Denton County gives $35.1 million in small business grants to help support local economy

Denton County Commissioners Court has granted a total of $35.1 million for both Phase I and Phase II of the Denton County OPEN business grants. The funds are from a portion of the stimulus money Denton County received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act also known as the “CARES Act.”

Through the two phases, Denton County will have re-invested an average grant of $25,357 into 1,385 businesses that support an estimated 10,401 jobs. In Denton County, around 95.6 percent of all businesses employ fewer than 50 employees

In comparison, Tarrant County earmarked $30 million for business grants, Collin County is expected to provide $15 million for businesses and Dallas County earmarked $5 million. Travis County set aside $9 million for business grants while Bexar County awarded $11.75 million for businesses.

 

Helping residents important to Denton County

Recognizing that people across Denton County have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, Denton County employees have been busy behind the scenes, working to provide services that help keep people in their homes, assist economic recovery through business grants, help keep our police, fire and EMTs safe with personal protection equipment, providing free testing for COVID-19 and much more.

Since the pandemic began in March, Denton County has been busy:

  • Shoring up our local economy with $35.1 million in 1,385 small business grants
  • Supporting our local non-profits with more than $2.5 million in grants to 43 non-profits, which includes an estimated $1.4 million for food, food trucks to feed the homeless and refrigeration to preserve food and for transport.
  • Launching a fresh produce initiative at an estimated $2 million to ensure our hungry have plentiful fruits and vegetables. We delivered 785 boxes in the first week.
  • Providing 36 of our communities with an estimated $40 million to help pay for their COVID-19-related expenses
  • Spending just over $2 million on keeping people in their homes through an eviction prevention program.
  • Providing more than 419,300 masks, 628,300 gloves, 1,780 gowns, 5,535 hand sanitizers, 594 face shields and 30 goggles to first responders in communities across the county, long-term care facilities and our local non-profits providing services to our residents.

Denton County Public Health has offered thousands of free COVID-19 tests, not once but twice weekly for several months at locations around Denton County to ensure residents have access to the accurate PCR nasal swab tests.

Our health department has worked countless hours since this pandemic began reviewing and reaching out to each positive case as well as investigating each COVID-19-related death to ensure accuracy in our reporting to you – the public. They also operated a hotline to help the public with questions and worked with state and federal officials while also keeping in close communication with the public through news releases, social media, websites, graphics and more.

At the same time, our budget department worked late nights and weekends helping us look for ways to trim our budget so that we can offer you a smaller budget than last fiscal year AND lower the tax rate at a time when we know many of you are looking for every opportunity to save money.

In the past two years, we also approved not one, but two opportunities for our homeowners to save money – through the homestead exemption and the over 65 and disabled tax ceiling. These measures trim our revenues, but it was more important to us to save you money.

We have increased our services to you during a time of need while also looking at ways to cut costs. That is what your Denton County Commissioners should do and it is what we have done and will continue to do.

 

 

County launches project to feed local residents with produce from local, regional growers

Denton County food pantries have been receiving fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a new project launched by the Denton County Commissioners Court in August.

The project, “Feeding Denton County,” involves a local grower working with other farms in the area to provide a variety of produce carefully packed in 25-lb. boxes and delivered directly to local food pantries each week. In the first two weeks of the project, we provided more than 2,100 boxes to help feed our residents.

We earmarked $10 million of the $147 million received by Denton County from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to ensure all food needs across Denton County were covered.

As part of the agreement with the county, Denton Creek Farm Inc. can provide up to 3,000 boxes each week at a cost of $37 per box now through Dec. 30, 2020.

Keith and Kassandra Copp, owners of Denton Creek Farm, purchase produce from local and regional growers when it is available as well as from farms around the U.S. as needed to create a box with between 10 to 13 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. As a result, this project also supports our local farms and helps keep people who work on them employed.

Local non-profit food pantries and pantries at churches are welcome to contact us at 940-349-4672 to learn more about the program and sign up to receive boxes of fresh produce to serve our residents who need a little assistance during this ongoing pandemic. 

 

Work to begin soon to elevate Shady Shores Road

We recently approved a professional services agreement with Halff Associates for engineering services for the Shady Shores Road project from Swisher Road to West Shady Shores Road.

The $698,330 contract includes preliminary engineering services for schematic design, environmental studies, surveying and coordination with stakeholders and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the two-mile stretch that runs north and south on the western edge of Lake Lewisville.

Shady Shores Road will remain a two-lane roadway with plans to raise it at three low points. The road is owned in portions by three entities including Denton County, the Town of Shady Shores and the City of Lake Dallas.

Shady Shores and Lake Dallas officials agreed to cover $1.4 million of the cost for engineering with Denton County funding $4 million and the remaining $10 million anticipated through the North Central Texas Council of Governments. A kickoff meeting will be scheduled soon between the entities and the engineer.

Thank you to both communities for their support in helping to get this road project started. Shady Shores Road has flooded a number of times in recent years, cutting off access to residents who live along that route or use it as a thoroughfare.

 

City of Lewisville develops Listen Learn Lead program

In the wake of the violent and needless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, City of Lewisville Mayor Rudy Durham directed staff to reach out to the Black community in Lewisville for input on ways to build on the city’s rich diversity. This led to the formation of the Mayor’s Commission – Listen Learn Lead in June 2020.

The group consisted of nearly 30 contributors with a wide range of backgrounds – business owners, church leaders, board and commission members, political activists and students. They met weekly for seven weeks with a team of six listeners representing city leadership (including one spot filled by different city council members on rotation). Sessions ran from June 9 through August 20, with both in-person and online participation.

The first two sessions offered an opportunity for listeners to hear directly from the contributors about their own personal experiences as well as what resources are lacking in the Lewisville community.

The next three sessions were a time to learn. City representatives provided information on human resources directives and processes, police department general orders and processes, and general city operations. Contributors then offered feedback on existing processes that might need change or new processes that might be considered.

The final two sessions were an opportunity to lead. Input from the contributors was fashioned into a set of proposals for changes to city operations. Commission members discussed each proposal and reached consensus on a final set of recommendations to be submitted to the Lewisville City Council. It was the shared intent of all Commission members that these recommendations might be used to build on Lewisville’s rich cultural diversity to build a stronger city that offers equity and dignity to all persons.

The Mayor's Commission compiled a list of 30 recommendations that will be presented to Lewisville City Council on Sept. 14.

Hickory Creek supports local restaurants with voucher program

The Hickory Creek Economic Development Corporation created a dine-out voucher rebate program to help Hickory Creek restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $25 vouchers were mailed to residents who could then redeem them over the summer months by ordering from any of the Hickory Creek restaurants listed on the card. Residents could then return their cards with a restaurant receipt attached to receive a $25 reimbursement check.

Congratulations to Hickory Creek for thinking outside of the box in creating a unique way to support their local businesses while giving residents a free meal.

Highland Village cancels TXFallenPD Tribute Event this year

The TXFallenPD Tribute Event Committee decided to cancel the annual event this year due to COVID-19.

The mission for this event is to honor and remember Texas officers who died in the line of duty and to raise funds for their families.

The TXFallenPD Memorial T-Shirts are available for purchase at the Highland Village Police Department with all proceeds benefitting the Fallen Officer Fund. Donations also are accepted.

Sponsors, vendors and participants were informed of the cancellation and how they can help support the Fallen Officer Fund.

Flower Mound: Calling all artists and photographer for contest

Artists and photographers are invited to submit a photograph, digital art, painting or drawing that is of Twin Coves Park or inspired by it as part of a contest.

The winner’s artwork will be converted into a vinyl wrap on the pay station box at the park’s entrance.

The contest is for all ages and is not limited to Flower Mound residents. Only digital submissions will be accepted by Friday, Sept. 18.

Details on design criteria, dimensions and application submissions are at www.flower-mound.com/paystationcontest.

Lake Dallas Library plans WILD at Willow Grove events

Looking for an outdoor event for children? Every other Saturday at 10:30 a.m. under the pavilion at Willow Grove Park, children ages 3-7 can sing, dance, learn, create and explore with the help of licensed educators who will used Project WILD curriculum from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Please register, as space is limited. Go to https://bit.ly/2020WILDatWillowGrove or call the library at 940-497-3566.

Masks are required for all attendees over 10 years of age. Social distancing will be practiced.

The focus of the first class on Sept. 12 is Wildlife is Everywhere. Other WILD events this fall include:

Sept. 26: Who Lives in a Tree?

Oct. 10: Wildlife Water Safari!

Oct. 24: Owl Pellets!

The parking pass for Willow Grove Park is $5 per day. Lake Dallas residents can get a free parking pass from Lake Dallas City Hall or by filling out the online application at http://lakedallas.com/WGPPasses.

Denton County offices to close on Labor Day

Denton County offices will be closed on Sept. 7, Labor Day. All offices will resume their normal schedules on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Connect With Us:  Be sure and connect with Denton County on Facebook at facebook.com/DentonCountyTX and on Twitter @DentonCountyTX.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is bobbie.mitchell@dentoncounty.com and my office number is 972-434-4780.

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