Denton County commissioners have given their annual approval for the Capital Improvements Plan, which provides for the continuing development of the county.
Among the larger projects proposed in the plan is a radio modernization project. The Denton County Sheriff’s Office handles dispatch duties for more than 40 entities and the current radio communications equipment needs to be replaced for the sake of the first responders.
“This will be very good, not just for the county, but all jurisdictions in the county,” said County Judge Mary Horn. “No one will have to be relaying messages — everyone will be able to communicate — saving time in emergency situations is very important to save lives.”
The plan, which is said to always be a work in progress, is a tool for planning the budget for county officials, when issuing debt and when to look at holding another bond election.
“The committee looks at all projects and recommends the most important jobs,” said Donna Stewart, the county’s budget officer. “[The plan] is reviewed and tweaked and approved by commissioners on an annual basis.”
The plan identifies the major capital needs of the county for a 10-year period and will provide a guide for funding present and future infrastructure enhancements for roads, drainage improvement projects, new facilities, repairs and/or upgrades to existing facilities as well as replacement of major capital equipment purchases including information technology projects.
The committee is made up of department heads and two members of the Commissioners Court and takes in input from all the departments in the county to contribute to the advanced planning.
“The last thing we want is two departments to come in with really big requests in the same year,” Horn said. “If we can anticipate those needs, we can spread out the expense over multiple years.”
It may be 2014 before the county is ready to proceed on the communications fix.
Also officials will be looking at adding a county medical examiner’s facility and vehicle maintenance facility in 2016 and 2019 respectively.
“We have time to prep for a bond election and hopefully the voters approve,” Stewart said of the future projects.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter @BjlewisDRC.