A special state award given to the City of Gainesville was explained during Tuesday’s regular Gainesville City Council meeting.
City Manager Barry Sullivan said the city has attained the “Gold Leadership Circle Award” from Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs under its governmental transparency guidelines for posting key financial documents online.
This includes annual budgets, annual financial report and a check register — features added to the city website during the past few months. The state comptroller’s “leadership circle” spotlights local governments that are setting a high standard with their transparency efforts.
During the meeting, Sullivan navigated to the City of Gainesville website (www.gainesville.tx.us) and showed council the financial transparency link on the home page.
This leads to the page where the city’s financial documents can be viewed and/or downloaded. The city’s information posted online includes the current fiscal year budget and previous fiscal year budgets back to 2009/2010; comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR) 2008 through 2012; monthly check registers (October 2012 through January 2013); and summary payroll information by fund (October 2012 through January 2013).
Sullivan said the recent award is the top level of achievement recognition under the program.
“It’s one more step in showing what we’re trying to do,” he said, adding that being open about financial details is always to a city’s advantage. “The more eyes that are on it, the less likely stuff can happen that can put you in danger of risking your fiscal strength.”
Mayor Jim Goldsworthy credited the online system, a collaboration of efforts from Sullivan, city controller Mary Jarvis and finance director Dan Parker.
“A lot of entities hide their finances and we don’t want to be one of them,” he said Tuesday.
Other meeting highlights:
• Council appointed Bobby Balthrop to the Medal of Honor Board of Directors to complete an unexpired term through October 2014. Balthrop replaces Scott Richardson as the city representative on the board.
• Council declared certain city equipment to be surplus and approved sale of the surplus property through auction over the internet. City departments compiled a list of equipment no longer economical to operate and recommended sale of the equipment. Sullivan recommended approval of auction over the internet, using the firm of Renee Bates, which the city has used successfully for several years. Funds generated from sales of equipment will go back to the fund that provided for purchase of the equipment.
• Council approved submission of a grant application to the governor’s criminal justice division for funding in the amount of $21,120 to be used for purchase of an automatic license plate reader for the city marshal to locate people with warrants.