January 2023 Newsletter Extra


Message from Mayor Suzanne de Leon


Happy New Year to all!

Your City Council and Staff were very busy in 2022 and a lot of accomplishments were made.  Along with many meetings and discussions regarding the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Strategic Planning for the City and EDC, partnership with Wonderland of the Americas, Finance Committee Meetings, retirement of Fire Chief Brock Ward and new Fire Chief Thomas Marroquin appointed, many police officer promotions/recognitions/new hires, and approving a balanced budget, I also want to share some other highlights of 2022:


  • Hillcrest Drive design phase began. 
  • Discussion and planning for the Neighborhood Watch Program.


  • Project budget approved for reconstruction of 300 block of Crestview Drive (from Leisure to Hillcrest) for Community Development Block Grant application. Construction will be in completed in three phases.


  • Resolution approved to distribute funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) after citizen input.
  • Resolution approved for Pleasant Drive reconstruction.
  • Directive to staff to revamp City’s Newsletter and reduce it to a 4-page monthly newsletter.


  • Amendment to the Project Budget approved to increase funding to purchase handheld radios and dispatch consoles.
  • Police Department received two new Tahoe’s and order placed for two more for next year.


  • Firefighters discussed the planning of a Citizen’s Fire Academy for our residents and businesses. 
  • Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board of Directors reappointed for one- and two-year terms.
  • Councilwoman Cantu appointed as Mayor Pro Tem until May 2023.
  • Discussion of un-branding Wonderland of the Americas.  It is no longer a “mall” but a mixed-use facility with medical and dental services, retail shopping, entertainment, etc.


  • Updates and discussion regarding the Strategic Plan, EDC Strategic Plan, Park/Trail Master Plan, street reconstruction projects and EPA Brownfields.


  • Public Hearing to discuss redevelopment of Siesta Inn & Suites.  Approval by Council.
  • Approval to provide one time salary supplement to Staff.
  • Discussion to create a committee to plan and organize the City’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in 2023.
  • Two fantastic Jazz Fest Concerts held in July.


  • FY2022 -2023 Annual Budget unanimously approved.
  • Ad Valorem Property Tax Rate of $0.583 for every $100 valuation approved to support City services.  This approved tax rate will raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $152,156.  This tax rate has remained the same for the past five years.
  • Acadian Ambulance contract renewed.  No additional cost to the City.


  • Presentation by City Attorney regarding Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City and the Balcones Heights Police Officer’s Association. After discussion, City Council approved the Agreement.
  • Expansions at Wonderland to include UT Health Science Center and Woodlawn Theater (new name will be Wonder Theater).


  • EDC By-Laws amended and approved by City Council.
  • Congratulations to Student City Leaders for a Day 2022

Mayor – Paloma Ortega

Mayor Pro Tem  – Matthew Chairez

City Administrator – Anderson Davis


  • Action to adopt a Resolution on the Continuation of Crime Control and Prevention District.  Public hearings will be held to consider adding a referendum to the May 2023 Election Ballot to seek the continuation of the BHCCPD for a period of twenty (20) years.
  • Action to adopt Resolution for the assignment of Solid Waste Municipal Franchise from C-6 Disposal Systems to Republic Services to provide solid waste collection and disposal services to the City of Balcones Heights.
  • Action to authorize replacement of security cameras at the Balcones Heights Justice Center.


  • Updates Pending

Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous, and safe 2023.  


Shop Balcones Heights!



Proposed changes to the side setbacks for residential side setback requirements for accessory buildings.


The Board of Adjustment has experienced an increase in requests for variances for the placement of accessory building (such as sheds and garages) closer to the side setback than the currently required 10 feet from the side lot line and ten feet from any other street line.  At the request of city council, staff has been asked to present to the Planning and Zoning Commission amending language to consider reducing the side setback to 5 feet.  The Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the Justice Center, 3300 Hillcrest Drive to seek input from residents and to make a recommendation to the city council. 

The Balcones Heights Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a Public Hearing Tuesday, January 17, 2023; 6:00 PM at the Justice Center, 3300 Hillcrest Dr., to consider reducing the residential side setback requirements for accessory buildings from 10’ to 5’. Resident are encouraged to attend and provide comments. Contact Janet Thelen, Director of Community Development, 210.957.3545 or jthelen@bhtx.gov with any questions.

The City Council will hold a second public hearing on this matter at the regular council meeting on Monday, January 23, 2023. The council will consider the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the comments provided by the citizens.  Citizens are encouraged to participate in the public hearings. 


Balcones Heights Election Information
Want to serve your City? Learn more.
Economic Development Corporation Special Meeting
Wednesday, January 25, 2023; 5:30 PM; Justice Center
Help keep the city safe!
Learn more about the Balcones Heights Neighborhood Watch Program.