City Hall 101 – There’s More Than You Know To Frisco

An unofficial account by Sean Heatley, a Proud Frisco Resident

Fellow Frisco Residents and City Supporters,

A typical story would just jump straight into the topic at hand, but I want to take a few moments in this first issue to introduce myself and tell you how I got here. After today, I promise just to stick to the facts!

My wife and I are second time citizens of Frisco (2002-2004, 2013+). We knew from our first stint that once our family plans came to fruition Frisco would be our long-term home. By trade, I manage operations for small-to-medium venture funded companies and dabble in other start-up adventures.

While my business experiences have treated me well financially, they did not satisfy my sense of commitment to the community I live in.

I’ve lived or worked in most of the major cities in North Texas and survived a two-year weekly commute to Austin, with international trips littered in. I’ve seen a wide variety of cities, but as a whole, never found one quite as sound as Frisco.

When my daughter was born, I knew that it was time for my wife and I to get back to Frisco and become an active part of her environment. I’ve chosen to put myself in a position to inform those around me, influence critical topics, and sleep well at night knowing I was doing what I could for the betterment of my community.

After closing on our house last October, I began searching for committees and boards in which I could take part. What I found was an overwhelming variety of opportunities to get involved.

Following three months of searching and failed appointments, I stumbled onto a City of Frisco training course called “City Hall 101.”  It’s a bit of a time commitment (once a week, 3-hr session, for 15 weeks), but on the path to the answers and access I was looking for, it is well worth it.

I sat through the first couple of sessions and found my head swimming with interesting and useful information about Frisco. So much so, that it felt it like an injustice to keep it to myself.  So, I started an email series in my neighborhood, that in just a few weeks had made its way to surrounding neighborhoods.

Then, I had the good fortune to run into Wendi and Scott, owners of, and now I am here, sharing what I’ve learned with you wonderful folks!

One final statement for the sake of disclosure. I am just a regular guy sharing some of his notes hoping to help some of you learn something interesting about the city you live in.  I encourage you to visit the city website or by attending the class yourself when it starts again in August!

City Hall 101 – Your City Management

By definition, Frisco is a Council-Manager form of government. Translated, it is like a typical business in that we have Chief Executive Officers (Mayor Maso & The Six Councilmen – sounds like a fun band name) and a have a Chief Operating Officer (The City Manager).

The major difference from a standard company is that our CEO Team is volunteer-based.  I’ll say that again… They volunteer their time to make sure you and I have live in a cutting-edge, safe, and sound city.  Frisco City Council focuses on strategy, major policy, and critical tax decisions. They also act as the sounding board and decision makers on key public topics.

Our City Manager, George Purefoy, and his talented team are the backbone of the city tasked with running the day to day operations of Frisco, as well as planning growth, infrastructure, and long term sustainability strategies.

It is remarkable what our management team has been able to do in the last 10-15 years of rapid growth. In my opinion, they will continue to make us one of the flagship cities in the state!

A few stats:

Helpful Links

*source: 2012 Municipal Year Book, published by ICMA

City Hall 101 – Your Fire Department!             

If you ever wondered if our neighborhoods and city are safe and secure on the Fire/EMS front, fear no more!  We are fortunate to have a state of the art Fire Management team that isn’t matched by many cities in the US.

Our Fire team has established Frisco as an I.S.O. “1” rated city. For perspective, there are only 55 Fire Departments in the US rated I.S.O. 1 out of 60,000 applicants! There are three major elements that make up the rating system:

  1. Water Supply, for putting out fires
  2. Emergency Systems and Planning
  3. Preparedness of the Fire Department and its equipment.

As homeowners, it means we get better rates on fire insurance and coverage is a no-brainer. The I.S.O. 1 rating is also important for attracting businesses as it offers them potential discounts and is an excellent selling point for the city.

A few stats:

(Go to the class and you get to ride up on one of the ~100 ft ladders – Super Cool!) 

Service Information:

Safety Town – Wow is all I can say!

If you are not familiar with Safety Town and have young kiddos, this is a must visit in Frisco.

Safety Town is a miniaturized city equipped with stop signs, automated lights, store fronts, and small roadways for kids to ride bikes and jeeps on while learning about outdoor safety. It is an incredible $3 Million dollar project that has had more than 250,000 visitors since opening six years ago.

In addition to outdoor education, they also have a complete fire truck and donated equipment on display so kids can see what it takes to keep our families safe.  They also have an interactive “house” that allows them to teach kids about fire safety in the house, safe hiding, how to respond to TV bulletins, etc.

City Hall 101 – Your Police Department!             

Some Basic Stats & Info

A few community plugs…

City Hall 101 – Development Services

Your first question, like mine was, may be something like, “What the heck are Development Services and why do I care?

From thirty thousand feet, I would characterize the Development Services as one of two organizations that built to help protect residents, tax payers, and home owners/investors in this city. The partnering organization is Engineering Services, but I’ll get more into that in a later report.

Development Services consists of three major components:

Planning & Zoning (P&Z)

The Planning & Zoning team are forward-thinking strategists and day-to-day tactical analysts and workers. They generate and evaluate layers of detailed plans that look at the land mass of Frisco, annexation opportunities, thoroughfare maps, population density, demographics, retail maps, industrial maps, and last but not least, residential maps.

Planning & Zoning issues annual reports on demographics and monthly population reports. In addition, they present data changes and highlights to the City Council which present a risk or opportunity.

Random Facts:

Inspections & Health Service

With the volume of labor and management turn-over in the construction industry, there is a continuous need for education with builders and sub-contractors.

Combined with the fast growth in Frisco, the team has had to add personnel to ensure residents have minimal exposure, while keeping team members focused on quality, not quantity.

Random Facts:

Code Enforcement/Animal Control

Their role is self explanatory; make sure residents are following the codes that City Council and residents have put in place.

This group has a tough job keeping everyone happy, but not as tough as neighboring cities that have not had the foresight to lay out plans with builders and developers early on.

Frisco doesn’t let just anything get built. It has to be aesthetically appealing, safe, functional, and must have a distinct path to maintenance and long range sustainability.

 Random Facts:

Animal Control

Frisco does not have an Animal Shelter. And, while it doesn’t “feel” good to say that, the cost of these shelters is a significant ongoing tax burden. With good prevention, there is not a need for one.

The compelling data from all the hard work of these groups is that Frisco has one of the top ratios of Tax Rate to Property Values.  By this I mean that we have a lower tax rate then neighboring cities, but on the average, our property values are much, much higher.

A few of the cities in front of us include:

Folks, continue to enjoy your investment and know that the city has our interests in mind.  Combined with a city-conscious HOA and good neighbors, we can continue to support the city plan!

For the sake of full disclosure, I am just a guy that has moved to Frisco a couple of times, with a wonderful wife and daughter, who wishes to have a positive effect on the environment my daughter will grow up in.

All of the information I am sharing is from notes, observations, or from the speakers that took their time to teach at City Hall 101 every Monday night. There are no political agendas at play, just want to help others who are new the state, city, or neighborhood.