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Towns’ police talks at end

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

Double Oak no longer discussing serving Bartonville

Double Oak has decided to end its informal talks with Bartonville over providing police services.

The Town Council voted 3-2 on Monday to end the discussion. The move comes two weeks before Bartonville is scheduled to have a community meeting on the future of its police department, and after the town’s longtime police chief, Dave Howell, abruptly retired July 1.

Double Oak Mayor Mike Donnelly said the Town Council had received several briefings on the matter and decided Monday to cease talks. He declined to elaborate on the council’s motivations.

“I’ll let the council action stand on its own,” said Donnelly, who doesn’t vote on agenda items unless there is a tie.

Council members John Dondrea and Ara Minassian cast the dissenting votes.

After the May election, the Bartonville Town Council began investigating in earnest whether to abolish its police department. The town allocated about $479,000 for the department’s operations this year and some council members had expressed concerns about rising costs.

Town leaders ruled out a patrol contract with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office. The Argyle Police Department declined to make an offer, but Double Oak did offer a preliminary two-year contract for services.

Whether the end of talks with Double Oak affects Bartonville’s plans for its department remains to be seen. The Town Council ratified Bobby Dowell’s appointment as interim police chief on July 15.

During the course of that meeting, the town staff also recommended an outside assessment and audit of the department be conducted by the Texas Police Chiefs Association. The town’s crime control and prevention district is expected to consider that consulting contract, which would cost about $3,000, at its meeting tonight.

Town leaders scheduled a community meeting on the future of police services in Bartonville for Aug. 5.

Bartonville Mayor Bill Sherer did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Bartonville has one of the lowest property tax rates among Denton County cities, at just 19.2940 cents per $100 valuation.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.