Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Award Winners for 2008
(Under 25,000 population)
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Shenandoah (Public Works)
With the explosion of wireless technology and Internet services, the City of Shenandoah staff decided to provide wireless broadband network access for residents, city staff, and business owners. The residential area of the city is now blanketed with WiFi coverage, giving citizens unlimited use of city services and free access to the Internet with little to no infrastructure needed in their homes. City departments are now able to access needed services without requiring more infrastructure. The Shenandoah Wireless InterFace Technology network has helped create a more appealing city to residents, potential residents, and future businesses alike. As a result of the success of the network, the city is pursuing the possibility of offering more customer-oriented services for residents in the future. video
The city issued its first Annual Report Calendar in 2008 to increase governmental transparency and accountability and to communicate facts about city growth, different services, and the fiscal health of the city. Rather than create a standard report that citizens would discard, staff created something useful, informative, and fun. The sports-themed calendar lists events scheduled in the community and provides information about city staff, city council, and commissions, as well as water conservation tips and Parks and Recreation summer programming. The creatively written narrative is supplemented with budget facts, performance measures, and financial details for fiscal year 2007. The Annual Report Calendar was distributed to every home, business, and community partner in the city limits; included in utility new-customer packets; and posted at all city facilities. video
Granbury (Management Innovations)
For a number of years, the city finance department provided councilmembers with a monthly, multi-page financial package that included numerous reports. Then the staff decided to add a summary sheet to provide a quick snapshot of the city as a whole and identify specific items of interest. So they developed the “One Pager”—a concise overview of the financial position of the city for the month. It is divided into boxed sections with colored titles that easily identify five topics: an overview, selected statistics, revenue status, budget status, and bond fund projects. The “One-Pager” saves councilmembers significant time researching statistics by identifying the most important and relevant facts. It delivers that information in a time-saving format that is easy to access, yet its production costs are minimal in terms of both money and staff time. video
Jacksonville (Public Safety)
Faced with a rapidly shrinking applicant pool, the police department analyzed its hiring practices and quickly identified one possible roadblock: new applicants were required to be certified peace officers to be considered for employment. So the position of police recruit was added, allowing applicants with no former police experience to apply and, if hired, be paid by the city to attend a regional police academy. Because the department is familiar with the police academy, staff members are confident that the training standards are in compliance with and meet the expectations of the Jacksonville Police Department. This approach also instills in the recruit a sense of loyalty to the city upon completion of the academy. Within two weeks of publicizing this new policy, the city received more than 30 applications and interviewed 21 viable candidates. video
Fairview (City Spirit)
In light of rapid development in the town and the surrounding area, Fairview undertook several projects to help identify and preserve local historical sites, names, and structures. First, the town created a historical and cultural preservation commission. In late 2007, the group designated three sites and structures as landmarks, which cannot be moved, destroyed, or significantly altered. In addition, the town council created a list of historic names that developers must use when naming future arterial streets. As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the town also developed a comprehensive written history of the community, dating from prehistoric times to the present day. With the completion of all these projects, the town has ensured that local history will remain a part of the town’s fabric for the next 50 years and beyond. video
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling the TML offices at 512-231-7400.