Let me first say, what an honor it has been for me to serve as Mayor of Haltom City. In May 2015, I asked for this job, and have pledged my experience, independence, and passion for public service, to listen to you and work tirelessly to deliver results.
While I am pleased with what we have accomplished together so far, it was Will Rogers who reminds us “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”. Haltom City is experiencing levels of opportunity and progress that are nearly unequaled in our history, and our future is one of further growth and great potential. These will only be achieved by our coming together and working as a unified community. For the past sixty six years, the people of Haltom City have added to the foundation of civic achievement on which we stand. Each generation worked hard to shape a bright future for themselves and their families.
Since assuming office, the City Council and I have worked diligently to create new initiatives and address the following areas of concerns which were highlighted by many citizens during our recent public forums:
Raising Community Standards
We are seriously addressing the quality of all public facilities, ensuring only optimum engineering, and incorporating advanced technology to better communicate with citizens. Going forward, we must demonstrate pride in ownership!
Frequent and Accessible Town Hall Meetings
To ensure the City Council’s priorities are in line with our community’s, we held approximately 20 Town Hall meetings where we discussed issues ranging from economic development, code enforcement, citizen engagement and the need for embracing new technology.
As good stewards of public funds, the City Council now requires line item budgets be prepared and used during our annual budget meetings, as this allows us to fully identify and understand where all public funds will be spent, prior to their allocation.
Employee Retention Program
For far too long our city employees have been underappreciated. This past year, the City Council began the process of addressing our employee pay structure, the competitiveness of employee benefits, and fully implementing an employee retention policy.
The City Council recently appointed a Veterans Memorial committee to facilitate the creation of a Veterans Memorial to be located on parkland currently owned by Haltom City. We expect to have this project completed by fall, 2017.
Public Arts Master Plan
The City Council recently adopted the creation of a Public Arts Master Plan, and will soon appoint a Committee which will be composed of five members selected by the Mayor and ratified by the City Council. This Committee will advise the City Council on matters related to a public arts program, including ways to create an enhanced visual environment for Haltom City residents; commemorate the City’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity; integrate the design work of artists into the development of the City’s capital infrastructure improvements; and promote economic vitality in the City through the artistic design of public spaces.
Municipal Government Internship Program
The Municipal Government Internship Program exposes students to career opportunities in local government while developing and strengthening profession skills in a work environment that enriches the academic experience. Throughout the City’s departments are a wide range of internship opportunities for almost every major. Internship opportunities and duties may include, but are not limited to:
- Community Development Department – Perform various entry-level professional planning and case processing duties and assist in a wide variety of studies and research projects which may include report writing, statistical calculations, computer work, and other related activities. Research, develop, and apply for grants from state and federal agencies and prepare necessary reports on the progress of grant projects, reorganize, catalog, and manage historical files and assist in the development of productivity analysis reports.
- Fire Department – Track compliance, develop statistical reports, research current businesses, and file permits on citywide hazardous material usage.
- Human Resources Department – Assist in the citywide study of employee classification and compensation, answer benefit inquiries and assist in establishing policies and procedures.
- Library Department – Assist the public in the use of electronic equipment and resources in the Library; assist Library Technicians in providing service at the customer help desks, and help in providing basic computer workshops to staff and the public.
While I am pleased to report that we are meeting our goals for the previous twelve months, I’m not satisfied...as much work remains to be done. The City Council and I will soon begin preparing a budget for fiscal year 2016/2017, where we will collaboratively tackle such pressing issues as:
We must take full advantage of and further develop our geographic strengths by enlisting the support of a Master Planned Development firm who will evaluate our entire city and assist with formulating a comprehensive plan to manage long and short term growth so that we may more accurately allocate city resources and improve infrastructure. Additionally, we must continue to develop relationships with large community stakeholders to facilitate much needed development along vital corridors.
Parks and Recreational System
We must continue to work and ensure our park and recreational system remains second to none. We must also adopt a ‘Standards of Operation’ manual for both city staff and citizens in order to best observe the high standards for which our parks are being held.
We must continue to require line item budgets be utilized during our budget process so that we may understand where all tax dollars are spent prior to their allocation. Copies of a line item budget will also be placed at City Hall, and Library for anyone to view.
Public Arts Master Plan
Assisting this newly appointed committee to evaluate our entire Community and determine where best to strategically place public art. Long term, this will be a key element in raising our standards and attracting retail development.
Develop a More Aggressive Street Maintenance Program
We must utilize voter approved reallocation of sales tax dollars in our street maintenance fund to more aggressively address our aging infrastructure needs.
We must adequately fund and equip our Code Enforcement Department with the resources and tools necessary as they are one of the important keys in facilitating the revitalization of our neighborhoods.
We must continue to review all departments for areas of redundancy and possibilities of improved services and increased efficiency.
Governing is a team business by design and the City Council and I are committed to maintaining high standards demanded by our residents As citizen leaders we all have the obligation to be creative and resourceful in our approach to these challenges. As part of a newly implemented management approach, we now include department leadership and ideas from all city employees in addressing our every-day problems. I want to thank our entire management team and employees for meeting challenging spending targets, as our continued vigilance on fiscal issues is imperative.
Looking ahead, I am confident that Council Administration will continue to scrutinize each allocation of public funds to ensure we are getting the most "bang for our buck", remain accountable and transparent to the citizens and work tirelessly to deliver the high quality levels of services which our residents deserve. We will continue holding Town Hall meetings throughout the year to ensure the City Council’s priorities remain in line with those of our citizenry.
As Mayor, I want to say what a privilege it is to serve the citizens of our great community. While Haltom City has its challenges, we also have many people who are willing to help carry the weight going forward. I hope you’ll become a part of that team.
Mayor - City of Haltom City