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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

2016: Year in Review with Harker Heights City Manager David Mitchell

2016: Year in Review with Harker Heights City Manager  David Mitchell

By Shannon Myers
Correspondent

City Manager of Harker Heights, David Mitchell discussed some of the city’s biggest accomplishments in 2016 and the city’s desire to continue the positive momentum into 2017.
For Mitchell and the city, all the improvements made were made with the purpose of providing service.
“That’s how we measure all our projects by, is by service… We’re not doing a project just to do a project. There has to be something that’s tied to service,” said Mitchell. “So at 3481 (FM 4210 and 4381 Project), it was about providing better cueing service for our citizens as well as providing greater security for the students that go to school there,” said Mitchell.
Another improvement project was for Amy Lane by increasing the street width, improve drainage, creating an access street to Market Heights, an island and turning lane at the intersection of Beeline and Amy Lane to better direct traffic and act as a natural speed deterrent.”
“It was a much-needed improvement and sidewalks will follow next year,” said Mitchell.
An additional major improvement was the $2.66 million Comanche Gap Project. The project widened the road, placed drainage with curb and gutter, crossing improvements, and a 10-foot sidewalk down to the boundary of the Dana Peak Park.
“These were very crucial projects… For the city, very significant dollars were spent on those projects and very significant lengths of roadway being improved in one year,” said Mitchell.
Other capital improvements the city will continue to work on in the new year with great focus is placing new sidewalks and improving current ones.
Other accomplishments were the City Hall and Recreation Center expansion. At City Hall, the IT server room was improved to house virtual servers in an optimal environment and help to prevent hard shutdowns.
“If our servers go down, we can’t serve our citizens… Our IT staff is phenomenal and we didn’t have those issues when they were housed in the former area, but that meant they put in a lot of extra hours people don’t know about just to keep those systems up and going because of the climate they were in,” said Mitchell.
The expansion also allowed for a secondary emergency operation center.
The Recreation Center expanded to accommodate conference rooms to better serve all the participants who use the center to have a place for them to meet for their sports and events.
Another achievement for Harker Heights was the hiring of the Fire Chief, Paul Sims.
“Paul is a phenomenal guy and we’re excited to have him here… We had three panels who reviewed him for the position and he was the top choice of all three panels,” said Mitchell. “He’s done a great job, very servant leader and that’s what we look for,” said Mitchell.
In 2016, Harker Heights has made the effort to use more efficient methods of issuing and approving permits with MyGovernmentOnline Permit and Inspection Software and the City Hall kiosk.
“It’s really versatile and again, it goes back to that whole principle of service. This just provides another avenue in providing for the needs of our citizens so they can pay 24 hours a day,” said Mitchell.
The budget for 2016-2017 was balanced and was able to weather in the current economy climate.
“We did that without raising taxes or fees…We’ve had 20 plus years of having an exemplary budget award… We’ve always had very clean audits and we work hard at that,” said Mitchell. “We’re very thankful for having a good council to work with to develop that budget,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell also attributes to Harker Heights having a productive and successful year due to having a productive city council.
“A lot of that has to do with our council. We have a great council, a very stable council. They give us great leadership, give us great direction… One thing that we enjoy about them is that they’re respectful no matter what,” said Mitchell. “We’ve had a very successful year,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell said like 2016, 2017 is another year in striving to continue to uphold the city’s vision statement of “providing public services that empower people to focus on what matters most: their goals, hopes, and dreams.”
“It is set on the horizon for us. We’re human. We’re fallible. There’s times when we don’t hit that mark but we learn from it and keep striving to do that for our citizens,” said Mitchell. “When looking at these projects we’ve done this year wrap nicely around that mantra of serving our citizens and that’s why I’m excited about the year up ahead,” said Mitchell.

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