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Residents get look at much lower tax rate

County presents transportation bond information


Willow Park City Manager Bryan Grimes — along with the city council — plans to keep a promise made last year.

Largely because the Parker County Emergency Services District 1 annexed the Willow Park Fire Department following a November, 2022 vote by citizens, Grimes and his fellow city leaders can keep their promise. He said at the time if the vote went through it would create such an opportunity because no longer would the fire department require the vast majority of sales tax for funding.

The proposed new property tax rate announced by Grimes at the Tuesday, Aug. 8, council meeting is $0.397597, a decrease of $0.1409 cents from the current rate of $0.538450. It's a decrease of more than 26%.

"The easy thing would have been to keep the tax rate high," Grimes told Mayor Doyle Moss and the council. "I don't know if this is the largest tax reduction in Texas, but it's big. My city manager friends are in awe.”

The council is expected to vote on the new tax rate, along with the Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget, following public hearings on both at 6 p.m. on Aug. 22 at City Hall, 120 El Chico Trail.


Road Improvement Bond

Parker County Judge Pat Deen and representatives from the Parker County Transportation Board gave a presentation to the council concerning a proposed bond election. It is expected that the Parker County Commissioners Court will call for a $130 million bond election on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election.

"If you've ever driven I-20 any day you'll be for this bond," Deen said.

If the bond is passed, county-wide road work will include a total of 35 projects:

  • Safety improvements, 12 projects.
  • New road extensions, 11 projects.
  • Road capacity widening, 8 projects.
  • Frontage roads/ramps, 4 projects.
  • The financial breakdown of the bond includes:
  • Precinct projects, $90 million.
  • Partnership projects, $25 million.
  • Discretionary, $15 million.

Statistics presented included:

  • Parker County grew by 34.1% between 2010-22.
  • Parker County is ranked No. 6 in the U.S. in fastest growth.
  • Parker county is currently growing at a rate of 4.8% per year.
  • An estimated 22 people move into the county every day.

The presentation also noted the bond's importance because local transportation funding will support growth; state and federal partnerships create more leverage for transportation improvement opportunities; regional partnerships will bring together the North Central Texas Council of Governments, municipalities and school districts; and it would expedite the safety projects in support of #EndTheStreakTX, a project designed to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.

Parker County Transportation Department officials said if, as expected, the election is called, they will spend between now and the election date educating the public more on the bond project.

"With the growth we're experiencing here, it just makes sense," Moss said. "The county needs it."


Land Annexation

The council approved a joint ordinance and extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) boundary agreement with the City of Aledo to release and transfer a 31.247-acre tract of property to the City of Willow Park’s ETJ.

The land is owned by Dustin and Jayme Haney, co-trustees of the Haney Revocable Trust. It is located near the site of a new gym and Stillwater Meadow wedding venue on Bankhead Highway.

Willow Park City Attorney Pat Chesser noted that some additional nearby property, about three acres, also has to be annexed to fulfill the agreement.

"We look forward to serving businesses on Bankhead. Anything we can do to contribute to the success of small businesses we'll do it and look forward to stepping up," Grimes said.


Kings Gate Park

The council voted to accept the dedication of Kings Gate Park from Wilks Development to the city and agreed to repay the cost of replatting.

The Planned Development Zoning District for The Shops at Willow Park, approved by the council in 2016, includes a segment for a hike and bike trail and open space.

This early transfer will accelerate the city’s possession of additional public park space and allow for easier construction of the single track hike and bike trails planned, and other park improvements.

Wilks Development agreed to the early transfer and had the park land engineered, surveyed, and is preparing legal documents for closing, all of which they have paid. Willow Park officials proposed to pay for the title, but upon agreeing that the property needed to be replatted due to their retention of the Reserves at Trinity entrance, it was decided it was easier for Wilks to pay the $2,347.60 for the title, and the city pay for the replat, an estimated $2,500.

"Kings Gate will the cornerstone of our parks system," Grimes said. "It will be a source of joy for our residents."


ARPA funds redirected

The council approved the redirecting of $665,153 from the American Rescue Plan Act funds at the request of Assistant City Manager Bill Funderburk. Originally meant for the sanitary sewer line along Bankhead Highway, they will now be diverted to the wastewater effluent line project that ties into Squaw Creek Golf Course.


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