2021 Texas Municipal Excellence Award Winners
The Big Lake Economic Development Corporation created The Beautification Partnership to display creative sculptures, plant colorful flowers, and promote other improvement projects. With the help of private donations, Big Lake now boasts more than 30 handcrafted kinetic wind sculptures from famous artisans as well as many flowerbeds. Other projects the Partnership has taken on include creating fall displays that use natural items, and large, ornament set-ups that inspire holiday cheer. A promotional brochure is in development and will highlight beautification sites, parks, and sculpture locations.
The Addison Environmental Health Division quickly adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic and implemented virtual health inspections to ensure food safety, provide confidence in food establishments, and keep Town and foodservice employees safe. These virtual inspections were accomplished using free cell phone apps and performed critical objectives including ensuring proper food handling and functioning equipment. The Addison Marketing Department supported the effort by communicating with establishments about any process changes in the inspections and keeping residents informed of establishment operations such as carry out, delivery, and other service items.
With limited access to audio and visual equipment and an uncertain budget during the pandemic, the City of Boerne partnered with the local school district to bring in student interns. They helped the Communications and Specials Events Departments produce several projects at low-to-no cost, which saved the city at least $10,000 in equipment and personnel. As an added bonus, this program allowed the City to show students viable career paths in local government while creating an innovative way to assist City departments.
Lake Worth and Saginaw
The cities of Lake Worth and Saginaw partnered to create the position of Lake Worth Saginaw emergency management coordinator. This new position focuses on providing disaster preparedness outreach to the public through classes, public service announcements, and community events. Additionally, this role monitors severe weather and provides updates to ensure the safety of both cities. The equally shared and funded position has already assisted Saginaw and Lake Worth in building resilience and reducing social vulnerabilities in the event of man-made and natural disasters.
The City of Jacksonville modernized its water utility by replacing all meters in the City with an advanced metering infrastructure system. The project was financed through an energy savings performance contract that required no upfront capital. As a result, the project was fully funded from savings due to increases in water meter efficiencies, lower operational costs, and the elimination of future capital expenditures. The project ended up paying for itself with just one event, Winter Storm Uri, and has showcased its resilience to future freeze conditions.
Over 25,000 population categories
In an effort to preserve the City of Mission’s history during a time of limited travel and contact, the Mission Historical Museum developed a virtual interactive map titled Discover Historic Mission. The virtual interactive map contains a QR code that shows a Google Map route with over twenty historical sites in the City. The map showcases religious buildings, residential homes, historic sites, and natural history. Since the map is virtual, locals and tourists can easily, quickly, and safely explore historic locations in the City from the comfort of an electronic device.
The City of Mission created the bilingual video series named “On a Mission to Save Lives.” The videos, which are shared on the City’s social media platforms and website, highlight the first responders, nurses, and city volunteers who are helping to operate COVID-19 vaccine clinics. The goal of the videos are to increase citizen engagement and community trust in the clinics through inspiring stories of everyday people getting vaccinated. Since the area has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, the project has been an important communication tool to protect residents.
The City of McAllen organized a committee of business and community leaders to provide 2020 Census outreach. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted plans, the committee created a safe virtual event – a 12-hour Census Telethon. The event was produced by the City and broadcast on McAllen’s P.E.G. channel and social media platforms. During the event, city employees along with local and state officials took calls, musicians performed, and important public service announcements were shown. The City showed a final, unofficial response rate of 99.7 percent to the Census, highlighting the success of the City’s outreach.
In October 2020, the Pflugerville Police Department launched Pflugerville Autism Buddies to promote positive interactions between police officers and individuals with Autism or related conditions. Each participant receives an ID card that includes the person’s name, birthdate, photo, identifying characteristics, and emergency contact information. Within 24 hours of the program announcement, 11 individuals registered. By providing an ID, officers can help the community, specifically those non-verbal citizens, reduce the stress of an interaction with officers. When these interactions are positive, individuals are more likely to seek help.
The City of Converse wanted to better utilize its two parks by providing increased and upgraded amenities for its growing population to enjoy. To make the vision a reality, the City received around $2.8 million dollars from a Metropolitan Planning Organization grant, a park bond, and public and private donations. Funding was maximized by using public works staff whenever possible. Improvements include a greenway trail connecting the two parks, upgraded and new sports fields, a playscape, fitness court, and lake enhancements with a fishing pier.