As Mayor, I am tasked with a number of responsibilities, but the one I enjoy most is promoting Stephenville and letting folks around our state know just how special our wonderful city really is.

Recently, I and several folks from Stephenville had that opportunity during Stephenville/Tarleton State University Day at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. Several representatives of our city government, leaders from the SEDA, and TSU administrators, faculty, staff, and students met with a large number of our state’s elected officials, lawmakers, and staff members. 

Our message was always the same, asking for their help in ensuring that Stephenville gets as much bang for our taxpayers’ dollars as we possibly can and that our city get top consideration for special grant funds and economic development dollars that might be available as our city grapples with the multitude of problems associated with having a strong and growing economy and a fast growing and well-respected public university.  

Our delegation was well-received. In addition to being recognized by the members of both the Texas House and Senate, we were given a warm welcome by our own legislators—State Senator Pat Fallon (R, Prosper) and State Representative J. D. Sheffield (R, Gatesville), and Stephenville’s own Sid Miller—our state’s Commissioner of Agriculture.

Each discussed their personal commitment to work closely with us to see that our beautiful city be given top consideration for grants and other special funding programs so that we can manage our rapid growth without placing undue burden on our taxpayers.

Stephenville has already been awarded a $250,000 downtown revitalization grant by the Texas Department of Agriculture and we are working closely with the Sid Miller and his team to apply for matching funds for fire and rescue equipment through a special grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and administrated by the TDA. This so-called “F.A.S.T.” grant would match every dollar spent by the City of Stephenville on new fire and rescue equipment with $5,000 of grant money up to a total award of almost $1.5 million.

We think we have a real chance to be competitive as we apply for this grant and many others. Selling Stephenville and our unique way of life has never been hard, and now that we have state leaders and lawmakers who have expressed a willingness to stand with us as we work to ensure that our city receives every federal and state grant that we are entitled to, the job of promoting our great city has never been easier.

Doug Svien is the mayor of Stephenville. His column will run monthly in the Empire-Tribune.