City officials plan to draft, propose, and work for passage of legislation in two areas:
Amend state law to allow the city to call a special election within its ETJ (the Castle Hills master planned development) to add that area to the boundaries of an existing Crime Control and Prevention District. State law currently allows boundaries of a Crime Control District to be expanded – with voter approval - only within municipal borders.
Similar legislation was successfully pursued in the 2015 session to allow an election for a Fire Control and Prevention District. However, the bill passed that session for a Crime Control District contained erroneous language and did not give the authority being sought. An election was held in May in Castle Hills, and voters there gave strong approval to joining the Fire Prevention District boundaries.
Lewisville already provides police services in Castle Hills by contract. As commercial and residential development has continued within the ETJ, the cost of that police service also has increased. If voters added the ETJ to the current Crime Control District, it would create a dedicated revenue stream to fund police services in Castle Hills without impact property taxes in Castle Hills or Lewisville.
STATUS: HB-2445 was filed by Rep. Tan Parker on February 26. It has been scheduled for a public hearing before the House Urban Affairs Committee on April 4. Lewisville will send two officials to testify at the hearing.
Along with the cities of Denton and Highland Village, Lewisville hopes to restructure the governing board for Denton County Transportation Authority to create a board that is more accountable to member cities and their residents.
The current board was originally created by statute as a guiding body that included representation from communities throughout Denton County. However, only voters in three cities approved a half-percent sales tax to fund public transit. This means the DCTA budget is being approved by a non-elected board of directors that includes a majority of members who represent communities that do not pay into the system. The three funding cities want to change this odd system of “representation without taxation” and limit voting board membership to the three funding cities plus two representatives appointed by Denton County.
Lewisville collects and remits to DCTA more than $13 million per year in sales tax revenue, representing nearly half of all tax revenue to the transit agency. And yet, Lewisville’s one member on the board of directors can routinely be outvoted by a board majority that comes from communities that do not contribute financially in any way and have no tangible stake in the success of DCTA services.
The three cities also want the ability to appoint current City Council members to the DCTA board of directors. Current law does not allow that, unlike the governing boards of DART and other transit bodies around the state where cities do have that option. This could give cities more relevant input into DCTA budgeting and decision-making.
STATUS: HB-2319 was filed by Rep. Tan Parker on February 25. Rep. Lynn Stucky joined as a co-author on February 27. A public hearing before the House Transportation Committee was held on March 26. The bill was reported favorably out of the committee on March 26.
SB-1066 was filed by Sen. Jane Nelson on February 25. A public hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee was held on March 27. The bill was reported favorably out of the committee on April 1.