News from Town Hall – August 2016
News from Town Hall
By Double Oak Mayor Mike Donnelly and Texas A & M Intern Alicia Byers
Howdy! My name is Alicia Byers and I’m the loudest & proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2018. A-A-A-WHOOP! I am majoring in Political Science at Texas A&M and I lead a bible study for Freshmen girls in my spare time. I grew up in Flower Mound and I live here during my summer breaks from A&M. As a kid, I attended Garden Ridge Elementary, Bridlewood Elementary, Downing Middle School, and Marcus High School. In grade school, I was involved in choir and have always loved to sing. I am also very interested in politics and the many moving parts that work together to make governments function effectively. Currently, I work as a server at Fresco’s Mexicana and am taking a few summer classes for school.
In addition to school and my job as a server, I am also working as an intern for the Town of Double Oak. Over the course of my internship, I have been offered the chance to meet many influential people in the community and have built a strong network with people involved in local, county, state, and federal politics. Through my time spent working at the town hall, I have been able to meet many of Double Oak’s fantastic citizens and learn about the kinds of issues that residents bring to the town. In the beginning of my internship, I spent a lot of my time at the town hall assisting with administrative work and learning about each of the staff members’ various jobs and duties around the office. I also had the opportunity to accompany Chief Ayers, the Fire Chief for the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department, to the Denton County 9-1-1 Call Center. When we arrived, I was given a headset and a seat next to a 9-1-1 responder. I was awestruck by the remarkable job that she did of communicating with distressed citizens, as well as of communicating with the first responders. She was able to achieve an incredible amount of multi-tasking, while also being swift and precise in her communications. Overall, it was a very unique experience that I will not soon forget.
In early July, I had the opportunity to meet with the superintendent of Lewisville Independent School District, Dr. Kevin Rogers. Since I spent my entire childhood in LISD schools, I thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to meet Dr. Rogers and discuss the inner workings of the public school system, as well as the politics involved in running a school district. Also in early July, I was invited by Ms. Robin Vaughan to spend a day at Congressman Michael Burgess’ office in Lake Dallas. Congressman Burgess represents the 26th district of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. The 26th district of Texas is very large and is made up of most areas in Denton County, as well as parts of Tarrant County. During the course of my time in Congressman Burgess’ office, I learned that all congressional offices function a little differently because each representative dictates some of the ways in which his or her office is run. I also learned a great deal about the functions of Dr. Burgess’ congressional office, and about the manner in which he prefers his office to be run and managed. After learning about the procedures and methods he prefers to implement in his congressional office, I gained a great respect for the Congressman because it was very clear that keeping his constituents informed and helping them achieve their goals is a top priority for Dr. Burgess. On a day-to-day basis, the staff in Dr. Burgess’ congressional office perform many different tasks, one of which is making note of and following up on the policymaking concerns of constituents who call and write to the office. In addition, the staff members organize public events geared toward keeping citizens informed of current issues in Congress, as well as assist constituents in finding information and solving problems that they have regarding the federal government or federal agencies. These are just a few of the activities that take place in the congressional office, and each staff member’s primary goal is to provide aid to the citizens of the 26th district in every way possible. I made extremely beneficial connections to the outstanding staff in Dr. Burgess’ office, and I hope to become a full-time intern there next summer.
Currently, I am scheduled to spend time at the offices of both Senator Jane Nelson and Representative Tan Parker, the members of the Texas legislature who represent our district. I am also scheduled to attend the Denton County Commissioner’s Court with Mayor Donnelly, and to spend days at the Denton County Tax Office and Halff Engineering.
Overall, my experience interning with the Town of Double Oak has been a great one, and I have gained immense insight into the inner workings of government on all levels. This internship has benefitted me in so many ways and has provided me with a better understanding of how our cities, counties, state, and nation function. One thing that I’ve learned is that the goal of federal, state, county and local government bodies is simply to help the people they serve. Although obstacles and political jockeying sometimes stand in the way, the overall goal of all the fantastic people I have met is simply to help the people of their town, county, state, and nation live better lives. I cannot say thank you enough to Ms. Charlotte Allen, Ms. Eileen Kennedy, Mrs. Lynn Jones, Mr. Charlie Wright, Chief Derrick Watson, Lieutenant Ruben Rivas and the rest of the Double Oak Police Department for your service to this fabulous town and for opening your home to me this summer, allowing me to observe and learn from you. I also want to thank Chief Mike Ayers of the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department for all your kindness, and for allowing me to ride on a fire engine in the Fourth of July Parade. Thank you to all the wonderful people who took time out of your busy schedules to teach me about your work and what you do for the community. I appreciate Anita Nelson and the council for this opportunity and your assistance. But most of all I want to thank Mayor Mike Donnelly not only for creating this position for me in your town, but also for spending incredible amounts of time contacting people and making arrangements for me to meet with so many influential people in our government. It has meant so much to me and I cannot tell you how much I value everything I have learned this summer. I cannot wait to see where this experience takes me and to see the doors of opportunity it opens for me in the future. I love the Town of Double Oak and I will always keep the town and its citizens close to my heart. I couldn’t be more grateful for this amazing experience!
*Alicia, Double Oak enjoyed having you as an intern this summer and greatly appreciates all the assistance you provided. Best wishes as you continue your education at Texas A&M and “Gig ‘em”.
Discussion on an ordinance prohibiting the use of a hand held electronic device while operating a motor vehicle
Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Ted Gruenloh has requested that the town consider such an ordinance, meaning it would be illegal to hold and use a cell phone or any electronic device while driving. Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Gruenloh is spending time researching other municipalities that have either adopted such an ordinance or are in the process of discussing it. He and the council would like to hear residents’ thoughts on this matter. Council meetings are normally the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Feel free to send an email to Town Secretary Charlotte Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will make sure your email reaches council.
Recognizing Those Who Serve Our Town
The town recognizes and thanks our employees and volunteers for their dedicated service:
• Charlotte Allen, Town Secretary 2002 (14yrs)
• Deborah Schmidt, Crossing Guard 2002 (14yrs)
• Charlie Wright, Director Building-Codes-Public Works 2003 (13yrs)
• Ruben Rivas, Lieutenant-DOPD 2006 (10yrs)
• Eileen Kennedy, Assistant Town Secretary 2006 (10yrs)
• Michael Wyman, Patrol-DOPD 2006 (10yrs)
• Brian Shults, Patrol-DOPD 2007 (9yrs)
• Derrick Watson, Chief-DOPD 2009 (7yrs)
• Brett Bourgeois, Patrol Reserve-DOPD 2011 (5yrs)
• Lynn Jones, Municipal Court Clerk II 2014 (2yrs)
• Shawn Chelf, Patrol- DOPD 2014 (2yrs)
• Cody Leinweber, Patrol-DOPD (2yrs)
• Clint Murphy, Detective-DOPD 2014 (2yrs)
• Lonnie Sneed, Patrol-DOPD (new hire)
There’s a good mix of veterans and new volunteers on the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department. The DOVFD always needs dedicated volunteers who wish to train, qualify and serve the community. If interested, please contact Chief Ayers and the DOVFD.
Double Oak Women’s Club: www.doubleoakwomensclub.com
A wonderful community service organization. If not a member yet, think about joining this terrific group. They have an information table with newsletters in the town lobby.
*Double Oak thanks our citizens, businesses, partners and Crossroads Bible Church for the support of your town. We appreciate all of our friends in neighboring cities, towns, communities and all public safety officers and leaders at the local, county, state and federal levels.
Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget planning and work begins
Budget discussions have commenced to prepare for the next fiscal year which begins on October 1st. The current and last few years’ operating budgets were balanced by bringing over reserve funds from the balance sheet. Double Oak’s ad valorem property tax rate is 0.23240 per $100, which is one of the overall lowest in Denton County. I encourage you to check the Denton County Tax Office website link to view area property tax rates the office collects for: http://taxweb.dentoncounty.com/taxwebsite/truthintax.asp
As council, staff and citizens go through this budget process, please feel free to attend a council meeting and to check the town website for future public hearings on proposed budget and tax rate.
Sign Up for Code Red Alerts and Informational Town Emails
Denton County is now providing, for all residents, the opportunity to sign up for Code Red Alerts via www.dentoncounty.com website. This is an important tool to stay informed of severe weather information and other emergencies. You should also think about having weather alerts on your smart phones and weather radios in your homes.
Town Secretary, Charlotte Allen, periodically sends out important informational emails. If you wish to be added to her list, send her an email at: email@example.com
New School Year, School Zones & Student Safety
Where has the summer gone? It seems like yesterday the Town Council was congratulating our Double Oak students on their successful school year and wishing all residents a safe & fun summer. The Lewisville and Denton ISD’s begin the new school year on Monday, August 22nd. The Town Council and police department kindly remind everyone to use caution while driving and be alert to the presence of students. To promote student safety and better identify the Double Oak School Zone which serves the LISD Downing Middle School, new solar powered flashing school zone signs have been installed on Cross Timbers Dr and Kings Road. The speed limit in the Double Oak School Zone is 20 MPH during posted times. There will be zero tolerance for those exceeding the School Zone speed limit. Your Town Council, staff and police department are doing everything they can to create awareness of the school zone and promote student safety. The council wishes all students and families a safe and wonderful school year.