City Manager Michael Leavitt

City Manager's Report

Communication is very important to the City of Highland Village. Each week, I will provide you departmental updates on projects, events and accomplishments. Please stop by and take a minute to become informed on what is happening in your city.

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Apr 20

City Manager's Weekly Update

Posted on April 20, 2020 at 7:33 PM by Laurie Mullens

Current status of our fourth week being under our Disaster Declaration. With our eye on April 30th and two more weeks to go, we find out how good we have done with social distancing and staying home. I have heard some of the hardships families are going though at this time, I know some families have gone from a two paycheck household down to just one and some hard decisions have to be made by families. In my own personal experience, bill collecting agencies are getting very aggressive over the phone. On a Monday I received a bill for a past medical expense, on Friday the same week I received a very harsh message from a collection agency wanting payment. Don’t avoid conversations on finances, call and talk to collection agencies and document all conversations. Our Human Resources department is there to help along with Compass if you need assistance. There is also outside agencies such as Denton County United Way, they have established COVID-19 resource page https://www.unitedwaydenton.org/covid-19-resources it’s a great starting point if extra assistance is needed.

In our current budget we have a total of 156 full time employees with the City of Highland Village. It is my goal to have no furloughs in this current fiscal year due to the COVID-19 Disaster Declaration. We will not understand the full financial impact for us until approximately the third week of May due to the two month delay in the receipt of sales tax dollars from the Texas Comptroller. The Leadership Team is already looking for ways to tighten our belts. With all sporting and special events cancelled this is providing savings along with no travel for training or conferences. We have also halted all remaining supplemental and capital items identified in this current budget year. We are in a strong financial position in this current fiscal year and the goal is to maintain our strength in starting the budget process for next year.

To date, in Highland Village we have 8 residents that have tested positive for COVID-19. The unknown that we all are dealing with is those people in the community who are asymptomatic. Our Fire Department is on the frontline of the unknown, they have to assume each and every run is a COVID-19 case. Our Police Officers are faced with a very similar unknown as well as each and every one of us that deals directly with the public. That’s where each have to do our part in maintaining social distancing. The use of cloth face coverings when conducting essential activities or working away from home to help prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading COVID-19, the use of hand sanitizer is a must and staying home if we are sick. These are the only options in winning this battle and everyone is doing an outstanding job!

In order to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone, it first starts with yourself. So please take care of yourself and your family during this time, our good health is crucial for us all in providing our service delivery to residents and at home. In my first message on COVID-19 I citied the motto of the greatest generation, “failure is not an option.” But none of us has experienced a pandemic before so it is scary. I came across an article on our emotions and it hit home. “During times of crisis and stress, it is our natural tendency to resort to our “ego”, those voices in our head that most likely come from your family of origin and tell you how you “should” be and what you are doing wrong. That voice in your head is not you, but rather years of conditioning. It will never stop until you start to confront those messages. Matthew 6:34 says: Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We do have the ability to positively impact someone’s life each and every day!
 
Marketing & Communication
We produced another video with Mayor Wilcox providing reassurance and encouraging patience as we are half-way through our Stay at Home Mandate.
4.10.2020 MC - Mayor Video 
Restaurant videos produced this week include Palio’s Pizza, Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip, Sip Stir Coffeehouse, Fresco’s Mexicana, and Peter’s Pizzeria.

Cpl. Harney debuted another Story Time with Officer Dave. Next week look for Story Time with Officer Anita.
 4.10.2020 MC - Story Time
 
Fire
The Outdoor Warning Siren that was located at Overlook has been moved to its new location at Pilot Knoll and is up and operational. This along with the upcoming installation of a siren to be located at Sunset Point will maximize warning coverage when severe weather is forecast for our area.
4.17.202FD - Outdoor Warning Siren 
Elise McGuire’s family had to come up with a creative way to celebrate her birthday due to social distancing and decided to invite friends, family and the Fire Department to participate in a Birthday Party Parade on Monday. Happy Birthday Elise and thanks for inviting us to your celebration!
4.17.202FD - Birthday2. 
Each week, Fire Chief Thomson participates in conference calls with State and local Emergency Management groups. He does this in order to get the latest updates on the COVID-19 virus which we will, in turn, push out through the City’s social media accounts and website.

The CPR/AED course that was scheduled for April 15 was canceled due to the emergency restrictions in place. The next class is scheduled for June 17 and we will update you through social media if there is a change or cancellation.

Assistant Chief Collier completed one fire plan reviews this week.

The Fire Department had the following Calls for Service for the week: 
 4.17.2020 FD - Calls for Service
Police
The Arlington Police Department received an anonymous corporate donation of KN95 masks and ear probe thermometers to assist police agencies in North Texas during the COVID-19 Pandemic. APD was kind enough to share these items with us, and we received 100 KN95 masks to use here at the Police Department. Thank you, APD!

We have just received some blue “koozies” that are for citizens that we find doing the right thing and staying socially distant from one another. These koozies are given out in Ziploc bags, and if you have received one of these, please feel free to share it with the hashtag, #TogetherAtHomeHV.

We have been able to participate in several birthday “drive-bys” where a birthday party was canceled because of the Stay At Home Order. We hope that we were able to help make their birthdays a little bit better!
Public Works 
Public Works staff met with several residents regarding drainage issues, easements and street repairs.

Work continues on the Street Improvement Project Phase 2. They have completed all of the paving. They are working on cleanup and punch-list items.

Work is continuing on the Tequesta project. They completed most of the concrete work this week.

As with other City facilities, Public Works has closed the Service Center to the residents on a walk-in basis. We continue to follow social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Public Works staff met with BW2 consulting engineer to discuss current projects and look at some future projects.

Drainage Division:
  • Met with the residents in 200 block of Oak Street on erosion by the driveway culvert.
  • Installed a French drain system behind the curb and tied it to the curb inlet in the 2800 block of Spring Oaks Dr.
4.17.2020 PW - Spring Oaks 
  • Met with the residents in the 3000 block of Lake Creek on a previous sewer job that needs to be touched up.
  • Performed barrow ditch maintenance at Highland Shores and Lakeside to prevent standing water.
4.17.2020 PW - Lakeside 
  • Met with the residents in the 100 block of Gayle Ln. on the upcoming barrow ditch cleaning project. 
Streets Division:
  • Replaced broken curb at 120 Sleepy Hollow.
4.17.2020 PW - sleepy hollow
  • Replaced several broken curb sections on Sandy Hook
4.17.2020 PW - sandy hook 
  • Patched transverse crack on Barley Dr.
4.17.2020 PW - Barley Dr 
  • Delivered recycle carts to residents 
Utility Division:
  • Replaced meters with high usage and/or not communicating on the AMA system.
  • Excavated and replaced 100’ of dilapidated sanitary sewer main.
  • Continued annual fire hydrant fire flow testing and preventative maintenance.
  • Performed meter rereads, water turn on/turn offs, and leak checks.
  • Performed maintenance on well lots, lift stations, fire hydrants, and the water distribution and wastewater collection system.

Maintenance Division:
  • Performed ten preventative maintenance / equipment services.
  • One tire replaced
  • One battery replaced
  • Replaced water pump on dump truck
  • Replaced safety switches on mower
  • Painting city secretary’s new office

Code Enforcement:
  • Officer Beasley opened 59 new cases and closed 63.
  • Continue to monitor rights of way for bandit signage.

4.17.2020 PW - Code2  4.17.2020 PW - Code 
Community Development:
  • Building permits (All)
  • Plans reviewed – 19
  • Permits issued to contractors/homeowners – 20
  • Permit applications submitted – 9

Business Updates:
  • Finish Out Permit Issued to By Design Construction for Soi Brow (Hair Salon) located at 2540 Justin Rd. Ste.183 in The District of Highland Village

Parks and Recreation
The city administrative buildings continue to be closed but staff is available via phone or email. Our contact information is posted online at https://www.highlandvillage.org/Directory.aspx and is also posted at the entrance of each administrative building. Please fee free to reach out to any of our staff for assistance.

As of now, the following city owned facilities continue to be closed within the park and trail system:
  • K-9 Kastle
  • Playgrounds
  • Tennis Courts
  • Public Restrooms
  • Drinking Fountains
  • Sunset Point Park (due to flooding)
  • Pilot Knoll Park Boat Ramp (due to flooding)
  • Copperas Branch Park Boat Ramp (due to flooding)
  • Highland Village Road Boathouse Parking Lot (due to flooding)

This week, staff performed the following tasks:
  • Leveling the soccer fields at Doubletree Ranch Park.
 4.17.2020 PR - DRP Soccer Field Leveling
  • Joey Hardin and Marcos Mejorado have installed an rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB) enhanced crosswalk on City Trail at Briarhill Blvd. This crosswalk automatically senses pedestrians as they enter the crosswalk and automatically activates.
 4.17.2020 PR - Joey Marcos at Briarhill Crosswalk  4.17.2020 PR - Briarhill Crosswalk
  • Tony Adams and staff have trimmed all of the trees along the trail at Brazos Park.
 4.17.2020 PR - Brazos
  • Staff have painted the restroom at Copperas Branch Park.
4.17.2020 PR - Copperas Restroom Paint Job Before  4.17.2020 PR - Copperas Restroom Paint Job After 
  • Adam Richter has coordinated with our landscaping contractor to install mulch on the landscape beds along FM 2499. The contractor is 50% complete with that task and will continue weather pending.
  • Staff continue to perform routine maintenance throughout the rest of the park system along with managing ongoing and future construction projects.
Parks & Recreation Capital Improvement Projects
PFC Aaron M. Hudson Memorial Bridge Dedication Project:
Staff continue to install the infrastructure at the PFC Aaron M. Hudson Memorial Bridge that is located at Doubletree Ranch Park. They will continue to install the rest of the infrastructure in the following weeks weather permitting.

Kids Kastle Rebuild Project:
Council received an update on the Kids Kastle community build project. The build was scheduled to begin on March 23 and was put on hold due to the coronavirus. Staff presented three different options to Council with the goal of continuing with the community build and staying within budget. Staff was able to secure alternative build dates of May 18-21 for Phase 1 and May 26-31 for Phase 2. Considering the uncertainties associated with COVID-19, the proposed plan is a modified community build. Staff and Play by Design would work May 26-31 to set posts, add bracing, and pour equipment foundations to secure the site. Phase 2 would continue as a community build project sometime in late summer or fall of 2020, depending on the state of COVID-19. This proposal keeps the project within the current budget and allows the community to take part in the build.

Unity Park Plaza Project (Kids Kastle Area):
This week, Cole Construction is working on priming the pavilion in preparation of painting. They’ve poured 99% of the flatwork throughout the site. The electrical conduit, conductors and footings have been installed for the light poles and for the food truck pedestal. They are also working on installing the irrigation.
4.17.2020 PR - Unity Park Plaza Project
 Copperas Branch Park Master Plan:
The approval of this plan is on hold until further notice and when staff may resume regular council meetings.

Sunset Point Park Project:
The contractor began to install the solar powered security light pole today. It will be operational Friday evening and set to operate from dusk to dawn.
4.17.2020 PR - Sunset Point Park 2
 Victoria Park Sidewalk Improvements Project:
This week, staff reviewed the plans for this project and have sent the review report to the design engineer. Staff is also coordinating the final alignment and plan approval with ONCOR Electric to ensure that all elements meet their requirements.

Turf & Landscape Maintenance Services Contract:
Bids are due next Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by 2:00 p.m. Information for this bid advertisement may be found here: https://www.highlandvillage.org/bids.aspx?bidID=98

Recreation
The Stay at Home order allows residents to leave their home to engage in outdoor activity as long as social distancing of 6 ft. is maintained, except for family units. You can easily maintain the required distance on our trails.
 4.17.2020 PR - COVID
This week’s fun activity: BUILD A FORT!
Build a fort with your family and drop your pictures in the comments below.
Grab your equipment and try to build your very own fort at home. You can use blankets, pillows, chairs, and whatever materials you think would make an awesome fort. Don’t forget the essentials: snacks, games, books or even movies! GET BUILDING! #TogetherAtHomeHV
 4.17.2020 PR - Build a Fort - Alt (002)
The “NTX Go the social Distance” virtual 5k is a free run/walk designed to keep our community inspired to exercise and encouraged to engage socially online while we are safer at home. Gather your family and friends (virtually), follow social distancing rules, and have fun competing for the top prize, bragging rights and recognition on our social media pages as the fastest social “distancer.” 
 4.17.2020 PR - Virtual 5k facebook image_NTX (003)
 Link to website - https://raceroster.com/events/2020/31369/ntx-go-the-social-distance-virtual-5k?fbclid=IwAR3olKq3EbTMcJ-MMF7o4Dm_vfm6GyF7u1o64CMkT4uKO8KOIE69B-UNsl0