The Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce (FACC) hosted the 2014 Fulshear State of the City Address by Mayor Tommy Kuykendall on Friday, December 5th, 2014. With Christmas music for the event provided by the Lone Star Symphonic Band, the event was attended by over 500 of the area’s most influential business and government leaders.
Randy Stacy, Chairman of the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed guests and introduced the morning’s activities. Ty Kuykendall led the invocation. The LCISD Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the “Colors”. Terry Crockett and the Huggin’s Elementary Choir led attendees in a musical rendition of “The Pledge of Allegiance” and the “Texas Pledge of Allegiance”.
It happened that December 5th was a special day for Mayor Kuykendall as he was celebrating his 48th Birthday. Randy Stacy invited Mayor Kuykendall, along with the Mayor’s wife Rhonda, their son Ty, and Mayor Kuykendall’s mother to the front of the stage. Randy then led the group in singing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song in the Mayor’s honor.
Randy Stacy continued the birthday moment by asking the Kuykendalls to join him on the stage. Rhonda and Ty Kuykendall then presented the Mayor with a quilt that Rhonda had made using t-shirts that represented the businesses in Fulshear. This was followed by the presentation of a birthday cake to the Mayor.
During his introductory remarks, Mr.Stacy presented an overview of Mayor Kuykendall’s community involvement from the time he moved to Fulshear in 2000. This included his election as Mayor in 2010 as well as Mayor Kuykendall’s prior service on the Fulshear Planning Commission from 2002 through 2010. Mr. Stacy went on to note that the Mayor currently serves as President of the Fulshear Development Corporation. Tommy’s slogan “Fulshear deserves the best” has been the model for his service to the community.
Mr. Stacy continued his introduction citing the Mayor’s public school education at LCISD as well as his graduation Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston. He also discussed the Mayor’s service within his community as well as in his profession as a Civil Engineer.
Randy Stacy also provided an overview of Mayor Kuykendall’s family including his twenty-seven year marriage to his wife Rhonda who is also quite involved in volunteering, strengthening child abuse laws and pursuing her photography career as well as serving within their church.
Mayor Tommy Kuykendall began his presentation by thanking the group for attending the meeting saying “To have a 48th birthday and to share it with 500 of your closest friends for breakfast, this is phenomenal.” He went on to thank his wife Rhonda and everyone that made it possible. The Mayor thanked the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting the event. He specifically thanked FACC board members Rebecca Hafner and Tricia Wright for organizing the event.
Saying that he was “truly humbled each time he has the opportunity to…represent the City of Fulshear” Mayor Kuykendall acknowledged that “the city doesn’t run itself alone or with a single individual.” With that, the Mayor recognized each member of the City Council by name calling them “instrumental partners” and “supportive of the vision and the direction that we are taking the city.”
The Mayor also recognized City Administrator C.J. Snipes and the various department heads and staff that work for the city. He compared them to “jugglers” in their handling of the various situations they are called on to handle with strength or with gentleness through their dedication to the city.
In an intentional surprise deviation from the morning’s agenda, Mayor Kuykendall interrupted his remarks to present a special award known as “Fulshear’s Impact Award” to Cheryl Stalinsky, Fulshear’s Economic Development Director. Prior to the actual presentation, the Mayor presented a strong overview of Mrs. Stalinsky’s numerous accomplishments during her tenure working as an advocate for the City having gone “above and beyond for branding and marketing a positive image for the City of Fulshear.” He noted that she is known as “the face of Fulshear” through her planning of the many community events as well as her service representing Fulshear at the various conferences and conventions.
The Mayor announced that in honor of Mrs. Stalinsky’s accomplishments, that he would name her as the Grand Marshall for the Fulshear “Rock n Roll Christmas and Festival of Lights Parade.” During her comments, Cheryl Stalinsky thanked the attendees saying that “this has been the most wonderful time in my life and it’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever done because I love the Mayor, I love Fulshear, and I love all the people I work with and I love all of you. I’ve made a lot of good friends and thank you so much.”
Returning to his agenda for the morning, the Mayor provided a brief overview of Fulshear’s history. He pointed out the while the room had around 500 in attendance, when he took office, the entire population of Fulshear could “fit in this room.” He continued saying “Now we’ve grown over 744% bringing our current population to over 6800 residents within the city limits.” He then compared Fulshear to its humble beginnings in 1888.
Pointing out that “Fulshear has a history of embracing change”, Mayor Kuykendall pointed out some of what Fulshear had accomplished in the past year
- The City Limit spans approximately 11 square miles
- The Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) encompasses another 45 square miles
- The ETJ stretches from I-10 at the north to the Brazos River to the south
- Fulshear surpassed 5000 population in January of 2014 which allowed the ETJ to expand from 1/2 mile to 1 mile.
- Fulshear began work on developing the city’s “Home Rule Charter” to govern the city’s future growth
- Fulshear has annexed 1000 acres into the ETJ along I-10 at Igloo Road and will share sales tax revenue through a “Strategic Partnership Agreement” (SPA)
- Fulshear ha adopted a “Comprehensive Plan” to ensure orderly development into the future
- Update to the city’s “Major Thoroughfare Plan”
- Housing Starts and strong commercial activity are the key to growth
- Fulshear finished FY 2014 with general fund reserves of $5.4 million
- Reduced the city’s ad valorem tax rate by 1.8 cents to 17.9 cents per $100 valuation
- Fushear’s ad valorem tax rate is the lowest for any city in Fort Bend County that collects a tax
- Two Fulshear-area communities, Cross Creek Ranch and Firethorne, made the top 20 list of best selling master planned communities in the nation.
- Cross Creek Ranch, ranked #12, sold over 400 in 2014
- Firethorne, ranked #20, sold nearly 350 homes in 2014
- Overall, 4800 homes have been added since these subdivisions were added several years ago.
- Average home sales price in Fulshear and the ETJ is $375,00
- In Cross Creek Ranch the average new home sales price is $490,000
- Churchill Farms is expected to complete their project two years ahead of schedule
- There are two Exemplary School Districts in Fulshear
- KISD opened Randolph Elementary exceeded enrolment with 850 on their first day of school
- LCISD is slated to open Churchill Fulshear High School and Dean Leaman Junior High, Expected enrollment of over 4000 students.
- Recruiting Commercial Development to increase sales tax revenue
- Fulshear Magazine Debuted in 2014 and helps to sell Fulshear as Fort Bend County’s Premier address
- Commercial Growth adds 360,000 sqft of additional retail space added
- HEB in the Market at Cross Creek Ranch
- Demand for permits
- With over 1000 building inspections per month, introduced MaintStar to improve permitting and inspections
- Police Department added new officers, equipment and vehicles
- K-9 Officer Belle is a favorite of the community
- New Satellite Police Station
- Fulshear PD Facebook Page
- KC and Sparky audio animatronic mascots representing the Police Department and Fire Department
- Great Working Relationship with Emergency Services District #4
- Unique, Small-Town Atmosphere
- Keep Fulshear Beautiful, semi annual cleanup and recycling events
- Coordinating cleanup with Forever Fulshear
- Eagle Scout Fence Project at Irene Stern Park
- Community Garden planted by local Girl Scouts at Fulshear City Hall
- Water Conservation Education by NFBWA
- Butterfly Garden Dedication
- Battery Disposal and Collection at Farmer’s Market
- BBQ by Jerome McKinney
Pointing out the community events are key to encouraging and promote small-town atmosphere, Mayor Kuykendall quoted an email that said “The people are the secret sauce. They’re the ones that differentiate the experience.” The Mayor went on to say that another way to maintain small town character and charm is to keep open the lines of communication between the city and the citizens. He went on to say that the city is encouraging such communication using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, the city has added face-to-face interactions through monthly “Fulshear in Focus” and “Coffee with a Cop” events.
Speaking of the Future, the Mayor said Fulshear’s focus will continue to be foundational building blocks including regional water and sewer inside the city limits and in the ETJ. The city has approved a study that will help determine the locations for regional facilities in an effort to expand the city’s capacity to include a new 250,000 gallon capacity water storage tank to be located near Huggins Elementary School. Also, the city is planning a short-term expansion to the sewer plan located near city hall.
The city is preparing to develop a comprehensive drainage study and plan. This should help to protect the existing areas of town that were developed before drainage standards were in place.
FM 1093 is set to be upgraded in two phases over the next few years. Phase 1 is anticipated to be bid in August of 2015. Construction on phase 2 is anticipated to begin in 2016.
The Fulshear Parkway is expected to be a six-mile-long, 4-lane boulevard that will connect FM 1093 near Cross Creek Ranch to I-10 at Pederson Road near Katy. It will be built as a public-private-partnership through the “Fulshear Parkway District”. This will open up 7000-8000 acres of land for development. Road Construction will begin soon to rehabilitate 60% of Fulshear’s roads. Also, two major road projects are on Fort Bend County’s Mobility Bond Program.
According to the Mayor, the City will begin working to create its own “Home Rule Charter”. He hopes to have a “Home Rule Charter Commission” in place that will achieve three criteria:
- Respect the History of Fulshear
- Share the goals in the vision in the Comprehensive Plan
- Understand the fiscal needs to balance commercial and industrial development along with the residential development
The Mayor began his closing by saying there was not enought time to discuss other issues such as the need for City operational improvements, planning for a new City Hall facility, City ordinance codification and possibly more developments that are under negotiation.
Mayor Kuykendall turned his closing comments to the creation of the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce. He called it “The largest business community accomplishment this year”. The Mayor noted the group’s creation less than one year ago in January of 2014. He went on to say that the Chamber has a Board of Directors in place “that has the determination, the vision, and they’ve put forth the hard work to make it a success.” He commended the board for their choice of Executive Director Don McCoy, saying “I’m convinced that he is the right person, at the right time for the right organization.” He continued with positive words about the Chamber and the synergies created by it.
Mayor Kuykendall closed the meeting by calling Fulshear “Fort Bend County’s premier address” and thanking the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting the “State of the City” meeting. He went on to note that many in the room have “played a real significant part in Fulshear’s history and in our continuing transformation.” He then thanking everyone for attending and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
Here is a gallery of photos from the Fulshear State of the City 2014. Photos are all by Ken Stalinsky