In 2016, the Texas Municipal League (TML) awarded the City of Sachse with a Municipal Excellence Award in the Communications Program category for cities under 25,000 in population, recognizing its innovative happy gram code compliance program. Katie Munson, code compliance officer, originated the idea as a way to more respectfully communicate with residents, defuse the awkwardness of enforcing the city's codes, and to increase voluntary compliance.
The size of a postcard, happy grams are cute and illustrative notices to residents who are in violation of certain codes. They are less formal and authoritative than traditional violation letters and door hangers. Instead of being penalty focused, the happy grams simply and respectfully remind people to be a good neighbor. The results of the program have exceeded expectations. Voluntary compliance rates have soared, and most importantly, residents feel respected while going through the code enforcement process. The new program has proved to be a win for residents, their neighbors, and the community as a whole.