2018 Texas Municipal Excellence Award Winners
To foster positive relationships between police officers and youth, the City of Sachse offers four, week-long summer camps to children in third through eighth grades. The free camps are designed to engage and educate young residents and celebrate this vibrant community which offers a safe environment and high quality of life while retaining small-town values.
During the program, campers interact with officers and high school volunteers as they learn about important safety and civic topics. At the end of the summer, Cops and Campers produce a group of young citizens who are excited about their City, have formed bonds with police officers, and are empowered to be agents for the betterment of the entire community.
When tropical storm Harvey intensified into a Category 4 hurricane in less than 36 hours before landfall, Rockport’s Emergency Management Plan was set in motion. As part of the communication objectives, the City set up a satellite communication office in the Bastrop public library thanks to an inter-local agreement. From there, a handful of Rockport employees responded to calls from residents, the media, and volunteers, and posted vital disaster relief information on the City’s website and social media. Now out of the response phase, the City continues to use social media, its:
- Focus groups
- Open meetings to educate the community
- Press releases
- A quarterly newsletter
Together, Rockport is moving forward.
The City of Belton modernized the way the Bell County district attorney’s office receives evidence from its law enforcement partners. For years, local agencies would have to burn evidence to DVDs and physically deliver them to a prosecutor for inspection.
Working with the Belton police chief, the City’s IT director developed a creative and simple solution. A file transfer protocol site, which is more commonly know by its acronym FTP, was set up on the City’s secure server. Today, officers can submit case files by simply dragging them from their desktop or storage folder into the FTP solution, saving more than 1,000 hours of labor a year.
The goal of the Buda Police Department’s mental health officer is to ensure that individuals in a crisis receive the proper short- and long-term resources needed for recovery. The officer also works to normalize mental illness and educate citizens on symptoms.
Since 2017, the mental health officer has received more than 500 calls ranging from suicidal individuals to requests for welfare checks. Being proactive, rather than reactive, to citizens with mental illnesses means fewer encounters with police during an emergency. Stabilization, resources, contact, and education are vital to the job that supports the individual in crisis and helps keep all Buda citizens safe.
Palestine (Public Works)
Over the past several years, the City of Palestine’s wastewater plant has seen first hand the hazards of flush-able rags and other material and trash appearing in the City’s sewer system. To permanently address this costly and dangerous nuisance, the City partnered with a company to install a retrofit device capable of detecting and correcting clogs, created by wipes and other trash, before machinery failure. Within one month of the installation, the new equipment paid for itself. And since the initial installation in September 2017, the wastewater plant has had zero incidents, preventing workplace injury, eliminating employee overtime, and avoiding equipment failures.
Over 25,000 Population Category
The Mansfield Volunteer Program, known as MVP, is more than an opportunity for residents and city employees to give back to the community by helping residents with code compliance issues. The program is about changing lives and making a difference for the individuals served and the community as a whole.
What often begins as a code compliance complaint and a means to beautify the City, becomes a healing transformation in a resident’s life and binds together thousands of people in a common goal to help their neighbor. These MVPs are making a real difference in the City of Mansfield - bettering lives, improving property safety and values, and bolstering community pride.
The McAllen Update is a biweekly newscast that outlines current and future City projects. Each entertaining 10- to 15-minute video keeps community members engaged and informed about local events and important city commission meeting notes. The Update is distributed through the City’s YouTube and television station, and is posted on digital signage monitors throughout municipal buildings.
The newscast is also shared on the City’s successful social media platforms, which have a combined following of more than 80,000 people. The McAllen Update is a great tool for the City because it positively shines the spotlight on city agendas and programs that are improving residents’ quality of life.
To increase transparency and provide easy access to interactive communication between the government and citizens, the City of Tyler launched the MyTyler app for phones and tablets. The app incorporates direct communication, social media, mobile applications, civic events, and other traditional internet content into a one-stop shop for citizen requests and city information.
When citizens report issues, they receive push notifications of the resolution status. The app also supports expedited access to the directory information for each department and alerts about City news, events, and other places near a user’s geographic location. Since the launch last year, the MyTyler app has been downloaded more than 2,700 times and is used by 1,700 citizens regularly.
To address juvenile crime around a pedestrian bridge, Arlington police officers began working with an elementary school to support student development and achievement. The program started with officers walking students across the bridge, and then, it quickly blossomed into much more, including one-on-one mentoring and class presentations on the importance of education and anti-bullying.
As the officers worked with community leaders, a summer tutoring program organized, kids in need received free haircuts, community meetings were held, the bridge’s graffiti was replaced with murals, and officers participated in a daddy-daughter dance. The impact the Arlington police officers have had on the students and the entire community has been dramatic and inspiring.
Built in 1936, Bergfeld Park sits geographically in the center of Tyler in one of its most coveted national historic districts. The Park’s beloved amphitheater was in need of repair and improvements, so the City embarked on a one million dollar upgrade with no debt, thanks to key partnerships with the private sector. Major improvements included removing two sections of seats to provide a sloped, grassy area for blankets and lawn chairs.
The project brought new life to the 105-year-old park and will help ensure that Bergfeld Amphitheater continues to be a gathering place for Tyler residents and visitors for years to come.