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 27

City Manager's Weekly Update

Posted on April 27, 2020 at 8:52 AM by Laurie Mullens

Current status of our fifth week being under our Disaster Declaration, with our eye on April 30th. The attached link https://gis-covid19-dentoncounty.hub.arcgis.com/pages/covid-19cases is provided by Denton County Public Health department. It’s the daily statistical information of COVID-19 cases in Denton County which show Active, Total Confirmed, Total Recovery and Deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic. When we talk about flattening the curve, the data included in the linked information is collected and utilized by Denton County to provide a basis for future decisions. To date, we have nine (9) residents in Highland Village that have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those nine (9) residents, five (5) have had a total recovery and four (4) are still under quarantine. For the week of April 20th, our total number of new cases appears to be slowing. Could we have reached the apex of the curve? Let’s hope!

Next Monday Governor Abbot will hold a press conference to announce additional openings of non-essential businesses. Per his Executive Order previously issued, and effective today (Friday, April 24), some retail businesses classified as “non-essential” in the original Stay-at-Home order will be able to provide “Retail to Go” services with some restrictions. It essentially allows some retail businesses to re-open using a similar system to what restaurants have been providing with their curbside pickup. Customers can place their order and payment on-line or by phone, and can choose from a retail store for pick up, delivery by mail, or delivery to doorstep. Retail pick up orders will be delivered to the customer’s trunk or backseat to minimize contact, or orders can be delivered to the customer’s front door.

In preparation of Governor Abbott’s order to re-open retail services, a video conference was conducted this week with our Highland Village property management companies. We invited the seven management companies that cover all of our major centers from Sellmeyer (Highland Plaza) to The Shops at Highland Village. City participants in the video conference included Mayor Wilcox, Marketing and Communications Director Laurie Mullens, Corporal David Harney and myself. The management companies were very pleased with the information we provided and they were very appreciative and thankful to the City of Highland Village for taking such a proactive approach at this time.

Many times, we tout that we are fiscally conservative, live within our means, and that we manage our City budget and decisions the same as our personal finances. With the uncertainty of the economic effect of the pandemic, it confirms why this mindset is so important. Past and current City Councils have made important policy and program decisions that allows us to remain fiscally sound during this pandemic. If those policies and initiatives had been approved, we would be in a much different financial position than we are today. In 2004-05, a Citizen Committee was formed to bring forward a needs-assessment for a Library and Recreation Center to be constructed at Brazos Park. The ultimate decision by City Council was not to proceed with construction. Another example is the purchase of Clearwater Club. There was a desire to maintain the swimming pool and make it our municipal swimming pool for the community. Again, the City Council said no to the swimming pool, but said yes to the purchase of the land providing that a 7-year business plan could show the purchase price could be recouped, along with the demolition and improvements made to the property, which was achieved!

Finally, in 2017 the modifications in the City’s Financial Policies address this very issue. The updated policy raised our Fund Balance requirements to a range of 20 to 25 percent and addressed strategies should an economic downturn occur. At the last City Council meeting, the Council received our financial audit and our current audited Fund Balance is at 35 percent. These are just a few examples of our fiscally conservative attitude. Over the last eighteen (18) years, we have deliberately maintained our core values and a philosophy in providing the basic essential services at the highest level within our financial constraints, and I am proud to say we have been successful with everyone’s efforts in working together. We are not in same position as many surrounding cities!
 
Marketing & Communication
Restaurant videos produced this week include Seven Mile Cafe, Rockfish Seafood and Grill, Kolache Donuts Bakery, Pei Wei, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard.

The coronavirus page on the City website continues to be updated, including a flyer for the Retail-to-Go information to provide businesses and residents a summary of the details found in Governor Abbott’s declaration. The page can be found at www.highlandvillage.org/coronavirus.
 
Fire
During this difficult time, everyone is looking for ways to come together and mark milestones so this week the Fire Department was able to join in on several “Birthday Party Parades”. Happy birthday Mackenzie, Gwynnie, Abby, and the Myer twins and thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration.
4-24-2020 FD - Birthday Drive By 
Also this week, all three shifts attended EMS Continuing Education classes in the Fire Department’s Training Room. These classes are taught by Lead II Excellence and keep our crews current on the latest techniques, developments, skills and new technology in emergency medicine. This month they reviewed critical care procedures.

Fire Chief Michael Thomson has continued to participate in weekly COVID-19 conference calls to ensure we are up-to-date on the latest information and can answer any questions that may arise. We will disseminate important information through our social media and City website.

Assistant Chief Collier completed one fire plan reviews this week.

The Fire Department had the following Calls for Service for the week:
 4-24-2020 FD - Calls for Service

Police
5th Gear Automotive brought us lunch from Jason’s Deli this week. Thank you for thinking of us and feeding us lunch!
 4-24-2020 PD - 5th Gear 02 4-24-2020 PD - 5th Gear 03 
The Police Department completed several birthday party “visits” from the street in front of the homes. Hopefully, the our appearance helped the kiddos to have an even better birthday!

Corporal Travis Flowers stopped for a socially distant photo with a couple of our citizens that were rewarded with our nifty koozies!
 4-24-2020 PD - Flowers
 Corporal Anita Beaudreault took a moment to read “Moon’s First Friends” to all of us this week. ::Yawn:: We are still sleepy!
 4-24-2020 PD - Story Time Moons First Friends
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. They are currently install curbs.

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 Lakeland on barrow ditch cleaning.
  • Installing a drainage conversion and grading the barrow ditch to flow in the 100 block of Gayle Lane.
4-24-2020 PW - Gayle lane 
  • Met with the residents in the 800 block of Tree haven on standing water in the street.
4-24-2020 PW - Tree Haven 
  • Spoke with the residents in the 100 block of Nowlin Dr. about the new drainage infrastructure to be installed across the backyard.
  • Met with the resident in the 300 block of Pebble Knoll on drainage easement located in the backyard. 
  • Met with the residents in the 2800 block of Spring Hollow about erosion along the fence line in the backyard.
4-24-2020 PW - Spring Hollow
Streets Division:
  • Continued curb replacement on Sandy Hook and Sleepy Hollow
4-24-2020 PW - sleepy hollow curb 
  • Full depth asphalt repairs on Sandy Hook 
4-24-2020 PW - sandy hook 
  •  Full depth asphalt repairs on Sleepy Hollow.
 4-24-2020 PW - sleepy hollow
  •  Delivered Recycle carts to residents.

Utility Division:
  • Welcomed a new employee, Dakota Bell, who started as a Tech I.
  • Repaired several private and property line sanitary sewer cleanouts that were found during a previous smoke testing project.
4-24-2020 PW - CO Repairs 
  • Hydro-excavated and repaired a sanitary sewer service in the 2900 block of Lakeside Drive.
  • Performed annual fire hydrant maintenance and flow testing on several fire hydrants.
 4-24-2020 PW - FH Maintenance
  • Replaced several ¾” water meters that were not reporting on our AMA metering system.
  • Replaced nine dilapidated water meter boxes that were found during our annual meter route inspections.
  • Began grease trap inspections as a monthly TCEQ Mandated program.
  • Performed quarterly CL-17 chlorine analyzer calibrations at all well lots and elevated storage tanks.
  • Performed customer service inspections on several commercial businesses.
  • Performed nitrification and bacteriological sampling as mandated by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.
  • 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 eleven preventative maintenance / equipment services.
  • Replace ignition switch on skid loader
  • Four tires replaced
  • One alignment
  • Performed one tune-up

Code Enforcement:
  • Officer Beasley opened 18 new cases and closed 32.
  • Continue to monitor rights-of-way for bandit signage.
4-24-2020 PW - Code2   4-24-2020 PW - Code
Building permits (All)
Plans reviewed – 19
Permits issued to contractors/homeowners – 16
Permit applications submitted – 22
 
 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
  • Pilot Knoll Park Boat Ramp (due to flooding)
  • Copperas Branch Park Boat Ramp (due to flooding)
This week, staff performed the following tasks:
  • Joey Hardin has repaired the lights that were not working inside of the CityTrail/Castlewood Trail pedestrian tunnel that’s located beneath FM2499.
 2499 Tunnel Light Repair - After - Joey
  • Joey Hardin has repaired several trail signs that were damaged.  
 Live Oak Trail Crossing Sign Repair After - Joey  Village Trail Sign Repair near Shops After - Joey
 Bill Aycock and his crew have installed spring color in the landscape beds located at the municipal service center and Highland Village Rd. median.
 HV Entrance Bills crew 2  Chris 948 Beds
  • Staff at Unity Park, redesigned the infield irrigation on the green field to provide head to head coverage.
 Unity Irrigation Redesign
  • Marcos Mejorado and Alex Contreras have installed sod inside the large dog portion of K-9 Kastle in preparation of it opening when we are given the green light to do so.
Unity Dog Park Turf Maintenance Sod    Unity Dog Park Turf Maintenance Sod 2   Unity Dog Park Turf Maintenance Sod 3
  •  Staff continue to perform routine maintenance throughout the rest of the park system.
 Maintenance
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. This week, temporary irrigation has been installed to assist the Bermuda seed in germinating.

Kids Kastle Rebuild Project:
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 painting the pavilion and reinstalling the metal roof. They’re also working on installing the light poles and 50 amp pedestal for the food truck slip. Lastly, they continue to work on installing the irrigation.
Unity 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 solar powered security light pole has been installed and it operational. Also this week, the contractor installed a small portion of concrete to meet ADA regulations.

Victoria Park Sidewalk Improvements Project:
This week, staff has received approval from ONCOR Electric to proceed with construction. Staff is in the process of reviewing the project manual. BW2 Engineers is in the process of updating the plans according to review notes provided by staff.

Turf & Landscape Maintenance Services Contract:
Bids were opened on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Staff received five bids and has evaluated all of them. BrightView Landscape Services is the most responsible bidder and staff will recommend their bid approval at the next council meeting.
Mowing Contract Bid Opening 
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: Nature Scavenger Hunt
April 22nd marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Take this scavenger hunt with you and mark off what you see in nature. Take this opportunity to engage your kids in nature and associate fun with the outdoors. Please practice social distancing while at parks and on trails. Once you finish your scavenger hunt, you can share to our page with #HVParks
4-24-2020 PR - Nature Scavenger Hunt 
 Parks and Recreation Intern, Luke Trujillo, and Adam Richter the Parks and Trails Superintendent as assessed local overgrowth situations on residents’ backyards.
 4-24-2020 PR - Luke
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.”
Link to website - https://raceroster.com/events/2020/31369/ntx-go-the-social-distance-virtual-5k?fbclid=IwAR3olKq3EbTMcJ-MMF7o4Dm_vfm6GyF7u1o64CMkT4uKO8KOIE69B-UNsl0
 4.17.2020 PR - Virtual 5k facebook image_NTX (003)