Rowlett Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian delivered her annual State of the City Address during a City Council meeting on Jan. 5.
The mayor discussed last year’s achievements in the city as well as goals for the new year during her fourth city address.
In response to the financial impact on the city, the property tax was lowered to 1.2 percent and the water rate by 5 percent. In 2020, the North Texas Municipal Water District agreed to a new regional water district contract with 13 member cities. In November, the Water District Board of Directors voted for Rowlett to be included in the resolution.
“We look forward to continuing our vigorous advocacy on behalf of Rowlett citizens and will now begin the next phase and work with the water district to ensure our community participates in the revised full sale water terms afforded to member cities,” Tana-Bahian said.
During the pandemic, emergency management and public health teams have been able to help the city through their essential efforts. Through the CARES Act, Rowlett provided funds to LifeMessage, Hope in Hands Food Pantry, Salvation Army, local businesses and household assistance programs. Through the Paycheck Protection Program, 675 businesses were able to receive assistance in funds based on needs.
“I would like to thank the entire city team for their dedication and resilience. Each one of you has adjusted to an ever-changing environment with grace and professionalism,” Tana-Bahian said. “You have created innovative ways for our residents to connect while mostly homebound and were able to continue high-surface levels jobs that certainly exceeded expectations in this difficult environment.”
The mayor also thanked the public safety teams for their dedication this year through new advancements such as grants. This year, the city increased police patrol staff by eight positions and additional dispatch positions. The Rowlett PD responded to 91,000 calls which included 1,300 priority calls with an average response time decreased by sixteen percent. The city will also add an additional resource to the crisis assistance program for mental health as the mental health needs have increased due to the economic downturn of the pandemic.
“Last summer, our citizens and various groups in the city, came together to exercise their constitutionally protected right to protest social injustice which highlighted the issues faced by people of color across the nation,” Tana-Bahian said. “City leadership and law enforcement officials including Rowlett police officers, engaged with our residents and heard citizen organizers, reaffirming our police department’s commitment to safety and justice for all Rowlett citizens regardless of race.”
For the next bond election, the city estimated they could only fund approximately $40 million in general obligation bonds without an increase in the actual tax rate. The City Council will anticipate a bond election in May 2021 with considerations from an advisory board. The mayor also highlighted the need for new public facilities in the next few years. The city has focused on continuing the city’s growth, affordable and diverse housing, quality restaurants, major businesses, and infrastructure.
“I would like to give special gratitude to faith organizations, nonprofit communities, our hospitals and health workers, and other frontline workers for everything they did and continue to do to elevate our residents during a remarkable time of need,” Tana-Bahian said. “Each one of you working in these fields are heroes and we will forever be in your debt for their extraordinary service.”