City Council Preview – October 20, 2015

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The Denton City Council begins at noon on Tuesday with a Work Session followed by a 6:30pm Regular Session at City Hall at 215 E. McKinney Street. Click here for a full agenda with backup materials. It will be a long meeting, but there are several important topics worth paying attention to:

TOWING ORDINANCE
You might recall a group of citizens came to council back in March to shed light on the Denton ordinance provisions relating to “non-consent” towing practices relative to ordinances around the state. Of concern was the fact that Denton’s ordinance allowed for the state maximum to be charged by towing companies and what seems to many as predatory towing practices around the city. A task force met over the summer and has now released their recommendation. We’ll be looking at these recommendations during our Work Session.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.59.32 PMLANDFILL MINING
Did you know that it is possible to dig into old areas of a landfill, mine out the various contents, and redirect them toward possible recycling opportunities? See, for instance, this well-preserved newspaper from 1989 extracted from an old part of the landfill.

While few landfill operations go to this length to extend the life of their landfill, prevent contamination in areas where lining regulations were not as rigorous in times past, and discover new recyclable materials, Denton is leading the way in this renewable effort.

I find the science behind this fascinating. If you are nerdy like me, you will too. Click here to see the presentation for this agenda item - and share with your kids!

A DISCUSSION REGARDING VARIOUS TYPES OF MUNICIPAL DEBT, PROCEDURES FOR DEBT ISSUANCE, REFUNDINGS AND ASSOCIATED MATTERS
I love the way this sounds, so I stole it right from the agenda posting. We have the opportunity to have a very comprehensive overview of city debt and how it works. There is nothing wrong with debt – just about every business and family operates with it to fund significant aspects of their daily lives and commerce. But because the national conversation surround government debt is so pronounced, it tends to color citizens opinions of government debt in general. Several distinctions must be made:

  • Much of the federal government debt is due to the failure to balance the budget year after year, meaning that government spending regularly outpaces government revenue. This is why we now have a $18 trillion federal debt with no end in sight.
  • Local governments in Texas, on the other hand, are required by law to balance our budgets every year. This means that our expenditures can’t outpace our revenues or cash on hand.
  • Debt for local government generally goes toward big infrastructure projects, large capital improvement projects, and large machinery, equipments, and vehicles. This debt is taken out in proportion to the life of the project or item funded this way.
  • For cities, there is a debt capacity that plays a big role in tax rate decisions. Once again, cities must be able to make ends meet.

But because it is easy to paint all levels of government with one brush and allow one’s cynicism toward one to color all the others, city debt is often a target of criticism.

We’ll be hearing a comprehensive work session on this topic, but if you have any interest in this subject, please take a minute to review the presentation we will see during today’s meeting.

Along these lines, we will be hearing a presentation on the various options to debt fund proposed quick start gas generation facilities that are being considered as part of the Renewable Denton plan.

EAGLE SUBSTATION SITE DECISION
After months of research and public input, the city council is set to make a final decision on the site for the upcoming Eagle Substation located somewhere South of Eagle Drive just near the University of North Texas. DME has been pursuing a significant substation and transmission line rebuild project for the last few years as they work to make sure our electric infrastructure remains robust as our city and energy demands continue to grow. Below you will see the four sites being considered as possibilities:

Exhibit4 - Eagle Site Options

 

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please let me know at kevin.roden@cityofdenton.com or 940-206-5239.

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