MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) The Mobile Citizens and Budget Finance Advisory Board was formed by the city council, for the city council.
Their mission is to provide facts so the council can make sound financial decisions.
Paul Wesch is the executive vice president of the Mitchell Company, and he watches over your tax money.
"In the finance department, there are 88 employees, not all of them are CPAs or revenue professionals, but many of them are--the city council has exactly zero financial employees," said Wesch.
That's where the Mobile Citizens and Budget Finance Advisory Board steps in, for example, keeping an eye on spending habits that just don't make sense.
Councilwoman Gina Gregory calls their service invaluable.
"We have two assistants who work for seven people, but they are not finance people," said Gregory. "Having experts work directly with us helps us make better decisions, and of course when we make better decisions, the best decisions, that then translates into better things for our constituents."
There are five subcommittees that deal with everything from personnel to pensions, long-range planning to infrastructure.
"I do believe the best part of the ordinance is where it directs that the appointees do have some background in financial matters because if that were not the case, we could exist as simply mouthpieces for the council members who appointed us, and then likely, we'd have the same views on matters as the council and what would be the sense in that," said Wesch.
Gregory adds, "There is no agenda. We ask them to look at the information and present us with the facts, and again, they don't give us opinions unless we ask for them. They want to give us independent factual information about the city's finances."
LOCAL 15 News asked how the city is doing financially.
"I think we're doing OK," Wesch said. "There's plenty of revenue there. I'm not always sure the choice of revenue has been a wise one."
Translating details to plain English for council members is what the money watchers do.
The theory, informed council members equals informed decisions that ultimately benefit everyone.