Open, accessible county government our goal
by D. GARY DAVIS, Bradley County Mayor
Apr 16, 2013 | 300 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I often hear comments in the media about the need for government transparency and accessibility. Yet, most critics seem hard-pressed to point directly at any area of Bradley County government that isn’t open and above board.

My office has always had an open-door policy and citizens often come in unannounced and ask to see me. I am always happy to oblige if I am in the office.

Bradley County offers its citizens several ways to keep track of what their government is doing and how their tax dollars are being spent. The county’s website is one of the primary tools used to accomplish this.

If you have not visited the website I urge you to log on to www.bradleyco.net. You will find a wide variety of information which is designed to make it easier for you to conduct your business with county government.

The website is divided into five categories which include: Living, Licensing, Government, Departments and County Mayor. Each tab has a drop-down menu to let you select the information you need.

If you have an interest in the current Bradley County budget, simply click on the "Departments” tab, then click on “Accounting.” The entire county budget can be downloaded and printed if needed. Previous county budgets are archived on the site to allow anyone to see how their tax dollars were spent over a five-year period.

The mission of the accounting department is to provide quality financial expertise and information to elected officials, staff and citizens of Bradley County. This includes preparation and monitoring of annual departmental and divisional budgets, as well as payments, expenditures, reports and fiscal documents required by the county, state and federal governments. The county’s books are audited annually by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

The "Living” tab lets you access information about property taxes, voter information, the county recycling drop-off centers, links to schools, the Chamber of Commerce and more. The "Government” tab will provide links to websites for the city of Cleveland, Charleston, state of Tennessee and the County Commission.

The "Licensing” tab gets a lot of traffic from people who need information about marriage and business licenses, as well as driver’s licenses, car tags, and fish and game licenses. But the Licensing menu item that gets the most traffic is "Building Codes and Permits.” The staff in the building permit and inspection department work hard to provide you with all the information necessary to get you through the building permit process easily and efficiently. You will also find a helpful reading list as well as current county building codes for review before you begin the permit process.

If you need to contact one of the county departments, simply click on the "Contact Us” tab at the bottom of the home page. There are 26 phone numbers and email addresses that will put you in direct contact with personnel in each area, from Accounting to Veterans Services.

The newest addition to the county’s Internet capability is the wireless service at the Courthouse. Wireless access is now available to the general public and is proving to be especially beneficial to Realtors, attorneys and other professionals. The wireless service allows anyone to look up deed records or other important documents which are stored electronically at the Courthouse.

Please check out the county website. If you have feedback, I’d like to hear it. Log on to www.bradleyco.net and click on the "Contact Us” tab at the bottom of the page. I am always looking for ways to better serve the citizens of Bradley County.