Town of Westlake Receives Texas Comptroller's Transparency Star Award For Its Debt Obligations Information
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in 2016 launched the Transparency Stars program, recognizing local governments for going above and beyond in their transparency efforts. Opening financial books to the public, providing clear and consistent pictures of spending, and sharing information for taxpayers in a user-friendly format are some of the reasons the Town of Westlake was one of the first 12 cities to recently earn the prestigious 2017 Texas Comptroller’s Transparency Star for Debt Obligations Reporting!
The program recognizes government entities that accomplish the following:
- Opening their books not only in their traditional finances, but also in the areas of contracts and procurement, economic development, public pensions and debt obligations.
- Providing clear and meaningful financial information not only by posting financial documents, but also through summaries, visualizations, downloadable data and other relevant information.
Congratulations to Jaymi Ford; Finance Supervisor and Melinda Brown; Accounting Technician II for preparing this award-winning website for the Town of Westlake!
As part of our continuing commitment to transparency and accountability to our community, the Town of Westlake is maintaining summary information about its outstanding long-term debt.
Outstanding debt is comprised of direct obligations and contractually obligated debt from other entities. Direct obligations consist of debt issued by the Town and secured by levied taxes or Town revenues. Contractually Obligated Debt is debt issued by other Entities that the Town is obligated to pay and calculated in accordance to contractual provisions.
1. Debt Obligation Summary
The following summary data is from the Government-Wide Statement of Activities in the Town's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016.
The Town of Westlake strives to place an emphasis on transparency. it is our commitment that the Town's Debt Obligation information is readily accessible and available for our citizens. The Town has opened their books to the public while providing clear, consistent pictures of spending and sharing information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more detail. Citizen involvement, transparency and fiscal responsibility are the cornerstones of the Town of Westlake's Finance Department.
The Town of Westlake holds an AAA/stable bond rating from Standard & Poor's. Their assessment reflects the Town's historically strong finances and management, fund reserves in excess of 50% of General Fund expenditures, and Westlake's participation in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area economy. A strong rating allows Westlake to keep borrowing costs low.
2. Tax-Supported and Revenue-Supported Debt
3. Tax-Supported Debt Per Capita
4. HB1378 Documents
The 84th Legislature passed HB 1378 to increase the transparency of local government debt. Under Local Government Code §140.008, political subdivisions, including counties, cities, school districts, junior college districts, special purpose districts, and other subdivisions of state government must annually compile their debt obligation data from the preceding fiscal year.
6. Operating Budgets
The Town's annual budget is prepared in the context of a five-year financial forecast. The Town's budget is allocated by fund and is designed to provide a clear picture of adopted spending, allocation of financial resources, and priorities. In addition to a fund format, the budget is the beginning of efforts to show the allocation of the Town's resources in concert with the Town's strategic planning efforts. The budget outlines revenues and expenditures based on the Town's fiscal year, beginning on October 1st and ending on September 30th.
General Obligation Bonds
General obligations bonds (GO bonds for short) are debt instruments issued by state and local governments to provide funds for the acquisition and construction of major capital equipment and facilities and serve as a tool to raise funds for projects that will not provide direct sources of revenues (roads and bridges, parks and equipment, etc.). General obligation bonds are unique in that they are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuer, including the power of the municipality to tax its citizens. The ability to back up bond payments with tax funds is what makes GO bonds distinct from revenue bonds, which are repaid using the revenue generated by the specific projects the bonds are issued to fund. General obligation bonds must be approved by vote of the general population prior to issuance and require the City to compute, at the time other taxes are levied, the rate of tax required to provide (in each year bonds are outstanding) a fund to pay interest and principal at maturity.
Certificates of Obligation
Certificates of obligation are grequently used to fund capital improvements not anticipated at the time of the latest bond election and are generally short-term in nature. Certificates of obligation allow certain cities, counties and hospital or health districts to issue debt without voter approval (unless a referendum is petitioned) and are backed by the tax revenue, fee revenue, or a combination of the two.
9. Other Information
This link will take you to the Town's Staff Directory page
This link will take you to the Town's Council page. It contains meeting information, agendas and minutes, contact information for the Mayor and Council Members as well as other valuable resources.