financial accountability

We make your tax dollars count.

Children riding on the bike path

Mason has a high quality of life at low cost per resident

city budget

At the end of each year, City Council sets a budget for the city for the following year. The budget acts as a guide to spending throughout the year. It is a flexible plan that allows changes to be made during the year as needs or revenues change, yet is firm enough to provide the city staff with a basis on which to schedule projects and services. Revenue estimates, capital project lists, service levels, fuel and supply costs, benefits, and a host of other factors figure into the budget.

City employees continually work with the city manager and City Council to seek ways to conserve expenses with as little impact on services as possible. Our goal remains to serve you in the best and most economical way possible. We are pleased to provide you with the information found on this page.

mason: high quality of life at low cost per resident

“Quality of life” is a phrase often heard when discussing how cities are ranked on a “Top 10” or “Top 100” list. When deciding on rankings, the list maker often looks at public safety, green space, infrastructure (roads, sewer and water services, stormwater control, etc.), schools, neighborhoods, downtowns, public events, park amenities, cultural opportunities, and services provided by the local government.

Few would disagree that residents in Mason enjoy a high quality of life. The streets are safe and clean, seven parks provide a variety of recreational opportunities, roads are improved as necessity demands, water and sewer services are very reliable, schools are top-rate, neighborhoods and boulevards are attractive and well maintained, and public and cultural events provide a variety of entertainment opportunities.

Many of the quality of life items mentioned above would not be possible without real estate or income tax dollars to fund them. In Mason, top quality city services are provided with one of the lowest income rates in the tri-state area.

Rather than trying to compare parks and roads from community to community, a less subjective way to compare the value of your tax dollar is perhaps to look at the average dollars spent for each resident to provide those amenities. In other words, what is the cost per capita for city services?

Mason is on the low end of the spending per resident compared to seven neighboring cities. Through conservative forecasting and budgeting, careful use of resources, combining projects to conserve tax dollars, and other financial management practices, residents are receiving an extraordinary value compared to the rate of tax paid.

city continues stable financial outlook

Many cities and other local governments are faced with rapidly declining revenue and major reductions in public services due to the current recession. With strategic financial planning, conservative budgeting, and continued commitment to economic development, the City of Mason continues to have a stable financial outlook.

The City of Mason’s Popular Annual Financial Report represents an overview of the city’s governmental operations. City employees continue to find ways to contain operating expenses while limiting the impact on public services. Mason continues to be committed to have balanced budgets and to operate within the resources available.

During budget season, Mason City Council typically forecasts very conservatively. This strategy of predicting very moderate increases in revenues and holding expenses as low as possible has placed the city in a stable financial position. Over the years, many projects have been paid for with existing funds, reducing the need to issue debt. The city has a relatively low debt-to-income ratio. Further, a significant portion of the debt is at a fixed interest rate well below current market rates, protecting it from future increases as the market recovers.

In addition, a long-term, aggressive economic development strategy that has attracted a diverse and strong business community to the city has contributed immensely to the city’s financial strength and quality of life. These businesses generate 80% of the city’s income tax collection, which pays for many of the services that residents and employees of businesses enjoy.

These strategies, along with other factors, have maintained the city’s high Aaa credit rating from Moody’s. Credit ratings help investors determine the strength of their investment when the city sells bonds to finance capital improvements. The stronger the rating, the better the interest rate.

2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

CAFR 2014

2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

CAFR 2015

2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

CAFR 2016

 

city of mason’s open checkbook