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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May 15

City Manager's Weekly Update

Posted on May 15, 2020 at 4:42 PM by Jessica Brinkley

Current status of our eighth week (2 months) under a Disaster Declaration dealing with COVID-19:

On May 12th the Highland Village City Council extended our City’s Disaster Declaration indefinitely, in the Council’s action we now mirror and enforce the disaster declarations issued by both Denton County and Governor Abbott. Our disaster declaration will be lifted when the Governor and Denton County lift their disaster declaration. I was asked, since the Disaster Declaration was extended doesn’t that mean our doors can stay closed? No, a Disaster Declaration triggers elements of the Local Government Code (primarily Section 418, Emergency Management) which allows for the authorization and provides for cooperation in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. In the Governor’s past orders it is stated that the States orders supersede all County and Municipal orders issued under section 418. The orders within the Disaster Declaration is what provides the details of an action plan such as the opening of Retail at 25% occupancy limit. Under the Governors order issued on April 27, GA-18, County and Municipal operations will open. City Offices are reopening May 18th!

This means that we will be back to the business casual dress code per City policy, and our casual dress will go back to Fridays only. I understand there is a level of anxiety that some or all of you may be experiencing with the City reopening to the public. Please know that your concerns are valued and respected. Please do not hesitate to share areas of concern and suggested solutions with your supervisor or Human Resources. In preparation for the reopening, the City is providing Plexiglas barriers at all customer service counters that do not currently have windows – these will be in place before Monday’s opening. Also, please ensure that counters are supplied properly with hand sanitizer, tissue, trash receptacles, cleaner, and ensure staff is trained in keeping areas cleaned throughout the day. Maintenance staff is providing floor decals and signage for customers to ensure they practice appropriate social distancing precautions in public areas. Luckily, the public is now used to these protocols and expect them to be in place, so there should be very little customer education required. If you need any supplies please contact your supervisor or Human Resources.

At this time we will continue having deliveries dropped off at the employee entrance utilizing the doorbell – this has worked well and it may give some comfort knowing it limits the amount of traffic we have coming through the main doors. Have a game plan with your co-workers about how to serve the public under the guidelines. If at any time a customer is behaving in a way that makes you feel unsafe, you certainly have the right to ask them to comply with guidelines. An example of this would be politely asking customers to step away from others, or to clear an area that is getting too crowded for your comfort. If they do not respond to your request, call for your supervisor, or if you feel threatened, utilize the emergency button provided by the police department.

This week I participated in an online course with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Governor Abbott selected Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as the State governmental agency that will manage the CARES relief fund established by the Federal Government for the COVID-19 pandemic. I have identified two items, as the presenter stated these are items that have not received much public notice but may be relevant to all of us.

SEC. 2204. Allowance of Partial Above the Line Deduction for Charitable Contributions. - Section 2204 of the CARES Act (the “Act”) amends section 62 of the Internal Revenue Code, by allowing taxpayers that do not itemize their deductions to take a limited above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions made during a taxable year beginning in 2020. The Act allows taxpayers that do not itemize to deduct up to $300 in cash contributions made to qualifying charitable organizations,

SEC. 2205. Modification of Limitations on Charitable Contributions During 2020. - Section 2205 of the CARES Act temporarily modifies charitable contribution limitations for individuals that file itemize deductions. For individuals, the Act modifies the limitation from a maximum of 60% to 100% of adjusted gross income.

So where do we stand with COVID-19 in Highland Village and in Denton County? For the City of Highland Village, we have (13) residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 and we now have eleven (11) residents with a total recovery, two (2) positive residents are under quarantine. The attached link is the factual data, provided by Denton County Public Health department. If you scroll down to the very last statistical information the County is now providing “Daily Hospital Capacity”. The two addition tabs at the bottom provide “Type of Case Occupied Beds” and “Ventilator Usage per Day”.

It can be challenging to stay positive during negative times. Our own wellness is often overlooked, many times let alone during a pandemic, when our job as public servants is to care for the common good of others. Thank you to everyone working on the frontline, and behind the scenes can be even more of a challenge these days. While surrounded by uncertainty, standing on positive ground with the onslaught of negativity, can be easier said than done. I am provided a lot of information on many issues dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I received an email article on worrying and it provide some good insight.

Do you worry more or less than others? Worry brings more to worry about. Believe it not, there’s a cost to worry... added tension, poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, lack of concentration. If you think about it, most of what we worry about never happens. Now you might be thinking, this is all well and good, but how am I supposed to worry less? It’s hard to stop worrying on a dime, but possible to just get started. Take (3) steps to climb UP from WORRY

1. Admit to yourself what you feel... “I feel worry about...”
2. Since you don’t have control of ‘the Worry’... release it.
3. Find a positive thought to replace the worry with. Start with the statement below

“I have the ability to CHOOSE my level of worry. I CHOOSE to worry less about the things I don’t have control of. I am working at releasing the worry.”

“We do have the ability to positively impact someone’s life each and every day!”

Thank you, ML

Marketing & Communication
We continue to inform residents of the businesses that are open in Highland Village. This week we updated page to include all the restaurants, retail, and service businesses that are open.

Denton County has launched the OPEN (Operational Plan for Economic Normalization) Grant with $2.2 million available through grants for businesses physically operating within Denton County. The goal of this program is to help the businesses that have been closed the longest and negatively impacted by COVID-19. We have shared the link to apply for a grant to our HVBA membership and on the Experience Highland Village and City Facebook pages. We continue to promote the directory page to help our residents support our local businesses. A short video focusing on where to Shop in Highland Village was shared on the Experience Highland Village Facebook page.

 MC_OPEN-graphic_2020COVID Grant
 Corporal Harney continues to record Curbside Hero videos focusing on the people working at our local restaurants. This week we highlighted Blue Goose Cantina.
Laurie Mullens gave a presentation via Zoom to the Leadership Lewisville class on Tuesday. The topic was Economic Development & Tourism Day, which was originally scheduled for April but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

We had the opportunity to record and tell the story of a duck and her ducklings. This is the second year in a row this mama duck has had her ducklings in the backyard of a Highland Village resident. Animal Care, HVPD, and the community came together to ensure the family made it safely to Lake Lewisville. You can watch the short video here.
Doris and Her 11 Ducklings 
 Ducks walking
Highland Village offices are set to open to the public on Monday, May 18. Signage was created to inform the public of what they can do and what we are doing to keep everyone healthy and safe 
 MC_What We Are Doing MC_What You Can Do 
This week, all three shifts attended EMS Continuing Education classes in the Fire Department’s Training Room. This class was taught by Kenny Navarro with UT Southwestern Medical Center and covered Sepsis.

Assistant Chief Nokes took part in a conference call on Wednesday with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and other regional fire departments. Under discussion was prioritizing COVID-19 screening for all nursing home residents and staff. Nursing homes are among the most vulnerable places during this pandemic and the hope is that testing could reduce the number of COVID cases and deaths.

Fire Chief Michael Thomson is being updated on the latest COVID-19 information through virtual meetings with local, State and Federal entities. All relevant information will be passed on through our City website and social media accounts.

The Fire Department had a busy Saturday, they were invited to three birthday party parades. Happy Birthday to Jackson, Emma, and Paxton!

Chief Thomson was the guest reader for Story Time this week and read “Firehouse”.
 Fire_Story Time With Chief Thomson
The Fire Department had the following Calls for Service for the week:
Fire_Calls for Service
Public Works 
Public Works staff met with several residents regarding drainage issues, creek erosion, easements and street repairs.

Work is continuing on the Tequesta project. They completed all of the concrete work this week. They are busy raising meter boxes, grading lots and building retaining walls and sidewalks.

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 on Shadow Ridge on standing water in their back yards.
  • Treated abandoned swimming pools for mosquito larva in various areas of town.
  • Performed mosquito collections at various location in the City for sampling

Public Works_Mosquito
  • Started the drainage improvements in the 100 block of Nowlin Drive.
Public Works_Nowlin
  • Streets Division:
  • Spread and packed gravel to smooth transition at 111 Russell Dr.
  • Hauled off spoiled asphalt and concrete from Southwood.
  • Tree trimming in various locations throughout the city.
Public Works_tree trimming
  • Delivered recycle carts to residents.
  • Replaced several street signs throughout the city.
Public Works_speed limit sign
Utility Division:
  • Repaired a water service leak under the street in the cul-de-sac of Snowdon Court.
Public Works_Service Leak
  • Prime Controls performed annual preventive maintenance work and tank level calibrations at lift stations and well lots.
  • Replaced several water meters not reporting by the automated metering system.
  • Flushed 1,200 linear feet of sanitary sewer mains on Longfellow Drive performing 90 day sewer line maintenance.
  • Completed flushing dead end water main blow-offs as a monthly TCEQ mandated program.
  • Performed annual fire hydrant maintenance and flow testing on several fire hydrants.
  • Located 1 area of water and wastewater infrastructure for contractors performing underground boring and excavations.
  • 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 ten preventative maintenance / equipment services.
Public Works_ SERVICE
  • Thirteen state inspections performed
  • Two batteries replaced
  • One tail light replaced
  • Two tires replaced, one repaired
Code Enforcement:
  • Officer Beasley opened 22 new cases and closed 46.
  • Continue to monitor rights of way for bandit signage.
Public Works_Graph 2
                 Public Works_ Graph 1
Building Permits:
  • Building permits (All)
  • Plans reviewed – 15
  • Permits issued to contractors/homeowners – 15
  • Permit applications submitted – 27
 Parks and Recreation
Parks Division:
The city administrative buildings continue to be closed through the weekend but beginning on Monday, May 18, the buildings will be open for business. Please abide by the social distancing guidelines when visiting our facilities.

The following city owned facilities continue to be open to the public. Please ensure that all CDC guidelines are followed when visiting these amenities.

  • Tennis Courts
  • K-9 Kastle Dog Park Pilot Knoll Park Boat Ramp
  • Copperas Branch Park Boat Ramp
  • Athletic Fields (Only in groups of four)

  • Highland Village Road Boathouse Parking Lot
  • Playgrounds (They will be opened on Monday, May 18)
  • Public Restrooms (They will be open on Monday, May 18)
As of now, the following city owned facilities continue to be closed within the park and trail system:
  • Drinking Fountains

This week, staff performed the following tasks:
  • All staff continue to perform routine maintenance tasks throughout the entire park system.
  • Most staff has been working on preparing for the Kids Kastle playground build that is going to begin on Monday, May 18. Phase I of the build will be built by city staff and four consultants that designed the playground.

 Parks_Pic 1  Parks_Pic 2 Parks_Pic 3

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.

Kids Kastle Rebuild Project
Staff and Play by Design will begin the following tasks on May 18-21; 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 installing the frame for the decking between the pavilion and Kids Kastle playground.

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
There is an ADA walkthrough planned for next week. Pending the results of the ADA inspection, this project may be closed out.

Victoria Park Sidewalk Improvements Project
BW2 Engineers continues the process of updating the plans according to review notes provided by staff.

Turf & Landscape Maintenance Services Contract
BrightView Landscape Services will began to maintain the right of ways, trails and other municipal sites on Monday, May 11. They are off to a good start despite the challenges that the weather has posed.
 Recreation Division:

The Director of Parks and Recreation sat down with Bree and Luke to discuss the importance of facility assessments and having a proper work order system.
Recreation_Phil Luke Bree
Bree and Luke brought out the jams for the hard working parks staff while they prepared for the Kids Kastle build.
The Highland Village Kids Kamp has transitioned into an all-day kamp for 4 weeks this summer! In the mornings, kampers will play organized games and activities and then in the afternoon the kamp will take an awesome fieldtrip in our local DFW area. Field trips are taken four out of five days most weeks (weather permitting). All field trips are subject to change.

Each participant will receive a free t-shirt and additional t-shirts can be purchased for $15 each. Our kamps are scheduled weekly so you can customize your summer activities.

Kamp starts July 6 and ends July 31. (4 Weeks)

Please be sure and send a lunch with your child. Morning and afternoon snacks will be provided by the City of Highland Village. If your child has any special food requirements, please send appropriate snacks.
Registration is the only form of reservation. For more information and registration please visit: or call the Parks and Recreation Department at 972-317-7430.
 Recreation_The star pic 1
All-Day Kamp

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
*Drop off begins at 7:30 a.m. every morning.

Cost: $170 - Resident
$185 - Non-Resident

We will only be accepting all-day registration for kamp.

Age: 6-12 years of age

Location: Highland Village Elementary
301 Brazos Blvd.
Highland Village, TX 75077