As with any public entity, business or corporation there is a cost for service. In Highland Village the funding for city services generally comes from three components; property tax, utility rates, and sales tax, or specific to our city, the 4B sales tax. While there are other factors to consider such as smaller revenue streams, taxes paid by non-residents and the expense of debt service – for the sake of simplicity, these three components represent our major sources of revenue.
Last month I shared with you the city services our residents receive for their property tax dollar. This month I am focusing on the funding mechanism for the city trail system, our 4B sales tax.
The concept of a trail system had been in planning since 1997 and the city had applied for grants to fund the trail system. A grant was received from TxDOT to fund the City Trail section with the city paying 30% of the cost. When grant funding was decreased and applications for those funds were increasing, city leaders took to the voters to provide this desired amenity. In 2003 Highland Village residents approved a half cent increase to our sales tax to fund a trail system and soccer fields.
The funding for our trails and soccer fields comes from everyone who shops in Highland Village, visitors and our residents. I am focusing here on our resident’s cost for services and amenities. Looking at the DFW average spending per capita and doing the math on our five thousand homes, the average household contributes a little more than fifty cents per day to fund trails and soccer fields in Highland Village.
For their daily fifty cents we have been able to construct a trail system that spans the length of our city, connects to HOA trails, shoreline trails, retail centers, city facilities and our parks. We began constructing the trails in 2005 and have continued to build as funds became available. Most recently we were able to open the tunnel under FM 2499 to allow a safe passage. Our newest addition is a connecting being constructed in conjunction with the recently approved Wichita Estates subdivision where we will connect the trail at Murray Park to the Highland Village Road trail. When our trail system is complete we’ll connect to HOA trails, sidewalks, shoreline and primitive trails providing a total 116 linear mile network of trails. That’s pretty amazing for a 5.5 square mile community.
Also for the fifty cents per day we were able to purchase a piece of Highland Village history. Doubletree Ranch Park will open early this fall and will feature soccer fields, trails, a splash pad, pavilion and a natural habitat viewing area.
In Highland Village, it is our goal to be responsible with our 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. We can go one step further and report that our citizens, businesses and customers consistently tell us Highland Village takes customer service above and beyond the normal standard of service. Highland Village city staff, council and I all believe wholeheartedly that we work for our residents, visitors and business community. It is my pleasure to serve this community.