Fire Department.
Respect the expertise and professionalism of the Denton Police Department and Denton Fire Department. Recognize that each department employs specialized skills and knowledge and that unique considerations are integral to policy- and decision-making in each department.
- Ensure police and fire have needed staffing, equipment, training and facilities.
As Denton continues to grow, police and fire will need additional personnel, and all personnel must receive ongoing training throughout their employment. The departments will need new equipment, and existing equipment will have to be replaced. New fire stations will be needed, as will new facilities to accommodate a police presence in areas slated for development.
- Maximize all expenditures of taxpayer dollars by applying common sense to all Council decisions.
- Keep our options open in decisions that affect how we do business long- term. Conversely, avoid making decisions that will limit the City’s ability to be flexible in changing economic climates.
- Carefully analyze the $12+ million in Denton sales tax we pay each year into Denton County Transportation Authority.
If return on investment is not optimal, we should explore other options for all or some of these dollars, even if change requires Legislative action.
- Fortify our fledgling Economic Development fund using a percentage of expiring tax incentives.
Cities and counties in today’s rapidly expanding Metroplex are in fierce competition to attract large businesses. Economic incentives are an essential tool in the Economic Development (ED) toolbox. Most area cities and counties enjoy established ED funds sustained by a revenue stream from city-wide sales tax.
Denton, however, is unable to sustain its fledgling economic development fund from city-wide sales tax because of decisions made more than 20 years ago. Our incentive toolbox, therefore, is limited to rebates of utility charges and rebates of sales tax generated by businesses seeking incentives. (Incentives are rarely based on property tax paid by a business.)
How Most Incentives Work in Denton: The type of tax incentive the Denton City Council often approves is based on performance: The more sales tax the City receives from a business, the more incentive the business receives. All the incentive is generated onsite; it does not come from the pockets of Denton taxpayers or from taxes paid by other businesses. The City’s return on investment (ROI) must be very high for the Council to approve an incentive.
All incentive agreements designate the specific percentage of tax that comprises the incentive, and all have a specified duration. When the duration is complete, the City then begins collecting the full amount of tax due, including the percentage formerly designated as the incentive.
Since the City’s general fund operates for usually 5 to 30 years without the incentive percentage of tax revenue collected, I propose diverting a portion of the expiring incentive to our Economic Development fund each time an incentive agreement ends.
Dollars from expiring incentives won’t be a continual stream of revenue like the sales-tax funded stream other cities enjoy, but, as long as Denton continues to provide tax incentives. they can be a substantial, ongoing source of revenue for our Economic Development fund.
Taxes paid by large businesses reduce the tax burden on residential property owners because large businesses require fewer city services than do residential property owners.
A healthy Economic Development fund will enable Denton to compete more effectively with surrounding municipalities for large businesses.
- Expand Economic Development policies and add new tools
A diverse supply chain sustains businesses in our Westpark Tax Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) and at Alliance Airport. I propose we identify, research and reach out to targeted manufacturers and other supply-chain vendors that may be responsive to relocating or expanding into Denton.
Our proximity to Alliance, available interstate highway and rail access, and high capacity for generation of electricity by our own Denton Energy Center all make Denton potentially attractive to those suppliers.
We also need to ensure one-on-one contact is maintained with businesses executives who leave Denton for corporate jobs elsewhere. As they already are familiar with our city, they can be important resources as we seek new businesses considering expansion or relocation.
- Consider support for a strong, clever, national promotional campaign for the City. The “Dynamic Denton” campaign was launched in 1967-68, and the highly successful, national “Fresh Air” campaign, which followed in 1971-72, brought us Tetra Pak and other large companies. The City partnered with Denton Chamber of Commerce in these campaigns. Taglines of both campaigns delivered effective, positive messages about Denton (without being derogatory to other communities).
- Protect, then promote our largely unsung historic inventory outside the downtown Square as an innovative Economic Development and long-range planning tool, in addition to ongoing efforts to promote our historic Square and entertainment district.
- Capitalize on local economic assets, including our diverse population, large inventory of undeveloped land, abundance of cultural offerings, and higher-education institutions: NCTC, UNT and TWU.
- Prioritize protection of neighborhoods and connectivity while balancing local and regional growth considerations.
Carefully consider potential long-range effects when balancing private property rights with other interests, including environmental, economic, etc.
This includes protecting established neighborhoods when considering future land use, mobility plans, siting of new infrastructure and municipal services, etc. The City must continue to be an active participant in state and regional organizations involved in area planning.
- Actively support historic preservation efforts.
- Increase available tax incentives to encourage creation of new historic districts and landmarking of eligible residences and businesses.
Many Denton homes and businesses built in the 1960s and 1970s are now eligible for landmarks and historic district status. Historic districts and landmarked properties consistently maintain their value, as evidenced in communities across Texas and throughout the U.S. Local designation offers the most, and often the sole, protection for historic properties.
Just as a rising tide lifts all ships, so protected historic districts raise not only the value of included properties, but also help surrounding properties improve and retain value. Incentives for historic designation of properties has been proven to provide a high rate of return on investment for local governments.
- Hire a qualified Preservation Officer as required by the City’s designation as a Certified Local Government (CLG). Denton has now been without a Preservation Officer since October 1, 2019. When the current hiring freeze is lifted, this position, which requires specialized training and experience, should be one of the first to be posted and filled.
- Seek creative ways to incentivize new, quality residential and commercial developments that will retain their value over time.
- Encourage tree-lined walking trails that connect with trails in neighboring subdivisions.
PARTNERING WITH NON-PROFITS
- Continue our partnerships with Serve Denton, United Way and other local and area non-profits that assist the underserved, for these organizations are best equipped to meet the needs of those less fortunate, including those homeless or at risk of being homeless.
- Continue active participation by City officials on boards of area non-profit organizations that seek to increase access to mental health services and treatment. These include Denton County Behavioral Health Leadership Team and Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team.
- Expand recycling options for commercial and multi-family, where feasible.
- Encourage commercial internet providers to make high-speed internet available throughout all of Denton.