It finally feels like we are getting back to what we would call “normal.” Our businesses are able to open at full capacity, events are happening, the mask mandate is lifted and many businesses are ending mandatory telework for their employees. I can tell you it is good to see your smiles! And I know a lot of our students are smiling because they completed one of the most unusual school years yet. Congratulations to the class of 2021!
Another congratulations goes to Mike Lombardo, Dan Jaworski, and Tom Heslep who were elected in May to continue their service on City Council. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little about the people you have elected to serve as your City Council.
Mike Lombardo is our Mayor Pro Tem and has served on City Council since 2014. Prior to his service on Council, Mike served on the Planning & Zoning Commission from 2012-2014. Mike serves as the Vice President of Business Development for SP Plus Corporation, the largest parking management firm in North America. Mike and his wife, Marci, have lived in Highland Village since 2001.
Barbara Fleming is your Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and has served on City Council since 2016. Prior to her election to City Council, Barbara served as the chairperson of the Highland Village Public Art Advisory Board. Barbara holds a Texas Real Estate Brokers License and has been licensed since 1976. Barbara and her husband, Jim, have lived in Highland Village for nearly 40 years.
Jon Kixmiller was elected to City Council in 2018. Prior to serving on City Council, Jon served on the Bartonville Town Council. Jon worked in the computer industry for 35 years. Jon and his wife, Deborah, moved to Highland Village in 1986. Work moved them out of Highland Village and upon retirement they moved back to Highland Village.
Tom Heslep was elected to City Council in 2019 and served on the Planning & Zoning Commission for nearly three years before his election to City Council. Tom is the Area President for Independent Financial. Tom and his wife, Kelly, have lived in Highland Village since 1991.
Robert Fiester was elected to City Council in 2018 and served on the Planning & Zoning Commission in 2017. Robert served on Active Duty with the United States Marine Corps from 2003 until 2008. He currently manages a civil engineering design office in Plano. Robert and his wife, Elena, have lived in Highland Village since 2014.
Dan Jaworski was elected to City Council in 2017. He also served on the Planning & Zoning Commission from 2014 to 2017 and one year on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Dan is the first person raised in Highland Village to be elected to City Council. Dan served in the United States Navy as a linguist and intelligence collection analyst from 1993 to 2000. Dan currently works as the manager of vulnerability and patch management for HMS, a Gainwell Medical Technology Company. Dan and his wife, Gretchen, have lived in Highland Village since 2013.
I appreciate the commitment of all my fellow City Council members and appreciate their dedicated service to the City. I encourage you to take an active role in our City. An excellent way to do that is to serve on a board or commission. We are currently taking applications from residents interested in volunteering their time to the City. All the details and application are available on the City website under Boards and Commissions. I hope you will consider serving our City; I can tell you it is a rewarding experience!
We are also smiling here in Highland Village as we have been recognized as the 10th Safest City in Texas. I often here from people how much they love living here because they feel safe and this recognition is proof of that. This didn’t happen without a lot of work by everyone in Highland Village. Our Police Department’s Community Policing Model has developed community relationships and encourages crime prevention to help keep our community safe. As we all start to become more active again it is important we remain diligent, pay attention to our surroundings, lock our houses and cars, and limit the crimes of opportunity by removing valuables from our vehicles and closing our garage doors. If you ever see anything that seems unusual, don’t hesitate to call the police at 972-317-6551 for a non-emergency situation or 911 if it is an emergency.
Another way you can keep our neighborhood safe is by signing up for the HVPD Vacation Watch program if you’re heading out of town. When you complete the form you can head out of town knowing our police will check on your house on a regular basis. Just go to the City website and fill out the online vacation watch form.
Another great program for our residents is the Special Treatment and Response or STAR Program. This is a voluntary program to provide first responders important information about yourself or a family member in case of an emergency. The type of information helpful for first responders is medical conditions or special situations such as Hospice, DNR orders, Alzheimer’s, hearing or sight impaired, Autism or any special needs. If first responders are called to your home, dispatch will give them the information you provided to help them. It is programs like these that make Highland Village a desired community and one of the best places to live in Texas.
The beginning of summer also marks the beginning of the budget process for the City. The City budget goes into effect on October 1, and because of required public hearing dates, the budget is nearly complete by mid-August. City staff, the city manager, council members and I meet in June to receive and review the proposed budget for each department. I have participated in this process before and find it extremely beneficial to understand what is needed to provide the level of service expected by our residents. Highland Village city staff look for every way they can provide the best service at the lowest cost to our residents.
I hope you are able to enjoy this summer with your family, perhaps take a trip somewhere, or stay in Highland Village and take advantage of our beautiful parks, trails, and outstanding dining and shopping options.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you and for helping make our city a wonderful place to call home!