Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Award Winners for 2011
(Under 25,000 population)
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Colorado City (City Spirit)
The “Reclaim Colorado City” program is a broad initiative aimed at taking control of and proactively shaping the future of the city in a positive way. This extensive effort features three main prongs: code enforcement and demolition, improvements in waste disposal, and the restoration of an old hotel. First, city ordinances related to building standards were reviewed, revised, and actively enforced. This effort included the demolition of 51 dilapidated and dangerous structures in a 12-month period. Second, trash cans were replaced with modern dumpsters, and a new recycling center was developed. Third, the city took initial steps in cleaning up, securing, and restoring the historic Baker Hotel, which had been abandoned and in a state of decay for more than 50 years. All these efforts were augmented by numerous other small projects, and even today, “Reclaim Colorado City” is constantly evolving as new partnerships are built with additional city stakeholders.
Prosper (Communication Programs)
To keep residents and employees fully engaged, the town decided to bolster its communication efforts by establishing a new initiative—Prosper’s Enhanced Communication Program. This program—which is in addition to the emergency notification system—is anchored by five areas of communication proficiency. First, developing credible, timely, and compelling news releases; second, interacting constantly and consistently with traditional media outlets to disseminate information; third, purchasing advertising space in the local newspaper and publishing essential town information; fourth, regularly reaching out electronically to email subscribers with town information, council meeting agendas and summaries, welcome messages to new residents, and breaking news; and fifth, communicating regularly to employees with a monthly newsletter. The program uses the slogan “Prosper Matters” as the unifying element across these five components.
Colleyville (Management Innovations)
In 2010, the city executed a partnership between the police departments of Colleyville and two neighboring cities to develop a regional dispatch center. The end goals were to increase efficiency and effectiveness, eliminate redundancy, enhance levels of service, and reduce costs to Colleyville by eliminating its jail and dispatch center. The total costs of the regional center were shared among the three cities, with payments made in direct proportion to each city’s respective dispatch and jail workloads. The estimated savings to Colleyville in the first year alone was approximately $115,000. Not only has the regionalization accomplished all the initial goals for the center, but it also has resulted in improved sharing of police and fire data, improved compliance with national standards, seamless service to Colleyville residents, and enhanced coverage for areas near contiguous borders.
Borger (Public Safety)
Local industries just outside Borger’s incorporated city limits needed service, response, and training to meet insurance, company, and OSHA requirements. Since the city’s fire department was capable of meeting these needs, the department created a training division that could provide the industries with standby services, training, and support that previously had been delivered by out-of-town contractors. Providing these services brought a new income stream into Borger and also allowed the city to provide high-value services at a reduced cost to its industrial partners. The training program has been extremely successful, creating a win-win scenario where all parties involved benefit—the industries, the fire department, and the city. Some of these benefits include increased public safety, better trained firefighters and industrial partners, new fire department teams and capabilities, and cost savings passed on to the industries.
Magnolia (Public Works)
Unity Park includes 30 acres of much-needed recreational areas for the city’s residents and visitors. It offers a composite of the area’s natural beauty, including water, woods, and slightly changing elevations. The park includes walking trails, a pond and habitat restoration area, a wetland overlook, interpretive exhibits, a shaded playscape area that is interactive, a splash pad, picnic tables, a 7,500-square-foot covered pavilion with a kitchen and restrooms, a state-of-the-art amphitheater, sand volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit, and a competition skate park. The city saved more than $2 million due to assistance and cooperation from the county, school district, and citizens, plus a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. On July 4, 2010, the park opened with an estimated 4,500 in attendance for a day of spectacular events. For generations to come, Unity Park will be a place for all ages to experience nature, exercise, family outings, and celebrations.
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling the TML offices at 512-231-7400.