1999 Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards
(Over 25,000 population)
Public Safety – City of Plano
Like other cities across the country, Plano has a drug problem. Plano is addressing the problem by bringing together the community, local policing agencies, and other enforcement agencies. The program, entitled Three Step Approach to Drug Crisis, combines Aggressive Enforcement, Education and Demand Reduction, and Coordinated Aggressive Prosecution. Drug deaths are treated as homicides, and community awareness has increased. This approach has achieved results. Overdose deaths dropped from 18 in a two-year period to only four deaths the following year.
Communications – City of Lubbock
Like many cities across Texas and the nation, Lubbock has not been able to recruit enough police officers to keep its Police Department at full force. Last year, in order to enhance police recruiting and to reach more potential candidates, the city began a public information campaign entitled Nothing but the Best – which is the motto of the Lubbock Police Department Training Academy. This effort has paid off for the city. In February of this year, the largest recruit class since 1989 began the grueling 20-week Police Academy.
Management Innovations – City of Sugar Land
The council agenda process used by cities has changed very little in the past quarter century. Agenda packets are painstakingly copied, consuming reams of paper and an enormous amount of staff time for each meeting. In 1997, the Sugar Land City Council set a goal to develop a more efficient agenda process through the use of new information technology. The City has since transformed its City Council meeting agenda from a completely manual, paper-oriented process to an automated computer process. An electronic agenda is created and written to a recordable compact disc for transmission to individual councilmembers, and the agenda is placed on the city’s Web site. The resulting success is a tribute to teamwork and the belief that change can be good.
Public Works – City of Richardson
Faced with both increasing traffic volumes and EPA requirements to decrease mobile source emissions, the City of Richardson is meeting the challenge head-on with its comprehensive system of traffic control. Through innovative upgrades of existing video surveillance and traffic signal data communications, the city has provided new, cost-effective, state-of-the-art technologies without incurring additional construction or traffic disruptions. The City of Richardson’s Advanced Traffic Management System has increased mobility, decreased pollution, and improved safety through a coordinated approach of signal system control, video surveillance, incident response, and enhanced communications with other city departments and citizens.
City Spirit – City of Texas City
Fourth Monday Trade Days take place in downtown Texas City every month, on the weekend preceding the fourth Monday. An indoor-outdoor event, Fourth Monday attracts artists and vendors who sell crafts, collectibles, and antiques. Through the city’s economic development corporation, this ongoing event has restored vacant stores to the property tax rolls and netted approximately $1.8 million in sales tax revenues during its first year of operation. But more importantly, the program has united small merchants to work toward improving their shopping district and revitalizing the downtown area.
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling Karla Vining at the TML offices, (512) 231-7400.