City Office: 254-826-5351

GREAT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY MAYOR MUSKA IN THIS WEEKS EDITION OF THE WEST NEWS.

With less than a month to go until the November 6, 2018 election I am encouraging everyone to get out and vote; not only in our local elections but also on the state and national level.

Unless you have attended council meetings or have personally worked in city government, you might not fully understand the policies and procedures of city government. With that being said, I would like to explain how the city operates. First and foremost the City of West like all municipalities, is directed and guided by what is referred to as the “Open Records Act” and all meetings are subject to the “Open Meetings Act”. What this means is that it is your right to view all records and attend all meetings which are subject to these laws. All of our financial records are available to anyone that asks through an open records request.

The City of West has a purchasing procedure in place and had for a number of years. Under the guidelines of this procedure all invoices are marked and paid for and secured in the administration office. Items that exceed $500.00 in value must have a purchase order issued in order to buy that item. Any non-budgeted item over $2,500.00 must not only have a purchase order, but it must also have council approval in order to proceed with buying that item. In the case of an emergency, some items are purchased and installed to keep city services in operation but all council members are advised of this purchase. Again the invoice and any matching receipts are on record and a list of all issued checks are submitted to the city council each month and they are voted on for approval.

The council has debated whether to use a time clock/electronic system to keep time verses our manual time sheets that have been used for many years. Overall the council decided to keep the manual time sheets because of cost and the restraints of employee accessibility. All employees on an hourly salary have time sheets and their time is verified by their supervisor for accuracy and both employee and supervisor sign off and payment for their time including overtime is calculated. These records are also kept and may be viewed by the public upon an open records request.

If you can’t make the council meeting you can look up what took place by reading the minutes that are posted every month preceding the meeting. Once the minutes are officially agreed to and voted upon by the council during the next month’s meeting they are posted on the city website www.cityofwest.com. Also posted on the city website are my mayor’s minutes, council meeting agendas, annual budget, and the financial audit. The financial audit is done by an outside auditor each year and is voted on by the city council upon completion.

The City of West is also reviewed by Moody’s Investors Service which researches every city with regard to their financial position. I am happy to report that for the first time since 2002 the city came in with a A3 rating as of this past week. Prior to the explosion the city had a Baa1 financial rating and after the 2013 explosion it dropped to a Baa2 with an outlook of negative. Two years later the outlook was changed to stable and the next year in 2016 they increased our rating to Baa1 with a positive outlook. The 2018 rating of A3 is the best financial rating this city has seen in years. The positive results that we received this year are due to the cities resiliency after the disaster and making improvements to city services along with keeping debts in control. Moody’s board of directors review the city financials, current and past budgets, audits for the prior years, all economic development activities both current and future, property tax revenues and values of homes among many other factors. Long story short, the city is in very good financial condition.

When I took office I came up with the Mayor’s minute article each month to expand the transparency and accountability of the city that I lead. Myself, along with the city staff try our best to perform this task.

As a whole I feel the city is very accountable to the citizens and taxpayers. If there was ever any question to the transparency of the financials or to allocations of funds; the city staff, council members or our city auditor would be the first to bring that to my attention and investigate. That has just not been the case. Is the city perfect? Well hell no, but I can tell you that in the past few years we have addressed and implemented many procedures and policies that have made our city more transparent and has put us in the best financial state that it has ever been in.

I wish you peace and good fortune.

Mayor Tommy Muska