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Town of Little Elm 2018

Strategic Report A comprehensive overview of 2018 activities in the To w n o f L i t t l e E l m a n d t h e progress made towards the master plans. W W W.LIT TLEELM.ORG

The Town With the Lake Attitude This community is built upon a strong identity and neighborhood connection, which relies upon a strong school system. Furthermore, Little Elm has become a destination for recreation and leisure activities like fishing, boating, and kayaking, and beach volleyball. This active lifestyle is also encouraged through a robust trail system that continues to emerge. Most importantly, Little Elm is where people want to be.

Table of Contents

History & Population


Safe & Welcoming


Mission & Core Values


Operational Integrity


Mayor Hillock


Public Service


Town Council


Lakefront Identity


Strong Relationships


Recreation & Leisure



Just the Facts

Our History

A look at the numbers

Did you know that Little Elm is one of the oldest municipalities in Denton County? It’s true; Little Elm was first chartered in 1841 as part of the Peters Colony and the Republic of Texas. It was settled a few years later in 1844 when Kit King and his family made their home on the banks of the Little Elm Creek. Although a tiny settlement, Little Elm played a critical role; it housed the county’s first post office in 1852.

35,050 2015 Population





2016 Population

2017 Population

44,042 2018 Population


By 1900, the population grew to 194. By the 1950s, Little Elm was home to 200 residents and five businesses. Slowly but steadily, the population increased as road improvements made the area more accessible and proximity to Lewisville Lake made it more attractive. The Town was later incorporated in 1966 with 300 residents. Incorporation almost didn’t happen; the vote to incorporate or not was a close one at 37 to 34. The population grew bit by bit over the next 30 years. In 2000, the Town had more than 3,600 residents. Since then, growth has been exponential. We’ve grown in residents, businesses, and amenities, and many things look different than they used to, but one thing is still the same: our small-town feel.

I own a business in Little Elm but don’t live here. I’m trying to get here to live as soon as I can but I have never been to a more welcoming and genuine place in my life. The people are amazing the vision for the town is innovative and the government has our best interest at heart. It’s the best kept secret in Texas. -Brad Anderson, Facebook Review


Our Strategy & Core Values

Mission The mission of the Town is to build on our unique lake opportunities and small town charm, encourage diverse housing options and business opportunities, and provide an unmatched quality of life.

Vision The Town is a distinct and desirable lakeside destination for all people to live and play while enjoying a safe, vibrant, and welcoming community.

Core Values Servant Leadership through Integrity, Customer Service, Efficiency, and Innovation.


Mayor David Hillock As you may know, Little Elm is known as the Town with the Lake Attitude, but what does a Lake Attitude mean exactly? We’ve heard it defined a few different ways over the years, but some of the most common adjectives used include neighborly, fun-loving, relaxed, stress-free, fun, able to go with the flow, adjust on the fly, and solve problems quickly. We would have to agree - we work hard to maintain an atmosphere that exemplifies fun and relaxation by providing quality amenities and unique events. We also encourage a sense of community by maintaining our small-town charm and balancing growth, and we pride ourselves on being an organization that is innovative, creative, and responsive to the needs of our stakeholders. There is no doubt that Little Elm is growing and changing every single year, and 2018 was no different. No matter the changes, growth, or challenges, we are meeting them head-on - with a Lake Attitude.

Honor Park Funding

Palladium Phase II

This was one of the more exciting projects of 2018 and we’re proud that we were able to secure funding for this valuable park.

We’re getting more mixed use, urban living concept along with urban living options with both retail and restaurant components.

School Resource Officers We doubled our SRO program and now have ten officers interacting with students in schools in Denton and Little Elm ISDs.


Little Elm Town Council




Mayor Pro Tem, District 3

District 2

District 4




District 5

At Large Place 1

At Large Place 6



Won the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association Achievement of Excellence in Libraries Award for 2017. Received the 2017 Texas Book Festival Collection Enhancement Grant for Spanish/ Bi-Lingual materials.

• •

Received the 2018 Texas Book Festival Collection Enhancement Grant for Young Adult/Teen Career and Testing materials. Recipient of the 2018 North Texas Book Festival Grant for Lakefront Discovery Kit STEM Backpacks.


The Little Elm Fire Department deployed man-power and an apparatus to California to assist in battling one of the largest fire outbreaks in that state’s history. Completed Citizen Police Academy 6, totaling more than 100 graduates. Completed Citizen Government Academy 3, totaling more than 60 graduates. Completed Citizen Fire Academy 12, totaling more than 150 graduates. Developed building permit partnership with Town homeowners associations to ensure Architectural Review Committee approval in advance of permitting.


• • • • • •

Groups from the Senior Center traveled on a Senior’s Belize Cruise with 49 seniors and to New Orleans with 84 seniors. The Senior Center held several signature events including dances, a Beach Party, a Ladies’ Tea, Guys’ Games and Grub, a New Year’s Party, and a Texas Cattle Drive Party. Big Easy – A fun event featuring crawfish and other Cajun favorites, live music, a one-mile fun run, a nighttime glow 5K and 10K. Partnered with Dallas Athletes Racing to bring a larger audience to the Big Easy in Little Elm. Memorial Day – Fully staffed the park for Memorial Day weekend. Implemented the weekend parking fees, which brought around $225,000 in revenue for the season. July Jubilee – Brought in a record crowd for the fireworks show and concert. Special event revenue totaled $351,090 versus expenses $306,838, not including personnel. Hosted a grand opening for the Little Elm Splash Pad. Hosted a Town Expo featuring information on all department functions and responsibilities. Hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Public Safety Honor Park.


Little Elm will strive to maintain positive relationships within the community and region. Strong and positive relationships are accomplished by conducting business with a high level of integrity, promoting open communication, transparency, partnership, and displaying a high level of courteousness in all of our communications. We will operate with a partner mentality with all entities with which we share a common interest.


Safe & Welcoming Environment Little Elm will be a community that is safe and welcoming to all who live here and visit. A safe and welcoming environment is accomplished through upholding a strong sense of community with an engage citizenry, maintaining clean and aesthetically welcoming corridors and neighborhoods, preserving a low crime rate, and continuing to ensure that public safety officials are courteous, professional, and ethical while providing equitable service to all.

Community Integrity



• Enhanced the Community Integrity Division by adding additional personnel, streamlining the process for code enforcement cases, and increasing training and more community engagement. • Community Integrity handled 1,675 in 2017 and 2,439 cases in 2018. • Improved compliance rate from 89-90 percent in 2017 to 96.3 percent in 2018. • Worked with HOA partners to rebuild brick screen walls along Eldorado Parkway and FM 423 adjacent to Eldorado Estates. • Revamped Neighborhood Integrity Program to allow HOAs to partner with the Town on integrity and improvement projects.

• Officers completed 5,057 hours of accredited training. • LEPD completed all the training for the COPS program required by the State to launch December of 2018. • LEPD began tracking crime statistics through the LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which helps in strategically placing officers in high crime areas. • LEPD Police Explorers competed in the national competition in Chicago. • Collected more than 200 pounds of prescription pills as part of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s biannual Drug Take Back Program. • Broke ground for the Little Elm Honor Park in December 2018.

• Opened Fire Station 3 in February 2018 staffed for round-the-clock engine and ambulance personnel. • Promoted two Captains from internally. • Added a Detective and three additional School Resource Officers and three patrol officers which brought our staff numbers to 60 certified police officers. • Established and launched a Video Crime Watch Program in which citizens and business owners can register their cameras to help solve crimes in nearby areas. • Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Program established and operating.


• Received a 2018 Design Award for Little Elm Fire Station 3 from the Fire Industry Education Organization. • The Little Elm Police Department was honored for the third time as a recognized agency in the Texas Police Chiefs’ Texas Best Practice Program. • Detective Jerry Walker was placed on the State and National Memorials.


PARK STAFF SAVE LIFE When two men got off of a boat one morning after fishing, one began to lag behind. Chandler Heathcott, a Parks Maintenance employee, noticed that the man collapsed and immediately rushed over to begin CPR. Other employees called 911 and assisted until the Fire Department could arrive and continue the lifesaving efforts and transport him to a hospital. Their efforts likely saved Mr. Phiavong’s life. This is the spirit of servant leadership that directs all employees.

ANIMAL SERVICES When a bulldog was found as a stray in rough shape on Hardwicke Lane, it was quickly realized that the dog had a homein Ohio. It turns out the dog had been taken when a thief broke into a house five years ago. The family had given up hope on seeing their dog again, but quickly drove to Texas to be reunited.




Answered Calls

Animals in the Door

Total Adoptions




Animals Reunited

Transfered to Rescue

Wildlife Animals


Excellence in Public Service Little Elm will ensure that high quality public services are maintained by addressing growth needs in infrastructure, and by attracting, retaining, equipping, and empowering a workforce that delivers excellence service for excellent value.



Continued the Annual Street Maintenance Program: • Spent $1,459,706 to maintain neighborhood streets and sidewalks. • Repaired and resurfaced all Town streets in the Sunrise Bay subdivision through an asphalt overlay program. • Repaired more than 900 trip hazards in sidewalks/curbs in the Marina Vista subdivision. • Resurfaced Cedar Drive and Cottonwood Drive as part of the Hilltown Chip Seal Project. • Replaced concrete panels throughout the Town on various streets.

• Keep Little Elm Beautiful was named a Gold Star Affiliate. • Received a first place Superior Waste Minimization Award from North Texas Corporate Recycling Association. • Received second place in the Governor’s Community Achievement Award. • Received the prestigious American Public Works Association accreditation. • Held two Clean & Green Recycling events. In spring, 39,401 pounds of recyclable material was collected. In fall, 28,919 pounds were collected.


Improved Infrastructure • Completed upgrades to residential water meters to a fixed network system that will enhance the customer service experience, increase operational efficiencies in the field, enable customer convenience, and increase transparency. • Completed construction of new fleet maintenance building featuring four double bays. • Hosted the Lakefront Trash Bash 2018 as part of the Texas Waterways Cleanup with more than 60 participants. The event collected 2.3 tons of litter and recycled 2,560 pounds of paper on America Recycles Day. • Spent $594,000 to improve the Shell Beach & Cottonwood Lift Stations to update controls for both stations and recoat wet well. • Spent $32,000 on improvements for the Castle Ridge Lift Station to improve and update controls, panels, and wet well. • Spent $9,584,665 in construction costs for the expansion of the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The project, expected to complete in July of 2019, will add one million gallons of wastewater treatment for future growth. • Worked with TxDOT to complete the expansion of Oak Grove Parkway to take the road from two-lane asphalt to a six-lane urban concrete thoroughfare from Eldorado Parkway to Martop Road. • Worked with TxDOT to start construction of expansion of Oak Grove Parkway from twolane asphalt road to a six-lane urban concrete thoroughfare from Martop Road to U.S. 380. • Made updates at the Mansell Pump Station, including repainting and maintenance on the two million gallon water ground storage tank at Mansell Pump Station. • Joined the ERCOT ERS/10 Program. This program uses the generators at Mansell Pump Station and the WWTP as part of the program. Participation in this program offsets all the costs to all of the generator maintenance and load testing for all of the Town’s generators. • Added a water mixing system to the Eldorado Water Tower to help reduce nitrification.


Operational Integrity

Little Elm will ensure the integrity and long-term viability of the Town’s financial and operational process. Little Elm’s operational and financial soundness will be ensured by maintaining a competitive tax rate, aggressively recruiting retail and small business economic development prospects, planning for long-term financial obligations, and maintaining a level of operational efficiency.

The Town received many awards for high quality work and vision Gold DAVEY Award for 2017 Strategic Report and Best Use of Social Video with “What Is The Lakefront?” First place in the state of Texas with the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) for Best Use of Social Media in a Town under 100,000 for the Beach Rules Video. Received the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) Award of Excellence for the Little Elm Beach Rules in Video Education and the 2017 Strategic Report for Digital Interactive Reports. The Government Finance Officers’ Association of Texas awarded the Finance department with Excellence for the Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR) for the eighth year. Awarded the Planning for Excellence Award from the American Planning Association (APA). Purchasing was awarded the National Purchasing Institute Achievement in Excellence Procurement for the fourth year. Accounting received the Government Treasurer’s Organization of Texas Certificate of Distinction for the Town of Little Elm Investment Policy for the fourth year.


HOW WE IMPROVED IN 2018 • • • • • • • •

Updated the impact fee program. Updated the zoning ordinance. Updated the subdivision ordinance. Enhanced the internal map experience with hyperlinks to record drawings. Created a new map books for field personnel. Maintained our bond rating at AA. Updated the investment policy and purchasing and procurement card policy. Updated the code of ordinances for utility office and meter services.

New Businesses in 2018 The





certificate of occupancy in 2018. FLIX BREWHOUSE



Increasing Our Presence Through Operations • Increased followers on our social media channels and subscribers to our email marketing communication channels. • Facebook likes are at 15,397, a 20 percent increase from Jan. 1 to Dec. 28. • Utility Billing and Public Works email lists have 4,134 active contacts. • Recreation Center, Special Events and other Town notifications email lists have 9,950 active contacts. • The Town began an archiving policy for all social channels to improve transparency and legal obligations.


Recreation & Leisure Little Elm will maximize recreational and leisure activities for the region, which will provide for a broad range of socio-economic and interest groups with the focus set on maximizing the unique lake front recreation opportunities that exist on Lewisville Lake.




Recreation Center Members

Recreation Center Visits

Summer Aquatic Participants

This represents an increase of 9,336 (28%) members over 2016-17.

This is a combination of memberships and day passes.

There was a 12% increase in revenue, the highest ever.

There was a 67 percent increase in membership revenue at the Recreation Center.

Fitness Programming had a 60 percent increase in revenue. This includes group fitness, personal training and wellness.

Mayor’s Fitness Challenge was the most successful yet, with over 200 participants in 2018.

There was an 11 percent increase in activity card swipes in the last year. Over the past five years this has increased 366 percent, while membership numbers increased by 155 percent.

Recreation Center rentals increased 95 percent. Held the first Open House at the Recreation Center where nearly 500 people toured the Center.

There were 126 teams that registered for Adult Softball, the highest total ever. Hosted the first regional Pickleball Tournament and first league.


TOP RECREATION AMENITIES Little Elm is a great place to live and a great place to play! We believe that taking part in recreational activities, especially those outdoors, improves physical wellness, emotional well-being, and boosts quality of life! As a result, we work to provide high-quality recreation amenities and programs for residents and visitors alike. Our commitment to providing outstanding amenities continued in 2018. We completed several highly-anticipated projects and started a few more, including the construction of the Harts Branch Trail connecting the Lakefront Trail to Villages of Woodlake, Eldorado Estates West, and Sunset Pointe subdivisions with an overall length of 1.25 miles and the construction of the Dog Park and connecting trails at McCord Park. Read about what we completed below. Brent Trail Project This project took Witt Road to the Lakefront Trail, and around Brent Elementary. It is a total of .3 miles. This project is just one more way that Little Elm is expanding its trail program and taking the Lakefront Trail even further.

Lakefront Trail This trail was an exciting project that gave Little Elm and the surrounding community a longer granite trail in the community. The trail is four miles and connects Beard Park to McCord Park along Cottonwood Creek for beautiful nature views. Runners, walkers, bikers all love this trail and the community that it inspires.

Splash Pad The new Splash Pad opened Memorial Day weekend and went off with, well, a splash. The 3,000 square foot park has been well received in the community and provides a water feature on the other side of Town. This is one more way to keep the lake attitude brand throughout Little Elm.

FM 423 East Trail Project This new trail connects the Eldorado Estates and Cottonwood Creek subdivision with a concrete trail that is one mile long. This connects the Eldorado Estates and Cottonwood Creek subdivisions to McCord Park and the Lakefront Trail and further solidifies our dedication to the outdoors as a community.


Town Identity

Maintain Little Elm’s distinctive look and high development standards that provide vibrant, high-quality neighborhoods and development. Create a sense of place and brand identity that extends beyond our borders

*S Community Partners Worked with HOA partners to rebuild brick screen walls along Eldorado Parkway and FM 423 adjacent to Eldorado Estates.

Award Winner Received the Planning for Excellence Award from the American Planning Association and a Scenic City Silver designation.

Expanded Parks Completed the first phase of the expansion of McCord Park, which included the Splash Pad, a free, outdoor water feature.

Lakefront Branding CivicBrand, a branding firm, conituned to expand the Lakefront brand through social media, brand guidelines, and roundtables for business owners.

Building Better Update the Town Zoning Ordinance, which included two overlay districts in the Lakefront area.

Landscape Funding Received funding from TxDOT to complete the corridor landscaping on Oak Grove Parkway from Eldorado Parkway to Cottonwood Drive.



Town with LakeAttitude

Profile for Town of Little Elm

Town of Little Elm Strategic Report 2018  

This Strategic Report highlights the activities of the past year and the progress towards the goals and objectives in the Council’s Strategi...

Town of Little Elm Strategic Report 2018  

This Strategic Report highlights the activities of the past year and the progress towards the goals and objectives in the Council’s Strategi...