The Quarry

Results Count: Strategic planning pays off with satisfied residents 

Success in community-building requires playing the long game, especially in a fast-growing city like Round Rock. Building infrastructure, developing superior programs for public safety and leisure all the while maintaining fiscal discipline necessitates having a plan and sticking to it. 

That’s been Round Rock’s modus operandi for the past three decades. Plan for growth, figure out how to pay for it and then execute consistently is how you get the kind of outstanding results the City received in its most recent citizen survey.  

We thought it would be enlightening to juxtapose the survey results with the City Council’s recently updated Strategic Plan goals for 2025. The results show the value to residents of staying the course, even in the midst of a pandemic.  

Caution: Lots of statistics ahead. A work of great literature this is not. It’s an itemization of what can happen through the power of visioning and goal setting in local government. It’s also worth noting how much better Round Rock does than its peer cities statewide and nationally. Again, we chalk that up to having a plan and sticking to it. 


The top-priority for City Council shouldn’t come as a surprise: Deliver outstanding services at a reasonable cost while growing the local economy. 

Objectives for this goal include: deliver cost-effective services in a customer friendly, pro-business manner; diversify revenues, expand the tax base and maintain solid finances; and develop, update and use long-range organization and strategic master planning. 

In providing high value services, police and fire are incredibly important to deliver results  public safety  makes up  50 percent of  the  City’s  general fund.  We have a reputation of being one of the safest cities of the nation, and our survey responses show we’re living up to that standard. 

Survey says 

  • 91% feel very safe or safe overall in Round Rock 
  • 87% approval with overall quality of City serviceswhich is 41% above Texas average, 39% above U.S. average 
  • 54% satisfaction with overall value received for taxes, fees 24% higher than Texas average, 17% above U.S. average 
  • 71% satisfaction with customer service provided by City employees 31% higher than Texas average, 29% above U.S. average 
  • Satisfaction with Fire and EMS services are at 89% and 82%, respectively 
  • 83% satisfaction with Police services – 20% higher than Texas average, 14% above U.S. average 

Bottom line 

Some objectives in this overarching goal are not reflected in the survey results, notably economic indicators and financial stability. To wit: The City’s economic development partnership with the Round Rock Chamber resulted in 1,115 jobs and $46 million in capital investment in 2020; and commercial property values have increased $1.05 billion over the past two years, which takes some pressure off residential property taxpayers. 

The strongest endorsement of the City’s finances are AAA bond ratings – the highest possible – from Standard & Poor’s for general obligation and utility debt. 

The master planning objective for Goal 1 pays off big time for Goal 2.
Round Rock has the plans in place to keep up with the infrastructure demands of a growing population, as well as the fiscal discipline to make sure there’s enough money to maintain what’s already on the ground. 

Objectives include: improving mobility; upgrade and expand roads; have responsible potable water use by City customers, facilities and parks; and invest in City infrastructure to support growth and economic development. 

Survey says 

  • 82% satisfaction with drinking water services, which is 31% higher than Texas average and 18% higher than U.S. average 
  • 72% satisfaction with maintenance of major City streets, which is 26% higher than Texas average and 26% higher than U.S. average 

Significant satisfaction increases from 2018 to 2020 include: 

  • Traffic flow in and around neighborhoods (+18% – the highest increase of any service from 2018-2020) 
  • Timing of traffic signals in the City (+10%) 
  • Overall management of traffic flow by the City (+10%) 
  • Transportation planning (+7%) 
  • Maintenance of major City streets (+7%)  
  • Maintenance of neighborhood streets (+7%) 

Hittin’ the streets 

Keeping up with street maintenance has been a City Council priority for a number of years, and is an expensive program since 2012, the City has spent more than $37 million to maintain neighborhood streets. 

Slight property tax increases were approved in 2019 and the current budget to keep the program fully funded, so seeing such high satisfaction rates is encouraging. Likewise, the City Council has so far approved $60 million in debt over the past two years for the Driving Progress transportation improvement program, which in 2019 took the first step on a $240 million, five-year investment 

The high rating for drinking water services is no surprise it is typically around 80%. Round Rockers likely have a renewed appreciation for our utility as City crews kept water flowing during the recent winter storm, when nearly all our neighboring utility providers had to issue boil water notices. 

Expanding our economy through sports tourism has been a City Council priority for
more than a decade. Folks come to town to compete, stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants, and leave their money here when they had back home.  

Funding to build the facilities needed to host major sporting events comes primarily from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), which is paid by visitors to local hotels. The good news is, those facilities can also be reserved for use by local sports organizations. 

Objectives for this goal include: develop/maintain additional sports fields – practice, games, sports tourism; upgrade quality and maintenance of current City sports facilities; and expand conventions/conferences. 

Survey says  

  • Satisfaction with quality of outdoor sports facilities is 72%, which is 13% above Texas average and 8% above U.S. average 
  • Satisfaction with City-owned Forest Creek Golf Course increased by 15% from 2018 to 2020 
  • Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, which just opened in October, was the No. 2 ranked favorite development in the City over the past five years 

In to win 

Having top-notch athletic facilities is a big reason why Round Rock calls itself the Sports Capital of Texas. One of those facilities, Forest Creek Golf Club, received a $5.1 million renovation that was completed in 2018 following a 10-month closure. So the double-digit increase in satisfaction was, well, satisfying. 

The ranking of Kalahari as the No. 2 favorite development over the past five years was a welcome surprise since it had been open only one month before the survey hit the street. Needless to say, adding a resort with nearly 1,000 rooms and a Convention Center radically expands the City’s ability to host conferences and out-of-town visitors and expands our tourism program beyond sports 

Like Goal 1, this one is
pretty broad but is focused on quality of life. Objectives include: build a community where people prefer to live; develop/upgrade parks and trails; expand and diversify local business and job opportunities for residents; expand/maintain quality of life amenities for residents. 

Survey says 

  • 88% approval with overall quality of life 
  • 84% satisfaction with Parks and Recreation programs, which is 27% higher than Texas average and 23% higher than U.S., and second highest among City services 
  • 81% satisfaction with overall appearance of community, which is 22% above Texas average and 17% above U.S. average 
  • 77% satisfaction with cleanliness of streets and sidewalks, which is 15% above Texas average and 18% above U.S. average 

Significant satisfaction increases from 2018 to 2020 include: 

  • City recreation centers (+10%) 
  • Availability of job opportunities (+9%) 
  • Hike and bike trails in the City (+8%) 
  • Adult recreation programs (+7%) 

Other building blocks 

Our Comprehensive Plan 2030 process identified concerns and satisfaction when it comes to development. You can check out the full array of public engagement results on the Comprehensive Plan here 

The City has invested
tens of million of dollars over the last decade in buildings, infrastructure and enhancing the streetscape in downtown. The redevelopment of our one-of-a-kind historic district is paying off with new commercial projects and increased dining and entertainment opportunities.  

Goal objectives include: more attractive, aesthetically-pleasing downtown; increase public and commercial use of Brushy Creek; expand housing opportunities: townhomes, apartments, condos; and provide safe, convenient, lighted parking. 

Survey says 

  • 90% say they feel very safe or safe in Downtown Round Rock 
  • Downtown was the No. 1 response for favorite development in the City over the past five years, cited by 30% of respondents 

Comments from survey 

  • Downtown is “growing and becoming more of an area where you can walk around and feel safe. More places to eat and different types of shops/places. Love the water splash pad in summer and hope there will be outside concerts again. Really missed this last summer.” 
  • “Good food, good people, good atmosphere” 
  • “I like how the downtown area near the library and Main St. has adapted and planned for growth. Widening the sidewalks and planning for additional foot traffic while reminding visitors of the parking garage has allowed downtown to be visually appealing.” 
  • “A city’s main street should be its showcase. RR did a good job of renovating sidewalks and landscaping” 

Right. At Home. 

There’s a lot going on in Downtown that won’t show up in the survey. For example, The Depot townhome project is one step away from starting construction. Significant progress is being made on extending the regional trail along Brushy Creek, which will give pedestrians and cyclists from both west and east Round Rock an alternative means to get to downtown. A 300-space parking garage will be built with the new Library on Liberty Street. The opening of parklets in downtown has been well-received by visitors and businesses. 

backbone of our community is the many neighborhoods that make up Round Rock. Each has its own character and challenges, and there’s A LOT the City does to keep our neighborhoods healthy.  

Objectives include: maintain reputation as a safe city; ensure homes and commercial areas complying with City codes; increase neighborhood connectivity through streets and trails; repair, upgrade neighborhood infrastructure: streets, sidewalks, utilities, fences, streetscapes; and upgrade neighborhood parks and open spaces. 

Survey says 

  • 95% feel very safe or safe in their neighborhood during the day, and 83% at night 
  • 88% satisfaction with appearance, maintenance of City parks 
  • 72% satisfaction with maintenance of neighborhood streets, which is 28% higher than Texas average and 27% higher than U.S. average 
  • 67% satisfaction with maintenance of city streets and sidewalks, which is 31% higher than Texas average and 25% higher than U.S. average 
  • 55% satisfaction with enforcement of city codes and ordinances, which is 7% higher than Texas average and 2% higher than U.S. average 
  • 51% satisfaction with clean-up of junk/debris on private property, which is 8% higher than Texas average and 9% higher than U.S. average 
  • 50% satisfaction with enforcing mowing/trimming on private property, which is 12% higher than Texas average and 14% higher than U.S. average 

Significant satisfaction increases from 2018 to 2020 include: 

  • Traffic flow in and around neighborhoods (+18%) 
  • Maintenance of neighborhood streets (+7%) 

Howdy, neighbor 

This goal has the most connections to survey results. The one objective that doesn’t line up is increasing effectiveness of HOAs, which the City addresses through its Neighborhood Services Division 

Whew. That’s a lot of data to assimilate. If you’ve made it this far, we trust the trip was worth it. Share your thoughts or questions in the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you. 

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