North Texas

Bond Issue for Roads and Cops Faces Public Scrutiny

Members of a Denton City Council-appointed committee of citizens met Thursday, to discuss options for a proposed $210 million bond program. It would fund various road and public safety projects in the fast-growing North Texas city.

One member of the citizen's bond advisory committee is looking out for her own neighborhood.  

Tammy Bradley is co-owner of Clara's Kitchen, a soul food restaurant in southeast Denton. She's invested in the community. Both as a business owner, and a resident.

"What I like about it is, it's an old community," said Bradley. "It's been here."

Anyone who's been to the neighborhood around Robertson Street, where the restaurant is located, knows the drive can be bumpy.

"You can drive down any street and see it needs to be fixed," she said. "There's different potholes, roads need to be repaired."

Bradley believes she can do something about it.   She is a member of the citizen's advisory committee which is considering the merits of $210 million worth of proposed road and public safety projects. Two bond propositions, which could be put to a vote in the fall.

She wants to make sure poor roads in her neighborhood are fixed.  City officials assure her they will be, if the bond propositions go to a vote.  In fact, officials say the proposal includes 15 lane miles of road projects in Southeast Denton.  The anticipated cost of those projects alone totals more than $11 million dollars.  Details of that part of the plan, included in the initial draft, were reiterated at Thursday night's meeting.

The $210 million dollar bond program represents more than twice the amount of Denton's last one, passed by voters in 2014. Aside from road projects, it includes several proposals for public safety upgrades, including a new police substation, renovations at Denton police headquarters and a new law enforcement firing range.

"It says that we're growing," said David Gaines, Denton director of finance.

Gaines said those two areas – law enforcement and roads – are the two most significant areas of growth for spending when a population grows. He said citizen input in the bond process is critical.

"We formed this committee to take a view of these projects as citizens," said Gaines. "As residents in the community, to decide do we feel comfortable going to the voters and asking for, or not."

Bradley, who was appointed to the citizens committee by city council member Deb Armintor, feels she can make a difference.

"I do feel like I can speak for my neighborhood," she said. "Let's fix what needs to be fixed. Let's get it done."

Based on the recommendations of the citizen's advisory committee, Denton city leaders have until August 19 to decide whether to put the bond issue to a vote.

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