City of Waco Annual Report 2017
A message from Mayor Deaver
With its vast natural resources and strategic location, mayors, city council members and community leaders for decades have envisioned what Waco could be to the state and nation. Now more than ever before, those visions continue to become a reality as the City of Waco and its many community partners welcome more and more visitors, new residents and businesses to our area.
We couldn't have better Waco ambassadors than Chip and Joanna Gaines, as they have shared the true heart of Waco and our quality of life with the viewers of their wildly popular TV show, Fixer Upper. Over two million of their viewers came to Waco last year to be a part of the Magnolia experience and enjoy our other numerous attractions. As a result, our hotel occupancy continues to rank in the top three cities in the state and more hotel rooms are under construction.
The real strength of a community is shown by the way its members deal with challenges. We continue to make strides in addressing our unacceptably high poverty rate as the City works with the Prosper Waco collective impact initiative to improve the health, education and financial security of our residents.
The City continues to adhere to the strong financial policies developed by previous city councils who recognized the importance of long-range planning. For the past five years, we have exceeded the policy by maintaining a 19% financial reserve. As a result, city staff continues to develop and manage a balanced and conservative budget while providing its residents 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, we continue to benefit from the City's high AA+ bond rating.
This Visions annual report is a way for many of our departments to highlight just some of the ways they help make Waco a great place to live. Dale Fisseler, who retired March 2, demonstrated outstanding leadership during his four years as our city manager. Our new city manager, Wiley Stem, has been with the City for over forty years, most recently serving as deputy city manager. They, along with the directors of the twenty-five departments within the city have led our staff to deliver to our residents the high level of services they expect while planning for the growth and expansion of important infrastructure.
Just some of the major projects that are underway that our city council and staff have initiated to insure Waco's bright future include a Regional Water Plan, Storm Water Master Plan, Building Waco capital improvements program and the Downtown River-Front Promenade projects.
As I visit other cities across the nation to get new ideas and perspectives, I inevitably come back with new ideas, but I also always come away with a sense of pride in all that we have accomplished and are accomplishing in Waco. I applaud all of our business and community leaders for working together to make Waco great by helping to make our unemployment rate 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 residents 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.
Mayor, City of Waco
A message from your City Manager...
2017 has been another exiting year to live in Waco! Thousands of visitors are making Waco their vacation destination and the future couldn't be more exciting!
I am honored to work with the six dedicated, volunteer Waco City Council members as they give direction and create policies that assure our citizens their city stays in a strong financial position and the use of historical tracts of city land fulfills the dreams passed down from prior Councils.
I also applaud our city staff who work tirelessly, every day to make Waco a beautiful and safe place to live, work and play.
Dale Fisseler, P.E.
Waco City Manager