Tuesday, June 15, 2021

City Earns Distinguished Budget Award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the City of Southlake the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the annual budget beginning October 1, 2016.

The award represents a significant achievement and reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the City had to satisfy nationally-recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device.

In addition to receiving the award, the budget received special recognition for the way the City utilizes and showcases departmental performance metrics through strategically aligned scorecards. All three reviewers rated the document as “outstanding” in this category, with one rater noting, “The document includes good performance information for the city which are related to operational goals.”

The City has received this distinction consecutively for the past 19 years.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving nearly 18,000 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

Learn more about the City budget process here.

Beautiful Places and Enhanced Spaces, FY 2017 Budget to Boost Bicentennial Park

A city known for a wide variety of shopping, Southlake also boasts an equally impressive parks system!

Seamlessly blended between Southlake’s retailers, residential areas and top-rated schools, residents and visitors can take advantage of multiple City parks, recreation and open spaces, as well as community facilities. With the City of Southlake’s new fiscal year starting on October 1, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget would further allow for development of certain Southlake parks, notably Bicentennial Park.

As the first public park in Southlake, Bicentennial Park is now home to baseball fields, the Liberty Gardens, the Southlake Tennis Center, a new playground and The Marq Southlake, in addition to offering recreational activities for all ages. Phase I of construction on Bicentennial Park was completed in 2011 and provided new baseball fields, concession stands, tennis courts, and ponds. Phase II of the project was completed in 2015, further adding to the community offerings with a new playground, the Texas Rangers Miracle League Field, a 60/90 baseball field, a new concession and restroom facility, enhancements to the original baseball 4-plex, a Park Boulevard connection to White Chapel Boulevard, a new park maintenance facility, parking, trails, enhanced landscaping, and irrigation improvements.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget would allow for Bicentennial Park Phase III, an $8.8 million dollar project funded by the Southlake Parks and Development Corporation (SPDC). Created in 1993, the SPDC administers the City’s half-cent sales tax allocated to parks-related capital projects. When the third and final phase is completed, the Southlake Tennis Center will gain a new building and enclosed tennis courts, the park will gain a completed trail system, a synthetic turf field will be added to the current in-line hockey court, and other park amenities will be enhanced. Certain elements of Bicentennial Phase III are anticipated to be completed by 2018.

“When we started the Southlake 2030 Comprehensive Plan, we knew the Bicentennial Park improvements would help make the park a true destination for the Southlake Community. We’re very proud of the work that has already been completed and are looking forward to the work to come in Phase 3. This is already a beautiful space, and with the final improvements beginning at the end of the year, it will remain a beautiful space for generations of Southlake residents to enjoy,” states Chris Tribble, Director of Community Services.

Guided by the Parks, Recreation & Open Space/Community Facilities Master Plan, an element of the Southlake 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the City of Southlake continues to better integrate parks planning with land use and mobility elements, and responds to the needs expressed by Southlake citizens in their desires for leisure services and community facilities. Currently, the City of Southlake offers three community parks, three Town Square parks, 12 neighborhood parks, and three community facilities. To date, out of the 144 total plan recommendations, 28 recommendations have been completed. From installing trash receptacles and pet waste dispensers to evaluating the need for picnic tables and benches at individual parks, city-wide examples of accomplishments include:

• Explored opportunities to lease pavilions and parks for corporate events
• Developed pedestrian safety measures and traffic calming measures
• Created a uniform park amenity program for City parks

Parks and recreation spaces play a valuable role in the social, economic and physical well-being of Southlake residents and visitors. With the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget allowing for further development of Bicentennial Park, in addition to other funded projects, Southlake will continue to offer beautiful places and enhanced spaces. For more information, please contact Parks and Recreation at (817) 748-8019 .

City’s 93 Million Dollar Budget Delivers Increased Homeowner Tax Relief

“This exemption means that property tax revenue exceeds the effective tax rate (rate that would produce the same revenue as last year) by only 1%.” – Southlake City Manager, Shana Yelverton.

Budget Fast facts Call out BoxLed by Yelverton, the Southlake City staff is presenting for the Council’s consideration a proposed FY 2017 budget that delivers The Marq Southlake Phase 2, Homeowner Tax Relief, and maintains a steady tax rate.

“The homestead tax exemption will be 16% this year, offering Southlake homeowners more than $98,000 in tax relief on an average valued home in Southlake,” said City Manager Yelverton. “Our strategy of slowly increasing the homestead exemption to the state maximum of 20% is a targeted approach to offering homeowner tax relief, maintaining high service levels and keeping our debt low.”

Parks and Recreation

The Marq Southlake Phase 2 is scheduled to break ground in late fall of 2016. Funded by Community Economic Development Corporation bonds, the $37.4 million-dollar project includes many recreational features, including an aquatic center, fitness area, gymnasium, jog/walk track, indoor playground and an indoor and outdoor turf area.

2017 is also the year that Bicentennial Park Phase 3 improvements will get underway. When this $8.8 million dollar project, funded by the Southlake Parks and Development Corporation is completed, the Southlake Tennis Center will have a new building and enclosed tennis courts. The park will also have a completed trail system, a synthetic turf field at the current in-line hockey court, and other enhanced park amenities.

Safety and Security

“We are excited to announce that we will be making the final debt payment for Departments of Public Safety buildings,” said Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson. “The accelerated amortization schedule for DPS Headquarters and DPS North will allow us to focus the Crime Control and Prevention Districts (CCPD) sales tax allotment (1/8¢) on the School Resource Officers Program and other allowable safety projects.”

Better Mobility

This year’s City’s Capital Improvement Projects include Kirkwood Boulevard Improvements and Urban Enhancement project which will provide for better east-west travel in the City’s northern portion.

Five neighborhoods located throughout the City will see the installation of flashers, pedestrian buttons, and voice activated controls at South Carroll Avenue and Continental Boulevard; North Carroll Avenue and Dove Road; North White Chapel Boulevard and Dove Road; Peytonville Avenue and Dove Road; and Byron Nelson Parkway and Continental Boulevard.

Yelverton noted that the capital projects and several others slated for FY 2017 have been identified in our Southlake 2030 Comprehensive Plan as tier one projects. “We know that these cash-funded projects will help make Southlake more livable community. From the everyday errands around town to taking a walk in their neighborhoods, we are focusing dollars where it counts.”

Reducing Debt & Tax Relief

Along with the final debt payment for the DPS facilities, the FY 2017 City maintains its firm commitment to reducing property tax supported debt. All Capital Improvement Projects slated for the General Fund will be paid for with cash, a proposed $5.25 million dollars.

The Marq Southlake will be funded by bonds which are backed by voter-approved sales tax monies.

Chief Financial Officer Jackson noted, “The City will pay down that debt by using sales tax revenue, a majority of which has come from people who visit our City. With our AAA and AA+ bond ratings, we can put that sales tax revenue to work building the facilities and amenities that Southlake Citizens have told us are a priority.”

In a recent Texas Senate select committee hearing on tax reform and relief, a local lawmaker offered to work with Mayor Laura Hill “to make sure that we don’t disrupt an {city} that’s doing an excellent job.”

“This budget recognizes our commitment to the City’s residents to relieve as much property tax related debt as possible,” said Yelverton. “Since 2009 we have worked with the Council to decrease debt and offer homeowners tax relief. We look forward to doing that again this year.”

For a complete look at the proposed FY 2017 budget please visit CityofSouthlake.com/FY2017.