Helping those affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an important mission to the Denton County Commissioners Court.
When we received $147 million from the U.S. Treasury Department through the CARES Act, we earmarked more than $50 million to assist with housing, food, businesses and non-profit organizations.
To date, we have given more than $2 million in grants to our non-profits – ranging from PediPlace to Christian Community Action to Heart of the City and many more. We have provided funds to expand refrigeration in food pantries, keep people in their homes by covering their rent, add telehealth services to individuals with limited access to medical doctors and increase access to mental health services. We are adding Wi-Fi hotspots to neighborhoods without access to Internet for educational, medical and job search purposes. In addition, a number of children will receive school supplies this year thanks to these funds.
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg in what is needed in our communities. Many people are suffering and we are committed to doing all we can to help.
Our non-profits, churches and other organizations - along with the many volunteers who support them - are doing all they can to meet the demand. Please know we are thankful and appreciative for what they do day in and day out.
In fact, all 501c3, 501c4 and 501c6 organizations can apply for grants through the Denton County CARES portal at www.unitedwaydenton.org/DentonCountyCARES. These applications are reviewed by United Way of Denton County as well as our staff and then submitted to us for consideration each week.
Our intent is to make sure our Denton County residents receive the help they need help during this pandemic. We want to make sure our small businesses can continue to operate and employ individuals as well as keep people facing hardships in their homes with enough food to feed their families.
Our food pantries at CCA and the Salvation Army are seeing a 40-60 percent increase in new families needing food each week. Others across the county are experiencing the same level of need. Long lines form on days when drive-by food services are offered at our pantries.
We are talking to a local business about providing fresh produce to our pantries to ensure our residents have nutritious meals. We are also helping local food truck owners stay in business by asking them to assist in feeding our homeless. We have been in touch with our regional food banks – the North Texas Food Bank and the Tarrant Area Food Bank – to see how we can assist them in providing food throughout Denton County.
We also recently began discussing a project to ensure our residents in long-term healthcare facilities and other entities have the access they need for mental health services. We hope to work with a local non-profit to use iPads and Wi-Fi networks to assist individuals in having face time with mental health counselors during a situation when face-to-face counseling is not available or recommended due to the high risks from community transmission of the virus during this ongoing pandemic.
Every week since March 23, we have been working with individuals through the United Way of Denton County and nine other agencies to help cover rent. The county has spent more than $1 million to keep more than 930 families housed. Each week, that need continues to rise.
Individuals who need rental assistance can contact the United Way of Denton County at 940-566-2688. Our hope is that no family is without a roof over their heads because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We spent more than $3 million to support local businesses through the first round of business grants and earmarked at least another $20 million for a second round of business grants. Keeping Denton County businesses afloat is important to our local economy. It keeps people employed and business doors open. Be sure to stay tuned this month for the announcement detailing recipients of the second round of business grants.
Denton County also earmarked $45 million for our cities, providing funds at $55 per capita, which they are using to cover COVID-19-related expenses such as police, fire and emergency medical services.
Our health department has worked tirelessly to provide free testing services across the county to residents with symptoms of COVID-19 or are classified as essential workers such as first responders.
We have provided personal protection equipment to our first responders across the county as well as to more than 50 non-profits to enable all to provide services in a safe manner.
We are thankful for the CARES Act funds that have enabled us to provide this assistance to you. And we will continue to provide services for the remainder of the year as we all grapple with the challenges that this pandemic has brought to our doorsteps.
Denton County Commissioners believe in tax relief
Tax relief for homeowners is one way we can help you and it is top of mind each year as we go through the Denton County budget process. We have kept the county’s portion of property taxes low, decreasing it last year to the lowest rate since 1986 at $0.225278.
On June 30, we approved a residence homestead exemption of up to 1 percent or $5,000, whichever is greater to all Denton County homeowners. This means that the taxable value of your homestead will be lowered by these amounts, which reduces your county property taxes. This exemption applies to the current year’s property tax bill.
In 2019, we also approved a tax limitation for homeowners receiving an Over 65 or Disabled Person exemption. The Over 65 exemption is $55,000 and the Disabled Person exemption is $15,000. Homeowners who have claimed a homestead exemption and met the requirements can receive one or the other, but not both.
You can apply for a homestead exemption through the Denton Central Appraisal District, which is a separate entity from Denton County. We do not govern the appraisal district. Find out more information about applying for a homestead exemption at www.dentoncad.com or by calling 940-349-3800.
Sign up for free yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi classes
Register for free yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi classes at the Wayne Ferguson Plaza in Lewisville online every Monday at 6 a.m. for that week’s schedule of available classes. Due to COVID restrictions on class size, only 10 slots are available. Find out about other local events at https://www.playlewisville.com/
Visit the Fresh Ideas exhibit until Aug. 15
The Visual Art League of Lewisville’s “Fresh Ideas 2020” exhibit will be on display at the Medical City Lewisville Grand Theater art gallery through August 15.
Admission is free to the gallery, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Be sure to read up on the safety measures being taken on the MCL Grand Theater’s website at https://www.mclgrand.com/Home/Components/News/News/5193/1367.
Parks, trails and open spaces available for the public to enjoy
Parks, trails and open spaces in Flower Mound will continue to be available to the public to help maintain the mental and physical health benefits the spaces provide.
Flower Mound asks residents to practice social distancing and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but encourage everyone to take advantage of the outdoor spaces. For information about Flower Mound parks and playgrounds, visit flower-mound.com/137/Parks-and-Recreation.
Flower Mound: No. 5 ‘Most Budget-Friendly City for Renters’
Flower Mound was named as the No. 5 “Most Budget-Friendly City for Renters” in Texas, and No. 108 in the U.S. according to LendEDU.
With an average rent-to-income ratio of 15.65 percent and an average annual rent cost of $21,209, Flower Mound meets the recommendation of rent costing no more than 30 percent of annual income. The median household income in Flower Mound is $135,557.
Real estate data from the U.S. Census Bureau on over 25,000 cities was used by the company, which ranked communities according to their rent-to-income ratio.
Farmer’s Market offers fresh produce every Saturday
The Lake Dallas Farmer’s Market opens from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday in front of the Lake Dallas Public Library. To stage your own vending spot, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The market offers local, fresh produce from vendors like Dunn Farmin, Old Tyme Canning and Pop’s Kettle Corn!
For more information about vendors, visit http://www.lakedallas.com/456/Farmers-Market.
Emily Raccoon story teaches about recycling
Lake Dallas is encouraging families to teach youngsters about the importance of recycling through the story of a little raccoon named Emily.
After reading the story, summary questions will help highlight the importance of recycling.
Kids Kastle Community Build delayed until 2021
Phase 2 of the Kids Kastle Community Build, scheduled for July 20-25, has been cancelled, Highland Village officials said.
The City is working with Play by Design to reschedule the community build for early 2021.
Be on lookout for new geocache sites around Highland Village
City of Highland Village recreation staff researched and created geocaches that will soon be placed around the city.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using a GPS-enabled device like a cell phone.
Participants go to a specific set of GPS coordinates and attempt to find the geocache container hidden at that location.
Be on the lookout for new geocaches hidden by the Parks and Recreation department around Highland Village.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is email@example.com and my office number is 972-434-4780.