WAXAHACHIE

Waxahachie City Council took a five-year look into the future as they discussed the city’s capital improvement and operating plans on Wednesday. The outline presented to the council helps to plan for growth, capital expenses, upgrades, and the unknown.

City Manager Michael Scott stated this outline helps chart the city’s economic course. He noted department heads were asked to come up with a list of projects they considered necessary.

“The charge to our department headed was to look out five years,” Scott said. “What happened is that they came back and we started prioritizing.”

Some of the projects included are a new fire engine, a firing range, heavy equipment, street upgrades, computer software, personnel, and park and facility improvements. The items on the list were then ranked by priority categorizing some as immediate needs and others that could wait a few years.

"There are some other things that we have tried to do since we are a growing community,” Scott said. “ Parks, for example, we are trying to appeal to young families that have kids, so we need quality parks. We are looking at refreshing those."

He added that one idea was to bring some of the contracted work back under the umbrella of the city such as concrete repair. This service saves funds but has the added benefit of increased customer service with residents.

Director of Finance Charles Harris stated — for projects to be included on this outline — a project had to reach a minimum threshold of $50,000. The project threshold allows the city to focus and plan for the big-ticket items. In the outline, its estimated there will be a revenue surplus of about $4 million in the general fund.

Harris noted there might be an opportunity worth with others on some of these projects.

“We also have an animal shelter that has been identified as a need five years out. There is an opportunity to collaborate with other communities,” Harris said. “There are a lot of economies of scale to share those costs.”

Scott stated the outline is a living document that can adjust to the economic climate and needs of the city. The outline had flexibility built into it so if the priorities of the council or the community change it can adapt to meet that new goal.