Every year during the third week of March, “Sunshine Week” is celebrated in cities throughout America to promote transparency and open government. Originally launched in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors (now known as the News Leaders Association), “Sunshine Week” has grown into an enduring initiative.
Media organizations, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools, and other participants engage public discussion on the importance of open government through articles, blogs, public seminars, forums, and more!
“Sunshine Week” coincides with President James Madison's birthday and National Freedom of Information Day on March 16. Madison’s strong belief in the Bill of Rights, especially the freedoms of religion, speech, and of the press protected by the First Amendment, serves as key inspiration as well as a reminder that government agencies should be accessible and accountable to their constituents.
Madison believed that through the interaction of the government and its citizens, facilitated by a free press and open access to information, the government could be most responsive to the people it serves.
A proclamation was issued this week by Horseshoe Bay Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith to serve as notice to the public that the City of Horseshoe Bay will work diligently to continue to enhance the public’s access to government records and information, ensure local government activities are transparent to all stakeholders, and regularly communicate with citizens to keep them engaged and informed.
Some examples of how Horseshoe Bay has gone above and beyond for transparency, open government, and communication include the following:
- Receiving the Transparency Star Award from the Texas Comptroller for financial transparency
- Publishing the City Council regular meeting agenda in the Beacon a week prior to the meeting to inform citizens of city business
- Publishing Council Comments in the Beacon after every regular City Council meeting to inform citizens of action taken by Council
- Publishing a monthly community message from Mayor Clinesmith regarding current city activities (available through the POA as well as the city website: www.horseshoe-bay-tx.gov)
- Utilizing the CivicReady automatic notification system to keep citizens informed of emergencies
- Converting more than 30,000 records from paper to electronic format to make them more accessible to the public
- Publishing all agendas and minutes for City Council on the city’s website
- Holding special City Council meetings with realtors, builders and contractors, and POAs to inform and garner feedback on future changes
- Creating multiple volunteer opportunities to participate on boards, commissions, and committees to encourage citizen involvement in government activities and decisions
- Hosting a biannual Citizens Academy class to provide citizens with insight into the details of how local governing works in Horseshoe Bay
- Establishing many other daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual activities for the sole purpose of operating in the “sunlight” and keeping citizens informed and engaged.
We hope the citizens of our beautiful community know the City of Horseshoe Bay is committed to openness and transparency in all aspects of its operations and seeks to set a standard in this regard.