The prestigious award is presented by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. Bradley County has received this award consistently since 2009.
The Government Finance Officers Association established the Budget Awards Program in 1984 to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the very highest quality. The documents should also reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the Government Finance Officers Association’s best practices on budgeting. Local governments that meet these benchmarks are recognized for their success in achieving that goal.
In notifying me of the award, GFOA Director Stephen Gauthier said, “The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting and represents a significant achievement by Bradley County. It reflects the commitment of the county and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting.” Gauthier pointed out that Bradley County is one of just 21 local governments in Tennessee to receive the award for 2012.
The award is the result of a lot of hard work by County Finance Director Lynn Burns and her staff. They work very hard to prepare a comprehensive county budget each year and it is rewarding to see our efforts acknowledged once again by the people at GFOA.
In order to receive the award, Bradley County had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The guidelines are designed to serve as a policy statement, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. County budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories to qualify for the award. Gauthier says they must also meet the highest standards of transparency, including a constructive “spirit of full disclosure.”
In addition to GFOA’s stamp of approval, Bradley County finances are also audited each year by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office. State officials spend about four to five months in the County Finance Director’s offices poring over the county’s financial records. As in years past, the comptroller’s report confirms that Bradley County qualified as a low-risk auditee.
It is good to have independent confirmation from two different sources that Bradley County’s finances are in good shape. This is reflected in excellent bond ratings of Aa2 and AA- from Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s. Moody’s cited, among other things, the county's solid financial position with a history of conservative budgeting of revenues and expenses, sizable Debt Service Fund reserves, stable tax base and a manageable debt burden.
As county mayor, I am very pleased with both auditors’ report and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. They confirm that Bradley County’s accounting and reporting standards are current and something to be proud of as we continue to look for ways to be more efficient with your tax dollars and tighten our controls.
I am proud of the financial position Bradley County is in as we continue to weather the nation’s economic storm. We have tremendous resources, the right location, good schools and some of the world’s greatest people. By working together we will continue to lay out a road map for our community’s future.