On October 9, 2015, officials from the City of Buda attended the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association’s (TxAPA) annual conference in Galveston to receive the prestigious Community of the Year Award. The officials included Mayor Todd Ruge, City Manager Kenneth Williams, Planning Director Chance Sparks and Planner Meredith Johnson.
This recognition, awarded to one city annually regardless of size or population, distinguishes cities that represent best practices in municipal planning. Nominees are judged by a jury of accomplished current and retired planners from throughout the state of Texas on the general topics of innovation, transferability, quality, implementation and comprehensiveness.
Wendy Shabay, current President of TxAPA, in describing Buda’s award stated, “As one of the fastest growing areas in Texas, the City of Buda recognizes the importance of planning and preparing for growth. Too often, small cities believe that they are not capable of implementing big plans or big ideas. Buda, through its planning and implementation efforts, successfully demonstrates that even the smallest cities can be beacons of light in the planning profession and provide an example to every city in this state regardless of location, geographic size, population or any other characteristic. Buda represents an ideal in engaging the community, developing a vision and pushing forward to make that vision a reality through sound planning and transparency.”
In evaluating Buda for the award, the jury particularly noted the efforts at public engagement not just during planning initiatives, but carrying through into implementation. In addition, they praised the way in which the elected leadership, city management and city departments work cohesively together to make implementation of plans integral not only to big-picture projects, but to everyday decision-making. TxAPA believes Buda is the smallest city to have ever received this distinction. The three most recent past winners include the cities of Richardson, Plano and Tyler.
Kenneth Williams stated, “This award speaks to the culture of the Buda community and its commitment to enhancing that quality of life for generations to come through sound planning. This award reflects not only the leadership and teamwork of the City Council, city administration and city staff, but the support we get from the community to accomplish great things.”