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Highland Village Update – March 2015

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Highland Village Mayor Charlotte Wilcox
Highland Village Mayor Charlotte Wilcox

In Highland Village, it is our goal to be responsible with the taxpayer’s money, transparent in how their money is spent and conscientious of ensuring they receive the best service and amenities their money can buy. The Dallas Morning News recently revealed the findings of a year-long study of transparency in public entities. I am proud to say that Highland Village received an A.

I’d like to delve a little deeper and highlight some of the services and programs our residents receive for their tax dollar. Highland Village has maintained the same property tax rate for the last fourteen years. And the city didn’t raise the rate fourteen years ago, but rather the rate was decreased. Today the average Highland Village home is valued at $304,903.00 and at our $.56963 property tax rate per $100 the annual property tax bill is about $1,737.00 or about $4.76 per day – about the cost of your morning latte. The basic city services received by residents are paid for by their property tax.

Administrative services ($1.61) take up the majority of the $4.76.

Our City Secretary administers elections, supports Council, manages our boards and commission application process and facilitates open records requests. Diane Callahan and her staff do this quite well as proven by the high grade received by the recent government transparency study.

Our Human Resources department focuses on the support of the people who provide our service. We have a low turnover rate in Highland Village and consistently hear from our employees how much they enjoy working in Highland Village. Martha Butz and her team put their emphasis on employee development through internships that give back to the community and several have begun their career with Highland Village. Staff development and training is a priority; over 50% of our employees earning advanced certifications and education.

Also part of our administrative services is GIS or geographical information systems. Sunny Lindsey, our GIS administrator, recently implemented a project in a flood plain area in Highland Village and submitted to FEMA. Thirty-five homes were removed from the existing flood plain area. This resulted in an average $1,200.00 annual savings in homeowners insurance for these residents.

Community Services works with our business community from the time of application to the certificate of occupancy. Autumn Aman, Billy Spencer and their staff work quickly and efficiently to ensure the developer meets our high standards. In looking at our most recent large business opening, Whole Foods, the time frame from application to building permit took about nine months.

Police services ($1.46) and those in our community who volunteer with the department have kept Highland Village one of, if not the safest city in Texas. Our new police chief, Doug Reim, recently received an international award for the department’s Operation Shield program which is designed to deter and prevent business burglaries through the installation of a metal “shield” on doorways for reinforcement.  The shields are installed at no charge to the business. All our police officers wear body cameras and have since 2011. Highland Village is known as the industry standard for Community Policing; our officers spend 76% of their time in the neighborhoods developing relationships.

Fire services ($0.87) in Highland Village have come a long way. We now have a paid, full-time staff that provides high level emergency medical care, fire suppression, prevention and inspections as well as emergency management and disaster preparedness. Chief Glover and his crew were recently awarded the International Association of Fire Chiefs HeartSafe Community Award for their work in improving the cardiac health and survivability of our community. The department conducts weekly senior healthcare checks at the local senior center and delivers Vial of Life information throughout the community to improve the delivery of medical services.

Our Street department ($0.41) maintains and manages 200 lane miles of concrete and asphalt streets. Public works director Scott Kriston and his street crew ensure our roadways are safe for the travelling public at all times.

The Parks and Recreation department ($0.65) serves thousands of individuals. The philosophy of parks director Linda Cornelius and her staff is to maximize the use of your tax dollars by strategically and comprehensively planning parks, open space and recreational programs to meet the needs and interests of our residents. Kids Kastle wood fencing was just replaced with open, iron fencing to keep your children safe as they play in our most popular park.

For their tax dollar our residents receive administrative services, police, fire, streets, parks and recreation programs and a widely-used trail system. We have worked hard to make Highland Village a community our residents are proud to call home and where they have everything they could ever need or want. I believe we have done well with your tax dollars.

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