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City ballot measures approved

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

Voters OK propositions on liquor sales, bonds

Liquor sales are now legal in Denton, after thousands of voters chose to make all alcoholic beverages legal to sell.

The vote means that Denton bars and restaurants no longer have to get special permits as private clubs to sell hard alcohol, and that businesses can start selling bottles of hard liquor starting Jan. 1.

The issue was brought to the ballot after more than a dozen local bar owners and volunteers petitioned to make the city wet with roughly 7,000 signatures. Supporters have argued that the city could gain roughly $700,000 in local sales tax revenue each year by allowing the legal sale of all alcohol.

Marcus Watson, who helped spearhead the movement, said people have always bought hard alcohol and consumed it, so it makes sense for the city to benefit from those sales.

“As fast as this city is growing, and as much infrastructure that we need, it seems silly to not have that sales tax revenue as one of our sources of income to make these things happen,” Watson said.

The bond election

With all four bond projects passing with majorities, the city now will decide if there will be a property tax increase of 3 cents per $100 valuation to finance the city’s largest bond election.

Earlier this year, a committee of local residents, who were appointed by the City Council, recommended $98.2 million in spending for bond projects. The committee reviewed proposals from city employees and residents before making final suggestions. For voting, the bond package was broken into four votes.

Voters passed $61.7 million for street reconstruction and improvement, $8.5 million for drainage improvements and $16.6 million in bonds for public safety additions and upgrades.

Additionally, a proposition for $11.4 million for park improvements passed.

Within the parks proposition is $200,000 for the Denton Community Splashpark, which would add an area for children with spray jets, water cannons and dumping buckets.

Amber Briggle, who has led efforts to create a splash park and helped raise $12,000 for the project, said she was excited the project will finally come to fruition.

“It was only 15 months ago I brought this to the attention of the city, and to see it move forward so quickly, it’s been inspiring,” Briggle said. “I think the community was really on board with this.”

The timing for the bond projects will depend on when the bonds are sold, but Briggle said Denton could have a splash park as early as the summer of 2016.

The parkland swap

In the closest local vote, Denton residents approved a land swap between the city and a local developer.

SSR Group, a local developer made up of members of the Rayzor family, will have an additional 1.7 acres along Bonnie Brae Street on the southwest corner of the North Lakes Park. In exchange, the group will give the city about one-third of an acre on Riney Road along the northeast edge of the park, and will give the city an additional payment.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.