City of Waco Annual Report 2019
A message from Mayor Deaver
It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Waco as their Mayor for the past four years. As Mayor, I am afforded the opportunity on so many occasions to be involved in conversations with a variety of community-minded individuals and organizations all centered around the health and well-being of our citizens. Having grown up in Waco it is amazing to see the assets we’ve enjoyed for decades drawing more and more visitors and residents to our area. For over 170 years, city leaders have had visions of how the two rivers that flow through Waco would provide the foundation for the future of the area. I continue to be humbled to be a part of the leadership that has helped plan, build, and sustain the infrastructure needed to support the continued growth of a vibrant city.
A small snapshot of the major accomplishments in 2019 include the ten-year $300 million Building Waco Capital Improvement Project moving forward. Initiated in 2016, it progressed this past year with the completion of two major water tower/storage projects, an additional 42 projects under construction and 41 more in the design phase. This past year we also budgeted $28.3 million for street improvements that will improve approximately 67 miles of streets. (Five times more than last year.) With public input, a model block on Elm Ave has been completed that will serve as an example for future development in East Waco. We were fortunate to welcome U.S. HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson to our city when he presented one of two grants we received totaling $3.8 million addressing lead hazards in Waco homes. As public safety is a citizen priority, with the aid of a $1.55 million Texas Anti-Gang grant, the city was able to add seven additional police officers to the force which contributed to the overall reduction in crime rates. A new Fire Station #5 was opened on Bagby Avenue and plans for the new Fire Station #6 were announced.
The City continues to work with valued community partners including Baylor University, MCC, TSTC, and so many more including McLennan County who helped support the passing of a $14.5 million county-wide bond that will expand the Cameron Park Zoo.
City staff and Council continue to look to the future to sustain and improve our city’s infrastructure. Thanks to a strong financial management policy and performance through the years, our City has earned an impressive AA+ bond rating that will allow more projects to be accomplished with greater savings to our citizens. All without raising the tax rate.
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. We continue to work closely with TxDOT as they enter the second year of an estimated five year, five mile, massive IH-35 expansion project that will provide increased capacity for the thousands of vehicles coming through our city.
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. We are fortunate to have 42+ year veteran, Wiley Stem as City Manager. He, along with the directors of the twenty-five departments within the city, have led the over 1,550 city employees to deliver to our residents the high level of services they expect while planning for the growth and expansion of important infrastructure.
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
What a great year for Waco, Texas! 2019 was a year of new partnerships and exciting projects that remind us all how lucky we are to live in a thriving city.
Your Waco City Council, with the support of a hard-working city staff, led the way on some new ideas and planning for some much needed infrastructure improvements that are vital for our community moving forward. There are many exciting Economic Development projects that will enhance our quality of life and improve opportunities for all of our citizens.
In my first full year as City Manager of the city that has been so good to me, the honor continues to be mine to work with six dedicated, volunteer Waco City Council members as they create policies that the City stays in a strong financial position and the use of historical tracts of city land fulfills the dreams passed down from prior Councils.
On behalf of our City staff, many of whom I have worked with for decades, we are excited to continue to work tirelessly every day to make Waco a beautiful and safe place to live, work and play.
Wiley Stem III
Waco City Manager