AP NEWS

Meet the new Katy city treasurer

March 18, 2019

In recent months the end of the raised dais in chambers at Katy City Hall featured an empty seat. On March 11, a new face filled the seat.

Andrew Vasquez, a former deputy director of finance for the city of Houston, started March 4 as the city’s treasurer/finance director. An eight-year resident of the city of Katy, he’s happy for the opportunity to work in the city where he lives.

He succeeds Becky Wilkins who left Nov. 26 to assume a position near Austin. City administrator Byron Hebert, the director of finance from 2000-14, had stepped in as treasurer in the interim.

What brought you to the city of Katy?

When I accepted my job in Houston, I was advised by friends who already lived in Houston to explore Katy because of the family atmosphere. My wife fell in love with Katy immediately and all other options were off the table. Katy seemed to be the best location to work in Houston and travel to San Antonio to visit family. I came to the area to work for the city of Houston and like previous positions I have held in large cities, I had a long commute. When the opportunity came up in the city I live in, I couldn’t pass it up. I now have a 2.3-mile commute. It’s a golden opportunity and I feel blessed. My wife works in administration for the Katy Independent School District. My younger son graduated from Katy High School and now attends Kansas State University where his older brother went.

What is your background?

I’m a certified public accountant in the State of Texas. I previously was certified in the State of California. I have a degree in accounting from San Diego State University. I have a little over 20 years in government experience.

What are the duties of finance director? What are the duties of treasurer?

As the Finance Director I manage the administration of the finance department which includes payroll, accounts payable, purchasing, utility billing, banking activities, information systems and tax collections. I prepare and review budgets, monitor revenue and spending trends and issue internal and external financial reports. I am also responsible for evaluating policies. As the Treasurer, I review investment and banking practices, direct investment functions for city funds as well as evaluate cash management practices.

As the area continues to grow and develop, does the job get more complicated with the creation of special taxing districts in addition to the school districts and municipal utility districts?

It’s not any more complicated than what I did in the past. I worked in the city of Houston with multiple TIRZs (tax increment reinvestment zones).

What are the positive aspects of the position?

The positive is the small city culture, a good network of employees who are motivated and the opportunity to see immediate results of hard work. The department has nine employees including myself.

What are the challenges?

There is always the challenge of getting over the learning curve with a new job. Disaster recovery requires diligence and attention on top of a full schedule of duties. Fortunately, I don’t expect it will be long before I’m up to speed and my experience will add value to the city.

What are your goals as treasurer/finance director?

My goal is to navigate the city through the challenges of rapid growth. It is important that the city maintains its excellent credit rating while recovering from Hurricane Harvey flood damage. I want to provide decision makers with good solid information for making decisions.

What do you do in your spare time?

That will be a new venture for me. I’m used to putting in quite a few hours at work and staying late just to avoid traffic. Being so close to home I’ll have additional time for leisure — to golf and spend more time with my family. I have an interest in classic cars as I own a 1965 Chevy truck. I have not had the opportunity to get to know or spend time with the classic car clubs in the area.

karen.zurawski@chron.com