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 29

City Manager's Weekly Update

Posted on May 29, 2020 at 2:01 PM by Jessica Brinkley

A message from Chief Thomson:

Hello Highland Village Family,
Congratulations, we’ve made it through our second week of being open.

I wanted to provide you with a quick update on COVID-19 and its impact on Highland Village and Denton County.

Denton County has been faring well as we re-open Texas. Although the overall case numbers have increased to 1318 total cases, the 667 recovered cases are more than the 621 active cases. Here in Highland Village we still have 2 active cases, which should be transitioning to recovered cases in the next few days. We all have to remember that as the total cases increase, the testing for COVID-19 is also increasing. In fact, over the last two weeks, Texas as has almost doubled the amount of total tests from the previous two and a half months. I also wanted to mention that our local hospitals are also doing very well as their available staffed bed capacity remains very strong.

We should all be proud as we have excelled together as a team and more importantly a family. We’ve all had our challenges both at work and at home, but our spirit of service and leadership has shown through the clouds of COVID-19. We have all leaned into these uncharted waters that we navigate together. Our City manager has led from the front and has been there to support us in our mission to provide excellent service to the community we serve as well as each other.

I read an article in the Dallas Morning News called “How Leaders Cycle Through the 7 Stages of Pandemic Grief”. This article was an AAAWWWHHHAAA moment for me and I believe it will have the same impact on you all.

The article states that the 7 stages of pandemic grief are:

Stage 1: Ignore. That virus thing is way over there. It won’t affect us. In fact, I’m enjoying all the silly doomsayers at it again. Pass me another Corona.
For me personally this was - I am going to Universal Studios with my family for Spring Break no matter what!

Stage 2: Surprise.
What? Why are they canceling NBA games? Really? They won’t close our businesses, will they?
For me personally this was – Oh…. There is no way I can leave right now. I need to be here for my people and the organization. Plans cancelled!

Stage 3: Frustration. Have them “work” from home? Yeah, right! That’s not happening. I doubt they will get anything done in pajamas.
For me personally this was – Working through the constantly changing information, trying to get personal protective equipment for the organization, and trying to get out in front to lead with very little useful information.

Stage 4: Negotiate. Oh, I get it. Others are more vulnerable, but I’m not at risk. I will do my part, but I still get to go to the gym and go to my office, right? I’ll be sure to sing happy birthday twice while I wash my hands umpteen times a day. You know, whatever Oprah says to do.
For me personally this was – Everyone is concerned, worried and even scared. I am tired, I worry about my team and my Highland Village family. How do I take care of them and help the rest of the organization. This is a lot and I need to stop eating so much….. The Quarantine 15 is very real.

Stage 5: Sad. Wait, where are all the customers? Why is this happening to us? The loss of revenue is bad. Really bad. This illness and loss of life are overwhelming.
For me personally this was – Possible budget cuts? Man, there are a lot of people out of work. This is real, livelihoods are being lost now. How do I preserve my people? How do I try to tell everyone it is okay, and be honest with the reality of the situation?

Stage 6: Acceptance. Wow. This is for real. I had no idea things could change so quickly. If this is it, let’s make the best of it. Let’s pivot. What can we do?
For me personally this was – I am accepting that I am tired and weary and that it’s hitting my family both at work and at home hard. Share with the team, be real and allow everyone to process their feelings... let everyone be human. My pants are getting uncomfortable at this point.

Stage 7: Excel. File the PPP application. Dust off the sewing machine and make some masks. Call the clients. Check-in. Find a way to serve them right where we are. We are creative. We are resilient. Let’s do this!
For us this is – Pivot, re-open, connect with each other and our customers. Step up and lean into our new normal. Accept that we can’t change COVID-19 but we can strive to lead our community, our residents, and our region by being the beacon of light that is Highland Village. As our leader, Mr. Leavitt has said many times “We do have the ability to positively impact someone’s life each and every day!”

I hope that you all have an incredible weekend, you all deserve it. We are a family. I have worked for many organizations, and I can tell you all that we have something truly special here in Highland Village.

Thanks and stay safe.

Chief Thomson

A message about the budget from Assistant City Manager Ken Heerman:

The stay-at-home shutdown has greatly impacted businesses and cities alike. And Highland Village is no exception. A large revenue component for most cities is sales tax. However, with many businesses closed or at partial capacity, cities are faced with an unexpected revenue decline of reduced sales tax revenues. The good news / bad news for Highland Village is that we have a relatively small component of sales tax in our revenue base (16%), but in turn, this leaves us less exposed to downturns in the economy.

With receipt of the May sales tax allocation (reflecting March sales), we had the first glimpse of the impact of the shutdown. Certainly, many businesses showed a big drop in sales mid-March, but others fared pretty well throughout the month. In short, the drop in sales tax was less than anticipated, providing optimism that the impact for Highland Village may be less severe than initially feared. Our current overall projection for the year is a $400,000 shortfall in revenues. In response to this, we have placed previously approved current-year projects on hold, totaling $355,000, as a precaution. This provides a cushion in addition to starting the year in a surplus. The audited previous year fund balance exceeded projections by $673,000, which would alone, be more than sufficient to address the revenue shortfall. We anticipate releasing projects after we are confident our projections are solid, as we continue to monitor the impact of future months’ sales tax collections. It is important to end this fiscal year in a solid position, as we anticipate next budget year to be challenging from a revenue standpoint. But we will be ready for the challenge!

Assistant City Manager Ken Heerman

Marketing & Communication
 Kids Kastle Phase 1 is complete and the build dates are set for the community to participate in Phase 2. We interviewed Lee Archin with Play by Design, LLC while he was working on Phase 1 to share with all since so many have wanted to be part of this project. You can watch the video here. We are appreciative of the work done by so many staff to complete the work of Phase 1 and prepare the way to a community build of Phase 2. Now that the Phase 2 build dates are set we are ramping up the marketing to inform the community and seek volunteers. Check it out at www.SpeakUpHV.com.

This week we created a survey on www.SpeakUpHV.com asking for input on the policy for daycare use at the splash pad at Doubletree Ranch Park. The survey will be available until June 11 and will help us develop recommendations for consideration by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and City Council.
 Social Media posts shared this week:
  • Update on FM 2499 speed limit change based on Council’s action to table the ordinance as TxDOT will be providing a new ordinance keeping the speed limits as they are now except for changing from 45mph to 50mph from the Northwood/Castlewood intersection north to FM 2181
  • Doubletree Ranch Park Splash Pad Survey
  • USACE request for public input on the Lake Lewisville Master Plan
  • Memorial Day tribute
  • Memorial Day trash and office schedule
  • Safety tips for Bike Month
  • Curbside Heroes Video – Sip|Stir Coffee House and Barnes & Noble
  • Snuffer’s for National Hamburger Day
  • Poll – Dined in a restaurant or still grabbing food to go? We’ll share the results of this poll next week.
  • Reminder to keep dogs on a leash
 Keep us on a leash please!
This week the Denton County Transportation Authority used our Council Chambers for their board meeting and strategic planning session. They needed a room large enough for their board to attend and maintain social distancing plus the ability to capture the audio for their live stream. Big kudos to Andrew Boyd for working through the logistics and coming up with a solution to make this happen.

Laurie Mullens participated in the Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce board meeting via Zoom.

Fire
A-shift responded to an outside equipment fire in the 3400 block of Brighton Court. The fire was in the AC electrical box and a neighbor was able to use an extinguisher to put out the fire and call 911. There was no extension of the fire into the structure and crews shut off electricity to the unit.

On Wednesday, Engine 482 was handling an emergency incident when a call came in for a grill propane tank that had caught fire. Lewisville and Flower Mound crews were called to aid Highland Village’s Medic 482 and Fire Chief Thomson. A police officer arrived on scene and located the tank shut off valve and when the medic crew arrived, they checked for any extension of the fire and found none. Responding mutual aid was cleared from the call.

Chief Thomson continues to keep updated on COVID-19 information through virtual meetings with local, State and Federal entities. All relevant information is then passed on through our City website and social media accounts.

Assistant Chief Collier completed three fire inspections and one fire plan review this week.

The Outdoor Warning Siren site on Medina was also repaired this week.
 Fire_IMG_1303
The Fire Department had the following Calls for Service for the week:
Fire_Calls for Service

Police
 Officers participated in a graduate recognition ceremony for Marcus seniors.
 Police_IMG_4611
 Corporal David Harney represented the police department and the city at the graduation ceremony held at the Texas Motor Speedway for all of the Marcus seniors. This year has required lots of “out of the box” thinking for our seniors and David said they did a great job with their send off, even if it was a little different than normal.

Our employees of the quarter are Zachary Forschen and Jennifer Henderson. Please congratulate these folks when you see them!

We have begun the process of hiring for our two open positions in our Communications Unit. If you know someone who would like to start a career as a Telecommunications Officer for our department, please have them go online and apply!
 
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.

The Public Works Service Center is open to the public again with “social distancing” requirements.

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

Public Works staff began planning a one day closure of Highland Village Road for the replacement of some storm sewer pipe.

Drainage Division:

  • Met with the residents in 200 block of Tharp Dr. on water flowing over the driveway.
  • Met with the residents in the 3400 block of Brighton Court about a drainage conversion.
  • Performed mosquito collections at various location in the City for sampling.
  • Continued the drainage improvements in the 100 block of Nowlin Drive.
  • Met with the residents in the 300 block of Duval Blvd. on water coming from Double Tree Park.

  • Performed barrow ditch maintenance on Chinn Chapel Rd
Public Works_Chinn Chapel rd.

  • Repaired the drainage conversion in the 100 block of Gayle Lane.
Public Works_Gayle lane
  • Dried and removed spilled paint on Whispering Oaks Dr.
 Public Works_paint spill
  • Removed forms, back filled, laid sod, and cleaned 2825 Spring Oaks sidewalk repair.
Public Works_Spring Oaks
  • Installed 3 “NO PARKING” signs on the 200 Block of Edgewater Dr
Public Works_signs for PD
  • Pothole patching on Highland Shores Blvd.
  • Pothole patching on Sellmeyer Ln.
 Public Works_sellmeyer ln
 Utility Division:
  • Excavated to repair a sanitary sewer service in a rear easement in the 400 block of Post Oak Drive.
 Public Works_Sewer Repair
  • Installed a water meter for a new water service account in the new Tequesta housing development.
  • Replaced 12 dilapidated meter boxes that were found during meter route inspections.
 Public Works_Meter Boxes
  • Pulled a pump at Lift Station 5 to deliver to Xylem Flygt for repairs, and replaced it with a temporary pump.
  • Completed monthly grease trap inspections as a TCEQ mandated program.
  • Flushed 550 linear feet of sanitary sewer mains for 30 day sewer line maintenance.
  • Replaced several water meters not reporting by the automated metering system.
  • 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.
  • Install battery charger on PD unit
  • Two battery replaced
  • Three tires replaced
  • One tail light replace
Public Works_service 

Code Enforcement:
  • Officer Beasley opened 18 new cases and closed 28.
  • Continue to monitor rights of way for bandit signage.
Public Works_Graph 1
                 Public Works_Graph 2
Building Permits:
  • Plans reviewed – 24
  • Permits issued to contractors/homeowners – 23
  • Permit applications submitted – 25
Business Updates
  • Village Green Alzheimer’s Care Home (Permit Issued) Team Vision Construction - 107 Barnett Blvd.

 
 Parks and Recreation
Parks Division:

The following city owned facilities continue to be open to the public. Please ensure that all CDC guidelines are followed when visiting these amenities.
• Playgrounds
• Tennis Courts
• Public Restrooms
• K-9 Kastle Dog Park
• Pilot Knoll Park Boat Ramp
• Copperas Branch Park Boat Ramp

As of now, the following city owned facilities continue to be closed within the park and trail system:
  • Drinking Fountains
  • Splash Pad at Doubletree Ranch Park

This week, staff performed the following tasks:
  • All staff continue to perform routine maintenance tasks throughout the entire park system.

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. Joey Hardin is currently working on installing the hardware for the storyboard.
 PFC Aaron M. Hudson
Kids Kastle Rebuild Project
Phase 2 is planned to continue as a community build project on July 20 - 25 of 2020. This proposal keeps the project within the current budget and allows the community to take part in the build. Parks and recreation staff met with the marketing department staff to discuss ramping up plans for Phase II of the Kids Kastle playground build that will include the community.

Unity Park Plaza Project (Kids Kastle Area)
In the weeks to come, Cole Construction plans to begin working on fine grading and installing the lueders stone benches that are adjacent to the pavilion and newly installed decking.

Victoria Park Sidewalk Improvements Project
BW2 Engineers continues the process of updating the plans according to review notes provided by staff.
Recreation Division:
 Luke created his 10th Senior All-Star Digital Newsletter this week.

We continue to see beautiful rock paintings around our parks.
 Recreation_Rock
The Highland Village Kids Kamp has transitioned into an all-day kamp for 4 weeks this summer!

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: www.hvparks.com 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

Human Resources
Jana Onstead and Kimberly Lopez did an annual plan review with ICMA. During, this meeting we discussed the market and our fund accounts.

Jana Onstead and Kimberly Lopez participated in a plan review meeting with Higginbotham and BlueCross BlueShield.

Kimberly Lopez spoke with To Taste over the phone about their interactive nutrition offerings provided by a professional chef.

Kerry Conrad participated in a webinar focused on Resiliency in the Workplace.