2008 Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards

(Over 25,000 population)

 

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Garland (Public Works)

Preserving neighborhood and housing aesthetics is often difficult as a community ages. The City of Garland Code Compliance Department initiated “Code Cares” to help individuals maintain their property when they are confronted with hardships. In this staff-developed program, code inspectors volunteer their time to do yard work and make minor home repairs for elderly and indigent residents. Since its inception, “Code Cares” has drawn the interest of churches and community groups, with more than 100 citizens assisting city staff. In addition to helping citizens in need and maintaining neighborhoods, this program saves valuable tax dollars by negating the need for further inspections and notices and avoiding the cost of third-party cleanups. To date, the citizens of Garland have saved nearly ten thousand dollars due to the success of “Code Cares.” video

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College Station (Communications)

Recognizing that the city needed a way to exchange open and honest dialogue with the public long before important issues became meeting agenda items, Mayor Ben White offered to host “Coffee with the Mayor”—discussions with residents in a comfortable, informal setting. The mayor selects the topic and target group for these monthly sessions, and a news release invites the desired audience. To extend the dialogue to a broader audience, sessions are usually videotaped and broadcast on the city’s cable-access channel. The cost for the program is minimal, and attendance ranges from 25-65 people. “Coffee with the Mayor” brings refreshing, face-to-face communication back to local government. The program has been so popular that parents have asked the mayor to expand his event to kids, calling it “Juice with the Mayor.” video

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Conroe (Management Innovations)

Striving to keep costs down without diminishing services it provides to citizens, the city developed a system called Conroe Lean. This citywide program is a system of lean thinking that emphasizes improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, effort, and environment. These cost-savings projects include making improvements to the utility systems, combining janitorial services for every city facility into one service contract, and hiring a part-time mail clerk to pick up and deliver mail throughout the city. Conroe Lean has given the staff the tools needed to show cost to benefit for every process performed by the city. In addition, the program has improved the quality of the city’s services by helping employees recognize how they can better serve citizens while being conscious of costs. video

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Round Rock (Public Safety)

Two Round Rock police officers assigned as school resource officers at the local high school took the call of duty a step further by obtaining teaching certificates. They developed a curriculum that would teach students about law enforcement and increase public safety through education while building a bond among police, students, parents, and the community. The officers, who are the first in Texas to be certified teachers actively teaching while on duty as police officers, created three sections of course work: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Fundamentals of Criminal Law, and Criminal Investigations. This program saves the school district the cost of a teacher’s salary, and the additional courses offer more elective options for students. Since the officers began teaching, their class rosters have doubled and their classes routinely fill up quickly. video

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Denton (City Spirit)

Denton is leading the way in environmental awareness for the entire community by offering green initiatives, programs, and education. However, city staff recently realized that citizens and businesses wanting to “go green” might not know how to find the best city program for their needs. It was decided that a central source directly matching city resources to the needs of the community would be very helpful, so the Going Green with the City booklet was created. This fun and easy-to-comprehend, 12-page booklet highlights environmental services and programs offered by the city in a single publication, covers basic environmental terminology, and outlines simple steps citizens can implement at home, at work, and on the go. The booklet is available on the city’s Web site as well as in print—on recycled paper, of course. video

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Additional Information

Additional information on the TML Municipal Excellence Awards Program can be obtained by callingthe TML offices at 512-231-7400.

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