Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Award Winners for 2006
(Under 25,000 population)
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Belton (Public Works)
Through visionary leadership and innovative partnerships, the City of Belton is enhancing recreational opportunities in the downtown area while reintroducing the public to different aspects of Belton’s history. The city is combining thought-provoking historic reminders with innovative uses for historic buildings to bring the past to life. Three projects will draw visitors into Belton’s rich past: Pedestrians and cyclists will learn about the Chisholm Trail and the cowboys who once drove cattle through the city, community center guests will discover the history of African Americans in the city, and visitors to the community park can enjoy a relaxing walk or fish in the creek. These projects have been funded by two grants, combined with $900,000 in voter-approved bonds.video
The “Combining a Community” Program included three separateefforts to reach out to citizens. First, in September 2005, the citybegan mailing quarterly newsletters to residents to announce upcomingevents, detail important decisions made by the city, and update citizenson city services. Next, the city improved and enhanced the annual Christmasparade. Advertising was increased, surrounding cities were invitedto participate, and the celebration was expanded into an all-day event,with local vendors, the parade, a tree-lighting ceremony, and a Christmasdecorating contest for homeowners. Finally, the city council changedits regular meeting day to avoid a conflict with local school boardmeetings and to enable increased participation, and the council madea concerted effort to encourage citizens to attend the meetings andto get more involved in their city.
Colleyville (Management Innovations)
Around the nation, both public and private sector organizations arefeeling the impact of the baby boomer exodus from the workforce. Thiscreates a need for first-rate employee development programs to retainand strengthen valued staff members. Colleyville’s answer tothese challenges was the creation of a Workforce Development and SustainabilityPlan to address and help meet the basic requirements of the city’smain resource—its employees. Recognizing the need for competitivecompensation, succession planning, and quality staff development, theplan provides the city with a unified, integrated, and broad-basedapproach to dealing with all three needs. Because this plan can easilybe duplicated by other cities, Colleyville officials have been invitedto make presentations about the program on a national level.video
Highland Village (Public Safety)
The city’s police department implemented an innovative programthat turns potentially adverse youth interactions into positive partnershipsbetween teens, parents, and police. Called “PIP” for “PoliceInvolving Parents,” the program has diverted more than 150 teensto a “less than strict enforcement” alternative to resolvingminor infractions. The program involves the parent or guardian in theresolution of non-traffic and non-drug-related Class C violations committedby first-time youth offenders. When a violation occurs, the youth’sparent is notified and encouraged to respond to the scene, where theparent is required to take custody of the youth, take responsibilityfor the youth’s future actions, and participate in the resolutionprocess. With a success rate of over 97 percent, the program has enabledthe police department to build lasting relationships and partnershipswith the teens in the city.video
Coolidge (City Spirit)
The citizens of Coolidge believed it was imperative to save the only remaining landmark of the town’s rich heritage—the historic 1903 Trinity-Brazos Valley Railway. The goal was to acquire and restore the depot and then use it as a museum, city office, and police department. The Texas Historical Commission deemed the property a historical site in April 1996. With the help of two grants, additional city funds, and a lot of hard work, the depot has been restored to almost exactly its appearance in the early 1900s. It now houses a museum, the city hall, and the police station. City offices are now ADA compliant, and after all these years, the building once again serves as the heartbeat ofthe city and a rest stop for weary travelers.video
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling the TML offices, 512-231-7400.