City of Waco Annual Report 2015
A message from your Mayor...
With its vast natural resources and strategic location, community leaders for decades have envisioned what Waco could be to the state and nation. Now more than ever before, those visions are becoming a reality as the City of Waco and its many community partners welcome more and more visitors and new residents to our area.
Through the collaborative efforts of Baylor University, The Waco Mammoth Foundation, elected officials and the City, we reveled in the July announcement that Waco’s Mammoth Site would become a National Monument as a part of the National Park Service. We completed the construction of the modern, mid-city Sul Ross Skate Park, and began renovations and new construction on the Dewey Community Center and East Waco Library Branch, which, when completed, will be bigger, better and more modernized for our citizens. In October, we broke ground for the long overdue Doris Miller Memorial that will soon grace the banks of the Brazos River. The citizen-led funding drive to build a new animal shelter exceeded its goal, and when construction is complete, will continue to foster the community’s commitment to keep the live exit rate greater than 90 percent.
Thanks to the success of local Wacoan’s Chip and Joanna Gaines and their Fixer Upper television show on HGTV, thousands of people are coming to “experience Waco” and its numerous attractions. Local realtors indicate that several homes have sold due to the allure of our city. Thanks to funding by Baylor University, we were able to install distinctive lighting on the new signature I-35 bridges to awaken the uniqueness of Waco in the eyes of travelers as they pass through our city.
The real strength of a community is shown by the way its members deal with challenges. We continue to make major strides in addressing our unacceptable high poverty rate as the Prosper Waco initiative and the City work to improve the health, education and financial future of our citizens.
The City continues to adhere to the strong financial policy developed by previous Councils who recognized the importance of long-range planning. As a result, city staff continues to develop and manage a conservative budget while providing its citizens the level of service they expect –without raising the tax rate. With the help of positive economic conditions led by higher-than-forecast sales tax receipts, this year we have been able to improve the City’s bond rating to AA+.
This yearly report is a way for many of our departments to highlight just some of the ways we help make Waco a great place to live. In addition to the accomplishments in this report, we welcomed new department directors for Budget, Library Services, Parks & Recreation, Human Resources, Information Technology, Water Utilities and City Secretary. A new crop of diverse Assistant City Managers have assumed the roles of their predecessors who recently retired after long, distinguished careers serving our citizens.
As I compare our city to others across the nation, I applaud ALL of our business and community leaders for helping reduce our unemployment rate to one of the lowest in the nation, and for helping create a positive business climate that continues to spark interest with major developers. I encourage our citizens to become involved in our city by volunteering for one of the many city boards or other community and church groups that continue to strengthen the fiber of this great city!
Malcolm Duncan, Jr.
Mayor, City of Waco
A message from your City Manager...
I’m proud of what an exciting year we’ve had in this city! We are truly focusing on sustaining a bright future for Waco with many projects.
With the guidance of a proactive city council, we have made great progress with Riverfront Development and began implementation on several major master plans for infrastructure improvements. We have also initiated a Stormwater Master Plan and a flood control project with the Corps of Engineers.
We continue to partner with the County on multiple projects including shared facilities and the development of a program to better utilize the surface water and groundwater available within the county.
Construction continues on the improvements to the East Waco Library, Central Library parking expansion, Dewey Center Renovation Project and the Animal Shelter.
Our outstanding employees are working hard to move these, and many other projects forward. Our City Council has a bright future in mind for Waco and I applaud their efforts!
Dale Fisseler, P.E.
Waco City Manager