Denton city council holds appreciation reception for outgoing council members

Denton city council holds appreciation reception for outgoing council members

Denton city council holds appreciation reception for outgoing council members
May 17
19:17 2018

More than 50 city officials and citizens attended an appreciation reception for outgoing council members Dalton Gregory and Sara Bagheri at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at city hall.

“Sara was a new voice on the council,” 10 year Denton resident Janie Cindric said. “I thought she had a voice of reason and brought that. There were many things Dalton Gregory did that were for the good for the community. I think they have both given to the community and strengthened it.”

Mayor Chris Watts beat Neil Durrance, a local lawyer who said Watts lacked transparency, with more than 70 percent of the vote on the May 5 election. This will be Watt’s final term as mayor.

Paul Meltzer, who lost the election last year, won the Place 6 spot, replacing Bagheri. Aaron “Fuzzy” Newquist and Deb Armintor are going to a runoff election on June 16 to replace Gregory for at-large Place 5.

Bagheri’s last council meeting was May 8, and she did not attend the reception on Tuesday. Gregory will serve six more weeks due to the runoff.

Citizens and city officials shared their experiences with Gregory and Bagheri on the council and their impact on the city.

Watts praised Bagheri’s questions during council meetings saying she brought ideas that needed to be considered. Bagheri was on council for two years.

“I always enjoyed Sara’s passion,” Watts said. “We have not always seen eye to eye on things, but I trust her deliberation. I trust her passion to speak the truth.”

Gregory was on council for nine years and was previously an elementary school principal. Watts said the historical context he brought to discussions was helpful.

Councilwoman Keely Briggs said Gregory was instrumental in environmental efforts and creating bike lanes. Briggs also said Bagheri was a big reason an effective tax rate passed. 

Gregory reflected on his time as a council member and is proud of the bike lane improvements and ordinances to stop predatory lenders and towing organizations.

“Anytime that we can make a decision that really does good for people — that is a very satisfying experience,” Gregory said.

Attendees also talked about Gregory’s humor and shared stories of his time as a principal at Ryan Elementary School and Lee Elementary School. John Baines, a local accountant, sang a song in honor of the two outgoing council members.

Citizens and city officials also discussed the future of the council, many mentioning they want the city to continue growing in transparency. Cindric cited the Denton Energy Center gas plant as an example, saying it was not openly discussed.

“I’m hoping that they listen more to the constituents,” Cindric said. “I hope they hear people’s voices. All citizens have the right to know all the decisions of the council.”

Meltzer, who ran on the slogan “Make Denton better, not bigger,” was sworn in at the event.

“I’m here to stand for all of you and all of Denton,” Meltzer said. “I’m here to equally represent those who voted for us and those who voted against us.”

Watts said Meltzer is involved in the city and is knowledgeable about issues they are going to face. Gregory’s replacement will be decided on the June 16 runoff between Armintor and Newquist.

“I trust that whoever wins the runoff will have the same goal that we have, which is to do the best for this city and its citizens,” Watts said.

Featured Image: File 

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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