The City of Mineral Wells will soon launch a webpage detailing and tracking its 2017 bond projects that the public will have access to.
“Being here as long as I have, I’ve heard the concerns about transparency,” Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan — who put together the mechanism — said. “This is a tool to serve [the council] and to serve every citizen of this community that pays taxes to give them the information that they expect and deserve.”
The webpage, which was discussed at Tuesday’s city council meeting, would track the projects’ status, the money spent and would update in real-time.
“Our intent is to make this thing user-friendly and understandable,” Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell said. “It’s not only for public view but for internal use and I never thought about something as wonderful as what I think this is going to end up being.
“Chief Sullivan — I can’t say enough good things about him — took what I wanted as something from more of a city manager’s perspective and created a public component to it. This is really special.”
In 2017, two of the three bond propositions were approved by voters — $3.96 million for utility projects, specifically an upgrade to the water main, and $7.5 million for streets and utility repairs. Voters rejected the proposal to renovate the former Bank of America building into a new city hall.
“It was monumental to pass a bond package in 2017,” Ward 1 Councilmember Jerrel Tomlin said.
Mineral Wells Mayor Regan Johnson suggested having photos of projects to include with the numbers.
“It’s a work in progress. We’re just kind of at a decision point where we need a little more input,” Sullivan said. “We’ll have a way where you can click on the job and it will give you a map or something that references where it is, how far it is, what the original budget number was for it, what was spent, and definitely a timeline for the work to begin.”
The council felt it was a great start.
“I think this is incredible for everyone because we have so many different projects happening in the city right now,” Tomlin said. “I know it’s a little painstaking to get through the center of town but everybody I’ve talked to says, ‘I love the crosswalks, I can wait in line for my turn.’ I think people do appreciate the progress that’s being made.”
The city suggested the page would be ready to launch in the next month or so.
“We want to make sure that every single number is exactly what it’s supposed to be — there are people in this city that will pick you apart over a penny and there’s not going to be any pennies that are unaccounted for in these projects before it rolls out to the public,” Criswell said. “I feel strongly about that and that’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t think it will be too long, but I need that 100% confidence.”