2005 Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards
(Over 25,000 population)
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Round Rock (Public Works)
In the City of Round Rock, the Brush Recycling and Mulch Management Program provides brush recycling, produces mulch, and reduces landfill space. The program not only saves the city more than the $90,000 a year previously allocated for brush and disposal services, but also now produces a profit of $32,000 a year. Citizens either bring in trees and brush to the Recycling Center or receive curbside recycling for a nominal fee that is added to their water bill. The city then uses this refuse to produce organic mulch, which is available at no charge to city residents and is used by city departments for landscaping and to protect existing plants and trees. This successful program has long-term value to Round Rock because it is cost-effective, environmentally friendly, beneficial to both residents and city departments, and an efficient use of city resources. video
Due to the lack of local media coverage by the Dallas/Fort Worth network affiliates, the City of Denton was faced with three major communications challenges: televising city information on a high-profile channel, attracting new viewers to the more in-depth programming on the citys government access channel, and ensuring coverage of positive community stories not covered by local media. The result is DTV Newsbreak, a five-minute newscast produced three times a week for local insertion on CNN Headline News in Denton.A grant from Charter Communications provides an annual operating budget of $100,000 and does not impact taxpayers or the citys general fund. Citizens of Denton now have a regular source for local news, city departments have a high-profile avenue to communicate to the public, businesses and nonprofits are spotlighted, and community events are regularly publicized and covered.video
Midland (Management Innovations)
Additional officers and a laptop system have helped to double code enforcement productivity and efficiency in Midland, while saving both time and money.Wireless laptops, similar to those used by police officers, were purchased for all code enforcement officers so they could do more work in the field and avoid duplicating efforts. The laptops allow the officers to directly input information and print letters of violation from their vehicles. Thanks to GIS mapping software developed in-house and installed on each laptop, accuracy is no longer in doubt.The latest technology and personalized software have enabled the officers to spend more hours in the community and less in the office, resulting in more violations being reported and more than doubling the number of inspections. Most importantly, code enforcement personnel now have less turnaround time in responding to citizens needs.video
Round Rock (Public Safety)
The Round Rock Police Department implemented a program to help citizens who have a high probability of needing emergency assistance. The program prevents the damage and expense associated with forced entry to their homes when they need help. The police install a real estate-style lock box, which holds a key to the residence and requires a code to open, at the homes of the elderly, bed-ridden, and those with disabilities or serious medical conditions. Thanks to this program, emergency personnel can enter a home quickly without resorting to breaking a door or window. Thirty lock boxes were initially donated by Lowes Home Improvement Center and Supra Product, the manufacturer of the boxes, and by April 2005, the program had expanded to forty-five lock boxes in the field. They have saved time, money, and lives.video
Sherman (City Spirit)
The Sherman Public Safety Youth Academy, a cooperative effort of the fire and police departments, is an after-school program designed to make positive connections with the youth of the city and give them an interactive look into the duties of public safety officers. The Academys goals are to inspire a sense of community pride, foster better communications between youth and public safety officers, and present the public safety field as a potential public service career. Recruitment for the Academy focuses on at-risk youth and diversity, and the program includes activities such as rope rescue, processing crime scenes, climbing multi-story ladders, and using live fire hoses. The Academy culminates in a formal graduation ceremony, and many of the graduates from the first class returned to assist with the second class and to help the police and fire departments with various community functions.video
Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by calling Karla Vining at the TML offices, (512) 231-7400.