Have you ever tried to rate an employee’s performance without seeing them work? Worse yet, what if you had to evaluate them without seeing most of their work product? For some voters, that is the task they have been presented with in the past in trying to vote for candidates for city council in Jersey Village.
Because of your busy schedule, many of you aren’t able to make most Jersey Village City Council meetings. When you have a demanding job and an active family, it can be difficult to get away for a few hours on a Monday evening to watch your elected officials make decisions that affect your community. I ran for office in order to make your government more accessible, even if life gets in the way now and then.
Streaming Jersey Village City Council Meetings Live Online
I committed from day one of my campaign to advocate for broadcasting meetings of the Jersey Village City Council online. After I was elected, I worked closely with our city manager to identify funding for this project. In November 2017, the city council unanimously approved my request to broadcast city council meetings online. Best of all, the funds used to purchase the equipment for broadcasting the meetings online will come entirely from cable franchise fees. This means we were able to accomplish this without taking away any resources that could have been used for other purposes such as police, flood mitigation or parks.
Today, our citizens are able to watch every regular city council meeting from the comfort of their own home. Archives of these meetings can also be viewed by clicking here.
I have also worked with our city staff to explore ways to open up the city’s financial data to citizens so they know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent. Since I joined city council, we have successfully received recognition for four out of the five areas under the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Transparency Stars program which sets a standard above and beyond the legal minimum for making financial information available online. Only 11 cities in Texas have achieved this level of recognition for financial transparency.
We have successfully added to the existing data available on the city’s website by posting the check register for the City of Jersey Village online. Using this data, you can track how every penny of taxpayer money is spent. Moreover, the city budget is available both in PDF and Excel format and more information about our city pension program is available for taxpayers to review.
“Jersey Village should be congratulated for its ongoing commitment to greater public trust. This effort achieves the goals set by our Transparency Stars program. Public pension transparency is increasingly important to Texas taxpayers. With this achievement, Jersey Village has shown itself to be a leader in responsible fiscal management and has taken an important step toward improving access to essential information.” – Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar
I am continuing to work with our city manager to find ways to make it easier for citizens to determine precisely how their tax dollars are being spent. You deserve to have this information readily available, and you shouldn’t have to be a government accountant to understand what it all means. I am committed to making that a reality.
Providing Better Notice to the Public of Pending Actions
As a member of City Council, I have worked continuously to improve the timeliness and depth of information provided to our citizens. While state law requires an agenda for public meetings to be posted 72 hours prior to the start of the meeting, I believe our agendas should be posted as far in advance as possible. This would give citizens a greater opportunity to research the issues before coming to meetings.
Since I began pressing in 2016 for greater transparency in how our city council operates, city staff has adopted a new practice of posting online the council “meeting packets” usually distributed to city council meetings. This allows ordinary citizens to easily examine the same documents as our city council members prior to council meetings.
I am Working Tirelessly to Keep You Informed
Finally, aside from seeking changes in how our city government itself provides information to citizens, there is one thing I am doing personally to improve transparency and communication in our city – I have used this very website and my Facebook page to ensure you are kept up to date on what our City Council is doing. While our city staff works hard to post information on the city website, I am continuing to provide all of you with more in-depth information on the issues facing our city on a regular basis.
Recently, I began holding occasional town halls on Facebook Live to discuss our city government and to answer your questions during the live video broadcast. Click here to visit my Facebook page and find out when the next town hall will be held.
Through the use of modern technology, I am confident that our city government will be more transparent about the decisions it is considering and the actions it will take in the future. We have to make an effort to reach out to all of our citizens, not simply the ones who have the time to attend monthly City Council meetings.