2002 Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards
(Over 25,000 population)
City Spirit – Longview
Facing a growing need for sports facilities, the City of Longview recognized the need to develop a plan for the 21st century. When 70 acres the city had been leasing changed hands and its future became uncertain, the city developed a program called Partnerships for Public Spaces Program. This program leverages available city funds with the generosity of the Longview community, available grant funding, interlocal cooperation to accomplish community goals, and the desire of Longview citizens to work together to address a need. The change in spirit of the citizens has become one of community pride, confidence in themselves and their local government, and one that looks forward to expanding the horizons of the city.
Public Safety – Denton
The City of Denton has implemented an innovative and unique supervisory certification program called the STEP Academy, Supervisory Tools for Effective Performance. The program has 86 hours of core curriculum workshops in the areas of basic supervision, customer service, leadership, interpersonal relationships, coaching and evaluating employees, policies and procedures, and the legal aspects of supervising. There are also 24 hours of elective workshops that help city employees improve their supervisory skills while developing additional skills of particular interest to the employee. The academy creates a win-win situation for the City and its employees by offering personal and professional development. The STEP Academy is instrumental in developing a city government’s most precious resource – its people -- into ambassadors of customer service.
Communications – Denton
In an effort to enhance emergency preparedness, the City of Denton has implemented various emergency communication initiatives needed to coordinate an effective response to a crisis event. The Public Information Office worked closely with other city departments on emergency communication processes to improve the efficiency of internal communication within the city, address the exchange of timely information with various organizations, and enhance communications to citizens. Positive feedback has been received from community organizations, other first responders, the media, and Denton citizens. While the city hopes it never has to activate the emergency communication procedures, city leaders are confident that the processes are better today than they were a few years ago.
Management Innovation – Garland
Recognizing that neighborhoods are valuable city assets, not just consumers of city services, Garland city officials have a renewed focus on neighborhood vitality. Based on this viewpoint, neighborhoods, like any other asset, are monitored, managed, and preserved in order to ensure the long-term vitality of a city. As the city approaches build-out, the need to preserve neighborhood vitality becomes both a financial and a quality-of-life concern. At the center of the city’s effort are the Neighborhood Benchmarking Program, the Office of Community Coordination, and the Community Action Response Team. The purpose of the program is to increase the availability of information regarding changing neighborhood conditions, to enable proactive efforts, and to improve cooperation both within the city and between the city and its neighborhood groups.
Public Works - City of LaPorte
The Little Cedar Bayou Erosion Control Project was initiated through a council of governments grant to develop an erosion control project that could be used in the Texas coastal area. Working with a number of federal, state, and local agencies, the City of La Porte joined forces with La Porte High School and the Boy Scouts to preserve existing parkland and to create new areas for enjoyment. After removal of dead wood and debris from the area, erosion control solutions were installed and grasses and trees were planted. The project should result in the elimination of additional erosion and the establishment of new marshland for avian and aquatic habitats. Planned improvements to the area include a bird watching stand, benches and interpretative signage, and additional planting of native cedars.
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling Karla Vining at the TML offices, (512) 231-7400.