One year ago I wrote in my first column as Mayor of Heath that there were 3 areas we needed to focus on to have a positive impact upon our community, and that “First, we need to continue to improve our roads, trails, parks, public utilities and other infrastructure. “
Simply put, to remain a first-class City, we must invest in the infrastructure and amenities that contribute to the high quality of life and strong property values we enjoy in Heath.
An enormous amount of work has been done by our City Council and City Staff during the last year and I am pleased to say that we have approved a Capital Improvement Plan that includes over $20,000,000 of improvements. The projects that we have identified in the Plan benefit the entire community and will deliver positive, visible improvements throughout the City.
A complete list of the proposed projects included within the plan can be obtained by going to the City Website [www.heathtx.com] or by calling the City offices [972-771-6228]. The projects currently planned include rebuilding Crisp, Myers, White and Rabbit Ridge roads, major improvements to the sewer system serving the Shepherd’s Glen subdivision, an entry feature on the north side of the City, upgrading our DPS radio systems, new trails (including a connection from Towne Center Park to Terry Park) and a new road to alleviate traffic congestion around Amy Parks School. While those items are all currently included within our plans, it is important to note that a Capital Improvements Plan is structured to allow the flexibility to respond to new opportunities or growth issues as they emerge, and, therefore, changes may be made to the Capital Improvement Plan as we proceed. [I am an attorney, so I guess a disclaimer is inevitable every now and then.]
One significant benefit of moving forward with this Plan now, is that the City will secure historically low interest rates when the Certificate of Obligation Bonds necessary to fund the projects are issued. The City‘s financial advisor has stated that “interest rates are at an all-time low and this is an ideal time to invest in our community”. Just as consumers are getting more home for their money in the current financing climate, the City will do the same with our projects.
The impact the Capital Improvement Plan will have on our ad valorem tax rate is another factor that has spurred intense deliberation. I have been proud to be among the members of the City Councils that have not raised taxes for 21 consecutive years. However, my colleagues on the City Council and I recognize that we must invest in our community if it is to remain the kind of place where we are proud to own a home, raise children and grandchildren, and open a business. We are still working on the details of financing these projects, but I can assure you that your City Council is working to accomplish these improvements efficiently and with as limited an impact to our City taxes as possible.
In the weeks ahead, we will continue to discuss the projects included in the Capital Improvement Plan and our plans for financing their completion. These discussions will take place in open, public meetings, and I invite and encourage every citizen to attend and learn more about the upcoming Capital Improvements.
Meeting notices will be published on the City’s website and in our social media outlets. You are also welcome to contact me, or any of my colleagues on the City Council directly, as we always want to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
After many extensive discussions, it is with excitement that the City Council presents this Capital Improvement Plan to advance a prosperous future for our city. It’s hard to believe that 12 months have passed since I wrote my first column as your Mayor, but now more than ever, it is both an honor and privilege to serve you in this capacity. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.
Lorne O. Liechty
Watch for a dedicated section regarding the Capital Improvement Plan coming soon to the website.
P.S. Please plan on joining our City for the Annual Independence Day Parade on Thursday, July 4 at 9 a.m. You can march or watch, and cool off with free Popsicles in the Park afterwards! Staging and judging begins at Amy Parks-Heath Elementary at 8 a.m. Parade starts at 9 a.m.