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Rooney updates chamber through ‘State of the City’ address

Tim Rooney addresses the Mustang Chamber of Commerce attendees as part of his State of the City Address at the Chamber Luncheon on Feb. 22. (Photo by Jacob Sturm)

By Jacob Sturm

Business leaders in Mustang got a clear picture of what the City of Mustang has been focused
on, and what to expect for the 2024 calendar year from a variety of different departments
thanks to City Manager Tim Rooney’s ‘State of the City’ address.

Rooney walked through each City Department’s responses to planned questions posed to them
ahead of the address. He started with the Mustang Community Development Department,
where he mentioned Mustang Marketplace (Panda Express, Chili’s and INTEGRIS were brought
up as some of the developments in the property).

As part of the list of accomplishments for the Mustang Finance Department in 2023, Rooney
shared the city receiving $6.832M from the American Rescue Act that is restricted for water
and sewer permits enhancing utility services for the city.

Then came the accomplishments over the past year for the Mustang Fire Department,
headlined by the opening of Mustang Fire Station No. 2. The facility has been delivering more
rapid response times to the east side of Mustang since it opened.

“Chief Carruth was, I would say, more than out of his comfort zone being a construction
manager, but did a phenomenal job with that facility,” Rooney said. “Really, we can’t be more
happy with the outcome.”

Another project highlighted from Mustang’s Fire Department was the sign at Fire Station No. 1,
with the sign going into service on Dec. 21.

The next department to be discussed was Human Resources, which mentioned retirement
plans for each city employee, and mentioned the city received a Bronze Award for 2023 from a
per capita achievement of between $25-$49 per employee.

The Mustang Library accomplishments include an online high school program for adults, making
adults over the age of 25 eligible to earn their high school diploma through the Mustang Library
as part of a grant received.

Mustang Parks and Recreation accomplishments shared included the Meadows Park walking
trail project, the online catalog providing showing all activities offered to citizens, and lastly the
restoration of the F86 airplane.

As for the Mustang Police Department, a switch to a new handgun for the entire department
was first on a list of accomplishments for the 2023 year. The Mustang Police Department is the
only department in the state to have every officer transitioned to these handguns.

The Managerial Department for the city also accomplished quite a bit, including adding the
Project Manager position. Mustang has already received benefits from the addition, including a
large grant providing 80% of the funding for an electric vehicle charging station at Wild Horse

So, what are some things each department will be looking forward to in 2024?

Community Development is planning to start the process of digitizing building files. Those plans
will be preserved indefinitely, helping those citizens requesting access to old files.

The Finance Department will have completed the implementation of written procedures at
each desk to promote consistency, efficiency and clarity in the workspace.

“The one department in the city that’s probably more cross trained than any other is Finance
because they all have to cover each at the desk, and while I can’t give you a lovely picture of a
document, I will tell you that this will pay off huge for that department,” Rooney said.

As for MFD, they plan to bring the color scheme up to date for many vehicles in the fleet to
match the recently purchased apparatus.

Human Resources is looking forward to completing a policy and procedure manual for the
entire city.

The Library is excited for the Bicycle loan station just outside of the Library doors at Mustang
Town Center. Those bikes can be used by the general public.

As for the Parks Department, continued improvements to all parks located in the city is the
expectation for 2024. The improvements are a focus to make the parks places the community
wants to visit daily.

MPD is excited for the renewal of the K9 program. Sgt. Jeremy Collinson has been selected as
the K9 handler, and begins training March 18 in Texas. The addition of the K9 officer will be the
first in the past three years.

Finally, the Managerial Department is excited for the Multimodal Continuity Plan, a long-range
plan providing pedestrian travel to be more connected. The hope is that the project will reduce
single occupant vehicles on the roadways.

Rooney then addressed some of the concerns department directors have as they continue
working for the city. He said the answers to the question centered around three themes.

“The first of which is keeping up with growth,” Rooney said. “Four of the eight departments
listed growth, keeping up with growth, managing growth or something dealing with growth as their No. 1 concern. When one thinks about it, this really shouldn’t surprise anybody… Growth
is something we all struggle with.”

“…We want the byproducts of growth, but we don’t want growth to actually occur, and that
just isn’t possible,” Rooney said after a public participation portion of the address
demonstrating common discussions in the community pertaining to benefits of growth.

The next concern relates to how to keep up with growth with decreasing sales tax revenues.
Rooney showed multiple graphs, with the first showing an increase in sales tax over the past 10
years and the second showing that the growth has leveled out in the past six months when
compared to last year.

“I’m not going to stand here and claim that this city is in financial straits, we’re not,” Rooney
said. “But what I am going to say is that this should be concerning to you as it is every
department director as flatlining sales tax allows for no program growth, no employment
growth and no ability to keep up with demands that accompany a growing community.”

So, how does Rooney propose fixing that? He mentioned shopping local, dining local and
growing the need for more local amenities.

The final concern mentioned in his address was the anger directed at city employees. Rooney
said it has not been a rare occurrence, and encouraged the community to step in when they see
any group (city employee or other) treated poorly.

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