From Smith County:
SMITH CO. (KYTX) - The Texas Comptroller's Office announced this week that Smith County is the recipient of their highest financial transparency award. Smith County is one of only 10 counties in the State of Texas to achieve the Platinum designation in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle, the newest and highest level of transparency recognized by the State Comptroller's Office.
According to the Comptroller's Announcement, this award is reserved for entities that are "raising the bar for open government at the local level."
County Judge Joel Baker, who serves as Chief Budget Officer for the County, says posting the County's check register online, making online videos of public meetings readily available and publishing the County's complete budget document on its website are just a few of the steps the County has taken to promote transparency and community involvement in County government.
"The citizens of Smith County are very involved and interested in what we do as stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. We want everyone to have access to our meetings and financial transactions from their home or office computer so they can stay updated and involved with the decisions that we make," Judge Baker said.
The Leadership Circle Award recognizes local governments across Texas that are striving to meet a high standard for on-line financial transparency through:
- opening their books to the public;
- providing clear, consistent pictures of spending; and
- sharing information in a user-friendly format to assist citizens in understanding how their tax dollars are spent.
Smith County received the Gold Level of the Leadership Circle Award for financial transparency in government for three previous years before the Platinum category was created in 2014. According to the Comptroller's Web site, "Platinum spotlights entities that go above and beyond providing financial transparency."
Smith County posts its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, Adopted Budgets, Debt Information, and the main operating and capital check registers online to provide the public with a clear overview of the financial transactions of the County. Weekly Commissioner's Court meetings are available to view online at smith-county.com and are open to the public, where financial issues are often discussed and voted on in open session.
For more information on the Leadership Circle Award visit the Texas Transparency Web site at http://www.texastransparency.org/Local_Government/Leadership_Circle/