County approves tax zone for road funds

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Denton County commissioners voted Friday to approve a special taxing zone to make the county eligible for more than $1 million in state grants to repair roads damaged by gas well traffic.

Commissioners voted unanimously to form a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone, known as a CETRZ, as a mechanism to obtain funds authorized by the state Legislature for the repair of damage to county roads caused by heavy trucks that go to gas well sites.

Now commissioners will wait to see how much money will come to the county. The county’s zone would provide funds for Doyle Road and Indian Trail, which border Precincts 1 and 4.

Commissioners held a public forum during their Friday meeting, but no one from the public attended to speak on the issue.

Commissioner Andy Eads gave a brief rundown on the CETRZ and the $1.07 million the state has already said Denton County could stand to receive in grant funding. The zone had to be formed so the county would be eligible for the grant funding made available during the last legislative session.

County Judge Mary Horn said that one other aspect of the CETRZ is that when one is formed, it sets the base year for taxable value along the roadway. Any increase in value to the land and any additional tax dollars generated because of improvements can be used to go back into road repair for that road in the future.

Horn echoed Eads’ statements that this is not a new tax on county residents. Horn said the Legislature approved the grant money for one year and it’s unknown if it will be available after that.

“It such a new thing and we wanted to be sure to create the district so we could check it out,” Horn said. “If it proves productive and beneficial to the county, fine. If not, we will eliminate it. But I didn’t want to miss an opportunity.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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