Mission: Start By Opening the Door On What You Can
Chasing the Trifecta
The “Texas Transparency Trifecta” consists of annual budgets, Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports and check registers all housed online for public inspection. Only a handful of Texas cities have placed all three online.
Mission officials are working toward that goal, and only the check registers remain. Mission leaders contract with the Mission Economic Development Authority for website administration.
With eyes on the future, city leaders are also mindful of avoiding potential pitfalls of the information age, including protecting employees, individuals and companies who conduct business with the city from accidental release of confidential information when reports are published.
In lean economic times, Texas local governments often get creative in meeting public needs while maintaining a commitment to financial transparency. The city of Mission, for instance, contracts with the Mission Economic Development Authority (EDA) for website administration services. This reduces costs for the city while accelerating its transparency efforts.
Currently, city officials post the annual budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on the city's website. They would like to add other financial information including check registers and other monthly financial reports, as well as hire in-house staff to manage the content. That, however, will take time and money.
“The budget just doesn't allow us to hire right now,” says Janie Flores, Mission's finance director. “The contract with the EDA only allows two hours of website administration each month, so it will take us a while.”
Further, the city must develop and implement procedures to modify the electronic records generated by their accounting systems for posting on the website. It's an ongoing effort, but worth the time, Flores says.
“I'm proud of Mission's transparency efforts so far, and we remain focused on the future,” she says.
The city of Mission keeps copies of its budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report online for public inspection. Keep track of state revenue and spending, investments, stimulus funding and more at the Texas Transparency website.