Mayor's Letter on 2018-2019 Budget

Citizens of Waxahachie,
As we begin a new fiscal year on October 1, I am excited about the additions and improvements that are planned for the 2018-2019 budget year.
Waxahachie is experiencing a steady growth on all fronts. New residents are moving here, business are opening, and tourists continue to visit Waxahachie for its history, charm and beauty. We are fortunate that with the influx of people and commerce, that has translated into an increase of revenues so that the City is able to continue offering an excellent quality of life through improved infrastructure, public safety, offering the highest level of customer service to our residents and visitors, and planning and preparing our community for future growth.
These core priorities of City Council are reflected in this year’s budget.
In regards to public safety, staffing will be increased with both the Police and Fire Departments. Three firefighter positions have been added, and will be partially funded through a SAFER grant for the next three years. Three police officer positions, and two civilian support positions have been added at the Police Department. These added positions will help the City maintain the highest level of service and safety in Waxahachie as the number of people we serve continues to grow.
Infrastructure is also a high priority, and this is reflected in $7 million in plans for rehabilitation. Construction is planned for Colonial Acres, East University, and Matthew Street Bridge. Engineering costs have been budgeted for Kaufman Street, Flat Street, Clift Street and Cumberland Street, with a construction plan for next year.
Quality of life improvements also remain a top priority. Our City is blessed with an abundance of green spaces and parks, however, the amenities of many of these spaces are beginning to show their age. There is also a need to add amenities at some of our parks due to a growing population and an increasing number of active residents.
Penn Park is currently in Phase 2 of our aggressive rehabilitation initiative, including irrigation, site lighting, and a revamping of the football field. Funding has also been planned for the design services necessary for Phase 3 of the improvements to Penn Park.
Significant funding has also been budgeted so that Getzendaner Park will receive an all-around much needed overhaul. These improvements will include a facelift to the ADA playground, added electrical hookups, tree trimming, drainage work, and more.
Next to Getzendaner Park, the historic Chautauqua Auditorium will also see improvements. New restrooms will be added to the facility inside unused space in the current ticket booth. Many of the events that utilize this facility have had to rent portable restrooms in the past, and the new restrooms will eliminate that. The Chautauqua will also receive new ceiling fans and audio/visual equipment, including a retractable screen with rear projection that may be used for presentations or to show films. It is also important to note that these improvements will not change the historic aesthetic of this structure.
Additionally, customer service remains a key goal for City leadership. This is reflected in the addition of key staff additions, in an effort to continue to provide an excellent level of service to our citizens.
This is a great time to live, work, and visit Waxahachie. We are growing, and that is inevitable. Because of that, an incredible amount of thought, planning, care, and consideration is made on a daily basis by City leaders and staff to ensure that we grow in a positive manner, and that we continue to be the best Waxahachie we can be. Years of strategy and care have been put into the decisions that are being executed today, and today we are putting great thought into what will continue to make us successful 5, 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
When decisions are made, we not only consider our heritage and our present situation, but even more we consider our children, grandchildren and future generations. I feel strongly that the Waxahachie we are building for them is a great one, and I couldn’t be more proud. I hope you will join in the excitement.

Sincerely,
Kevin Strength
Mayor of Waxahachie