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Transparency Stars

Debt Obligations Guidelines

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your entity's website to qualify for a Debt Obligations Transparency Star. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

House Bill 1378, passed in the 84th Legislative session, requires public entities to post certain debt information online. The Transparency Stars program recognizes local governments who go beyond legislative requirements in this area by providing debt information in a variety of formats.

Debt Information Summary

Post a summary table or listing separately from audits and financial reports that includes the following items for the most recently completed fiscal year, as well as a narrative overview with explanations of terminology for each:

  • Total outstanding debt obligations
  • Tax-supported debt obligations expressed as total and per capita amounts
  • Total revenue-supported debt obligations
  • Total lease-purchase or lease-revenue obligations
  • Historical bond election information that includes date of election, purpose, amount

Note that you may want to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete this section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Time trend for last five years showing total outstanding tax-supported and revenue-supported debt
  • Time trend for last five years showing inflation adjusted tax-supported debt per capita or per student

Note that you may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for Excel templates you may choose to use to complete required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

Post the following documents separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • Any documents created in compliance with HB 1378 on debt transparency
  • Document containing tax rates for current fiscal year
  • Link(s) to debt information in previous years adopted budgets dating back five years

Downloadable Data

Acceptable topics for posting include but are not limited to the following:

  • Time trend for total outstanding tax-supported and revenue-supported debt going back at least five years
  • Issue-by-issue listing including principal amount of each outstanding debt obligation

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Link to Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Debt at a Glance tool
  • Link to Bond Review Board local government debt data
  • Upcoming bond election information that includes date of election, purpose, and amount
  • Local elected official contact information

Get the word out: