2009 Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards

(Over 25,000 population)


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Frisco (Public Works)

The city’s Smart Irrigation Program was introduced as an innovative approach to improve the community’s outdoor water use practices and help manage summer peak demands. The program includes free irrigation check-ups for residential properties, real-time weekly outdoor watering recommendations, the installation of a weather station, outdoor water usage reports, a rebate incentive to homeowners who replace their automatic irrigation controller with a weather-based smart controller, and an ordinance adopted by the council that requires the installation of smart controllers in all new homes. The program, which is a partnership among several groups, was introduced to the community in presentations, outreach events, and brochures. It is an exceptionally comprehensive project, focusing on all aspects of reducing waste in outdoor watering. video

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Sugar Land (Communication Programs)

Because Sugar Land is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, with an Asian community that makes up nearly 30 percent of the population, the city created the Asian Outreach Program. Working closely with a group of Asian citizen leaders, the program has resulted in a number of new initiatives intended to facilitate greater communication and citizen involvement. A Chinese phone bank was created to assist with public safety issues, the city hosts various multi-cultural events throughout the year, and special employee cultural seminars are conducted to ensure effective delivery of city services. As a result of all these efforts, the city is fostering an inclusive, understanding, and respectful multi-cultural community and was named the nation’s first Community of Respect® by the Anti-Defamation League.video

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Arlington (Public Safety)

Project REACH—REjuvenating Arlington, Creating Hope—is a partnership among the city and numerous community stakeholders designed to decrease crime and quality-of-life issues in an underserved portion of East Arlington. To accomplish this goal, law enforcement officials launched a foot-patrol program in key hotspots, created an apartment owners’ association, and conducted targeted, gang-reduction efforts with the aid of a federal grant. The city library department developed a satellite library program, using donated materials and state grant funds to create “branch” libraries in partnership with strategically located apartment complexes. Finally, a Family Support Center was created to offer a “one-stop” shop of various social service providers in one facility. Project REACH is helping create lasting change by empowering residents to sustain their neighborhood quality over time. video

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San Marcos (Management Innovations)

In university towns, students and non-students often clash, and San Marcos was no exception. In an effort to improve these relations, the Achieving Community Together—or ACT—Campaign was formed in June 2008. ACT is a collaborative effort of the City of San Marcos and Texas State University-San Marcos that focuses on common values, mission, and goals. This historic effort marks the first time stakeholders have come together on a large scale to promote positive relations between student and non-student residents through education, community connectedness, and resources. Since its formation, ACT has rapidly evolved from a single educational event to a large scale, ongoing program with long-term impact. video

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Sugar Land (City Spirit)

During Hurricane Ike, the city organized volunteers who stepped in to help their neighbors during the challenging weeks that followed. The city’s volunteer program titled Serve Sugar Land served as the basis for this volunteer army and was supplemented by residents who answered the call for additional volunteers. Since Hurricane Ike, the Serve Sugar Land program has doubled in size to more than 800 volunteers who contributed an additional 4,200 hours of service in 2008, beyond the Hurricane Ike recovery effort. As a direct result of the overwhelming success of the volunteer program during Hurricane Ike, Serve Sugar Land was added as a permanent addition to the city’s emergency response system. Although this volunteer program attained particular success during a crisis, its format can easily be replicated in any city that wants to increase its volunteer base. video

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Additional Information

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

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