The State of the Town speech was delivered by Mayor Connie White on Monday, April 21, 2014.
The annual State of the Town is always an honor to present, but this year I am particularly pleased with the Town’s accomplishments, position and direction. Trophy Club has experienced fast-paced growth in recent years. Since I was elected Mayor in 2009, the Town has issued over 1,000 residential building permits and in FY14 we anticipate more than 250 additional. Leadership is integral to managing such rapid growth and Town Manager Mike Slye, who came on board in 2011, has made a significant impact on the community – he has embraced the Trophy Club culture and works hard to support the values and needs of the town. Mike and his staff do a great job managing the day-to-day Town business and upholding the Council’s key priorities as outlined in the Strategy Map.
Speaking of Council, as a team we do our homework and make difficult decisions with the best interest of all Trophy Club citizens in mind, and sometimes we don’t agree. However, I sincerely appreciate the hard work and mutual respect each Council Member brings to the dais, and I always enjoy the healthy debate!
Next year our great Town will turn 30 years old, and we have never been in better financial position than we are today thanks to long-term financial planning. For the first time in Trophy Club’s history, the annual audit report received a clean opinion with no significant deficiencies, which is a huge accomplishment. The Town was recently upgraded from a AA bond rating to a AA+ rating, a further indication of solid fiscal policies and practices, and a sound financial profile. To put this accomplishment in perspective, only 4.9% of the cities in Texas have such a high rating. Taxable values in Trophy Club topped the $1 billion mark in 2013, which is remarkable for a town of our young age and small size. The Highlands at Trophy Club was recently selected as Community of the Year by the Dallas Builders Association, and a couple years ago the Fort Worth Business Association awarded Trophy Club the Community Spotlight award – an indicator of how far we have come! Both Dallas and Ft. Worth recognizing us when even just a few years ago many in the area knew nothing of Trophy Club!
Speaking of The Highlands, Trophy Club progresses closer to build out every day, tonight I want to recognize our Community Development staff for helping to manage the Trophy Club growth while maintaining the quality we have come to expect. Last November the Council approved the final plats of The Highlands development only six years after starting construction. The 697-acre residential development encompasses nine neighborhoods, and 1,482 residential lots. The development added approximately $500 million of new property value and required an immense amount of Staff work for neighborhood planning, construction plan review, permitting, inspections and general oversight of the development. The Community Development staff deserves much of the credit for working with the developer, homebuilders, realtors and residents to make sure this large-scale development successfully evolved into the beautiful neighborhoods we enjoy today.
Since the Highlands development began we have added approximately 3,500 residents. This significant growth of the town creates increased demand for services and thus requires growth in Town Staff, as well. Currently, the Town employs about 75 full-time staff and approximately 85 seasonal employees. Our staff is extremely professional and dedicated to Trophy Club.
During ice storms when we cannot get out of our driveways, the Streets Crews are braving treacherous conditions and driving to Trophy Club to sand roadways and assist stuck motorists. Our Police, Fire & EMS are our heroes, making sure we live in one of the safest Town’s in the Metroplex. The Finance Department consistently wins major awards and continues to set a high bar for the Town’s financial transparency. The Town Secretary’s office works to fill approximately 300 open records requests per year and manages the cumbersome elections process for two counties twice a year. The Communications office works to keep residents informed on a myriad of issues – from releasing information about severe weather to posting updates about criminal activity to watch out for, and announcing special events – if you don’t follow TrophyClubGov on Facebook and Twitter you should!
The Parks department does an outstanding job of maintaining our parks and medians and developing new facilities for all – recently a bocce ball court and now a new toddler playground is on the way. I am hoping we can line out a pickle ball court sometime soon! The Recreation department has partnered with area groups to expand events and create new programming opportunities for residents with varied interests. A group of residents recently formed a non-profit organization called Keep Trophy Club Wild, Inc., and they are working with Town Staff to produce some great events for local nature buffs, including a bird nesting class and native plants class. Other new recreation programs include Trophy Club Travelers, a group of TC residents age 50 and older who take destination field trips to fun places, including Trade Days in Canton, The George W. Bush Library and Museum and most recently a trip to Main Street Arts Festival in downtown Fort Worth. I cannot wait to see what they offer in the future…
We have a tremendous staff, but they can only stretch so far. We need volunteers to provide perspective and help support community programs and initiatives. I am so proud of all our residents and organizations who volunteer time and effort to the community. The Trophy Club Emergency Volunteer Association, or TCEVA, is a group of extremely committed resident volunteers who are passionate about public safety and emergency response. TCEVA has 46 members who assist first responders during emergencies and provide invaluable help at special events.
Many residents support the community in other ways, such as the dedicated citizens, young and old who put in thousands of hours every year clearing park trails, cleaning trash out of the parks and assisting with improvement projects. Organizations such as the Trophy Club Women’s Club and Stars and Stripes bring great value, pride and community spirit to our Town. The Town has approximately 60 residents who serve on various volunteer boards, commissions and corporations, and the Town Council relies on these faithful residents to provide recommendations and help guide decision making for Trophy Club.
Volunteerism can result in a lasting, long-term impact on a community. For example, last year the Town Council adopted the Vision 2030 Plan, a long-range strategic plan that outlines a unified, cohesive vision for Trophy Club over the next 20 years. The plan focuses on five priorities for a Trophy Club long-term vision:
- Premiere Residential Community
- Economic Development
- Excellence in Governance
- Trophy Club’s Relationship with Other Government Agencies
Trophy Club’s roadmap to the future was developed by resident volunteers – talk about a great impact!
Economic development is a key priority for the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan, and activity in town has picked up. A Medical Office Building, between Medlin and BNHS, is currently under construction. A new dentist will be moving into The Commons, located adjacent to the roundabout, and the new dental office on Trophy Wood is almost ready for occupancy! A full-service Holiday Inn will also be located off Trophy Wood, along with a Homewood Suites and some nice restaurants.
Trophy Club must be smart but aggressive when working to attract business and our economic development team recently initiated a multi-faceted strategic action plan designed to target, attract and retain business. The plan includes a new business retention initiative called “Focus on Business”, where the team coordinates regular meetings with TC business owners and managers to discuss needs, interests and opportunities. Local businesses also have the opportunity to be featured in the “Business Spotlight” program and a formal Shop Local campaign called “Shop TC: Where Dollars Make Cents” will be launched soon. We are working on being more business friendly and offering incentives to attract businesses and developers to our town, since development is occurring all around us and the market to attract these businesses is so competitive. I am so proud of the EDC 4B Board and economic development staff for really making a positive impact for our businesses and working hard to attract new business to Trophy Club.
For several years the Town Council and Staff have worked on planning for the future in regards to paying down debt, saving for capital improvement projects and allocating resources for park and amenity improvements. Now we are in the midst of an election where voters will consider a proposition to build a joint Town Hall and Police Facility. The proposed joint facility project is designed as a full service municipal building, and plans also include a large community room that will be open for Town resident use!
In 2014 the Town is focused on moving forward with the Vision 2030 Plan and will continue to work on providing premiere municipal services and excellence in governance for the citizens and community. Goals for the year include increasing citizen engagement and participation, furthering the development of transparent government initiatives, implementation of an economic development strategic plan, addressing the need for new Town facilities, ongoing street and drainage projects and improving the Town’s relationship with TC MUD 1.
I believe that focusing on solid governance, along with the involvement of our citizens at all levels, including strategic planning, will result in a very bright future for Trophy Club.
Thank you, and I hope to see you on one of my walks soon!
Mayor Connie White