Denton County Judge Andy Eads: Thankful for a year of collaboration, & success!

The holidays are a time to be thankful for all we have and how fortunate we are to live in Denton County, Texas, as we make special memories with family and friends. Our children attend the best schools and universities; our communities provide safe, secure neighborhoods and we enjoy an abundance of businesses. We have plentiful career opportunities, good roads with manageable commuting time, and our nonprofits provide the services we need for our physical and mental wellbeing. We are also blessed that our local municipal and school district leaders, chambers of commerce, and State Legislators collaborate to ensure the future of Denton County. That was never more apparent than in preparation for the 88th Legislative Session when an estimated 225 individuals joined us for the Denton County Days 2023 in Austin at the State Capitol.

As the largest Denton County Days event with representation from all four corners of the county, we made an impact at the Capitol as we met with Legislators in the House and Senate to bring important issues affecting Denton County to the forefront. During our Denton County Delegation Breakfast, our Denton County Legislative Delegation and Secretary of State Jane Nelson spoke about issues at the top of the state’s agenda, including securing the border, education finance, addressing mental health, and continued economic development – to name a few. We were successful with the Legislature to have the authority to invest local tourism dollars to build a new Exposition Center as part of our ongoing commitment to promote tourism, drive new economic impact and provide additional opportunities for residents throughout the county.  In the past fiscal year, we have attracted $1.14 billion in investments to Denton County by such major companies as Carhartt, DrinkPAK and McMaster-Carr in Alliance, Schluter in Roanoke, and Wells Fargo in Lewisville. These five companies will bring an estimated 1,533 jobs to Denton County, many paying an average of $70,000 to $80,000 in annual starting salaries. While Denton County is third in the top fastest growing counties in the nation by percentage, we also recognize the need to be conservative with your tax dollars. This year, we adopted a $396 million budget with a tax rate of $0.189485, an estimated 3 pennies below the FY 2022-2023 tax rate.

This no-new-revenue rate, due to our fast-paced growth of 86 residents every day, allowed us to prioritize public safety. We earmarked $3.5 million for public safety to increase the minimum starting salaries for law enforcement by 14 percent; increase fire service, rescue funding, and new positions; and cover the rising cost of inmate food and out-of-county inmate expenses. We were also able to increase our employee pay scales by 5 percent to continue attracting and retaining the best and brightest among our more than 1,900 employees. Thanks to your overwhelming support (3 to 1 votes in favor) for our $650 million Denton County Bond program last November, the transportation infrastructure in Denton County will continue to expand to meet the growing demand by our 1 million plus residents. This year, we sold our first tranche of road bonds – $110 million – to begin laying the groundwork for several projects in each of our four Precincts across Denton County. And last, but certainly not least, we approved the hiring of two full-time mental health navigators under the direction of the Denton County Public Health (DCPH) to launch a new program making it easier for individuals to find available resources to address non-emergency mental health concerns. 

As part of DCPH Links, navigators will assess the help-seeker’s need, make direct referrals to service providers, follow up to assess if the linkage was successful, build and maintain an online mental health resource directory, and track community assets and gaps in services. We realize there is a need for more mental health resources. Hopefully, this one-stop-shop navigator system will be able to walk individuals through the process and help them seek treatment and reduce the ping-pong effect of bouncing around. We have accomplished a lot this past year and we look forward to what the future holds. At Denton County, we sincerely wish each of you only the best this holiday season. 

Connect With UsIf you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is andy.eads@dentoncounty.gov, and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at www.Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup

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