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 separate efforts to reach out to citizens. First, in September 2005, the city began mailing quarterly newsletters to residents to announce upcoming events, detail important decisions made by the city, and update citizens on city services. Next, the city improved and enhanced the annual Christmas parade. Advertising was increased, surrounding cities were invited to participate, and the celebration was expanded into an all-day event, with local vendors, the parade, a tree-lighting ceremony, and a Christmas decorating contest for homeowners. Finally, the city council changed its regular meeting day to avoid a conflict with local school board meetings and to enable increased participation, and the council made a concerted effort to encourage citizens to attend the meetings and to get more involved in their city.
Colleyville (Management Innovations)
Around the nation, both public and private sector organizations are feeling the impact of the baby boomer exodus from the workforce. This creates a need for first-rate employee development programs to retain and strengthen valued staff members. Colleyville’s answer to these challenges was the creation of a Workforce Development and Sustainability Plan to address and help meet the basic requirements of the city’s main resource—its employees. Recognizing the need for competitive compensation, succession planning, and quality staff development, the plan provides the city with a unified, integrated, and broad-based approach to dealing with all three needs. Because this plan can easily be duplicated by other cities, Colleyville officials have been invited to make presentations about the program on a national level. video
Highland Village (Public Safety)
The city’s police department implemented an innovative program that turns potentially adverse youth interactions into positive partnerships between teens, parents, and police. Called “PIP” for “Police Involving Parents,” the program has diverted more than 150 teens to a “less than strict enforcement” alternative to resolving minor infractions. The program involves the parent or guardian in the resolution of non-traffic and non-drug-related Class C violations committed by first-time youth offenders. When a violation occurs, the youth’s parent is notified and encouraged to respond to the scene, where the parent is required to take custody of the youth, take responsibility for the youth’s future actions, and participate in the resolution process. With a success rate of over 97 percent, the program has enabled the police department to build lasting relationships and partnerships with 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 of the 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.