News Flash

General

Posted on: September 20, 2022

Mayor Kilbride's 100-day Report

council

It has been a little more than 100 days since I was sworn in as Mayor of Westlake and I would like to thank all of you for your role in ensuring a smooth transition. Since the general election in May, the Council Members, Town staff, and I have been working hard to make sure that the Town continues to provide the highest level of municipal services. Typically, local governments become somewhat inactive in July, but this year our Town staff, newly elected officials, and incumbents have sustained a heavy workload. 

Key Accomplishments of the First 100 Days in Office

  • As you are aware, the Town Council decided to separate the Town Manager and Superintendent positions, per the original staffing design of the Town and Westlake Academy. The separation of these positions has already yielded improved efficiency. It has provided the ability to streamline hiring decisions, identify deficiencies in policies and procedures, and improve lines of communication and reporting. We now have a school run by academic professionals and a Town managed by the highest caliber of municipal staff.
  • Entrada’s lack of progress over the past 10 years has limited the Town’s tax revenue as well as developer funds earmarked for Westlake Academy. Through increased pressure from the Mayor, Council Members, and Town staff, financial contributions from the developer have increased from $540K from Entrada’s inception in 2013 to an additional $1.5 million since the general election in May. We thank the developer and all staff who helped make this possible.
  • Town Council approved Westlake Academy’s budget, which saw pay increases for teachers, increases in coach stipends, and enhanced funds for athletics. All open positions have been filled.
  • Town Council also approved the municipal budget, with pay increases for all staff, additional staffing positions within the Town’s Finance Department, as well as a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) and Nurse for Westlake Academy. All of this was achieved while maintaining the same tax rate for residents.
  • I have spent considerable time meeting with local school superintendents (Keller, Southlake, Northwest ISD), city officials, as well as local police and fire chiefs. I continue to seek their input on how we can work better together and how the Town of Westlake can best utilize all resources available to it.
  • I continue to meet with many corporate groups within Westlake, including Deloitte, Hillwood, Schwab, and Fidelity. I am grateful for their ongoing support and I look forward to working with them in the future as they continue to expand their footprints throughout Town. I look forward to meeting with the remaining corporate groups over the coming months.
  • Since the end of April, all Town Council meetings have been broadcast live and archived. While residents are encouraged to attend public meetings, they can also see what is being discussed, in real-time, from any web-enabled device. We will continue to live stream and archive all public meetings in line with our promise to provide a more transparent government. You can find the link to those meetings here
  • We recently welcomed new members to Town Council, Planning and Zoning, and the Westlake Academy Foundation. Wherever possible, in-person or video interviews were conducted to find the best fit for each. We intend to improve upon the process in the future.

Pending Matters

  • Several weeks ago, I undertook a review of Entrada and, more specifically, the Public Improvement District (PID) fund that the prior Town Council had approved, to finance the horizontal infrastructure for the developer. Several items to note:
  • The PID issued $26.3 million in bonds, secured against Entrada property tax collections. After fees, capitalized interest, and bad debt reserves, the PID netted only $17.9 million.
  • The “cost” of the PID is of concern, as well as our ability to audit the infrastructure expenditures.
  • The original administrator of the PID was removed in 2016 after the Town of Westlake discovered that it was an affiliate of the developer.
  • The bulk of the financing for Entrada was derived from EB-5 financing, a rather opaque funding structure that offers visas to foreign investors in return for investment. This funding structure was approved by the prior council. We are monitoring this funding mechanism very closely.
  • The Town of Westlake’s auditors resigned in May in the first year of their five-year contract renewal citing that the managing partner moved to another location and the firm could no longer retain the Town as a client. The Director of Finance retired shortly after that and this position has already been filled by an appropriately credentialed individual, and sufficient funding has been allocated to staff current vacancies. The active goals of the Finance Department are to enhance internal controls and efficiencies and to strive for excellence in transparency.

Upcoming

  • The Town of Westlake continues to work with Deloitte on the expansion of its campus. This expansion should bring additional revenue from permitting fees and taxes.
  • The Town of Westlake is working with Entrada on the opening of two potential restaurants in the next few months. We are also revisiting road plan mobility by coordinating requests from the Fire Chief to improve safety. I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue asking the difficult questions while promoting transparency at all levels of government. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns by calling 941-275-1284 or emailing me at  skilbride@westlake-tx.org.

Sincerely,

Sean Kilbride

Mayor of Westlake

 

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