The Midway Lounge has been in her family for 30 years. But whether it stays open depends on how much money she can tuck back in the till.
Lately, it's been hard to fill the stools at her bar, much less see a big bang in her bank account.
"People just aren't drinking at bars. They're partying at home," she said. "They just aren't coming in and drinking like they used to, and that makes business hard."
She said a $500 increase in her permit fee to serve mixed drinks in the unincorporated area of Garland County could force her to close out more than bar tabs.
"It'll make a difference, a huge difference," she said. "For big nightclubs that are able to charge seven, eight, or 12 dollars a drink it might not. For clubs that can charge a cover it might not. For me, it will."
That bump up in fees, according to Garland County Tax Collector Rebecca Dodd-Talbert, would occur if the Quorum Court votes to set the cost with the state-set fees.
"We're just wanting to get it clarified," she said. "We just want it in an ordinance that we're going to follow the state rates, or what rates we're going to charge. That way, there's teeth to it. Especially when we go to those who owe the money, we can present it to them in writing and there's no question."
A resolution in 1969 approved a 10 percent tax and permit fees, but it hasn't been updated to recent rates.
"That resolution worked fine back then. It had everything we needed to know in it. But it's now over forty years later, and it needs to be updated," Dodd-Talbert said.
It can cause confusion in her office, dealing with more than $100,000 in taxes and fees from 41 restaurants and hotels that are affected. That's because she's been given a resolution that states she should follow state rates, but a fee schedule issued by the county that says otherwise.
"The numbers the amounts in the resolution don't match what is actually in the state law. So, we're just trying to get the Quorum Court to tell us do you want us to use this number, do you want us to go with what the state says," Dodd-Talbert said.
The Quorum Court opted to keep the ordinance on its first reading Monday, holding discussion until its second reading in October. The group could eventually vote to bump up the rates or keep them the same.
"If they vote to go with the state rates, we'll see that $500 permit fee increase," Dodd-Talbert said. "If they vote to keep things the same, well then, it's the same."
The three reading process, according to Dodd-Talbert, is to ensure business owners like Denen have the opportunity to voice concerns and get answers about how their business could be affected, without feeling railroaded in the process.
"I think everyone's afraid we're trying to rush this through and get it done really quickly," she said. "But all I can tell them is that I've been working on this for about two years, saying it needed updated. Now, the ordinance is written and we're moving forward."
According to Dodd-Talbert, 41 businesses could be affected in the unincorporated areas of Garland County.