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Online access to line item transfers increases transparency

Taxpayers can more easily see how their money is being used

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 27, 2010) -- In a continuing effort to increase transparency and accountability to taxpayers, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced Wednesday that departments’ line item transfers, approved monthly by commission, will now be available for review online.

“I was serious when I promised transparency in Knox County Government, and we’re going to keep adding more of it wherever we can,” Mayor Burchett said. “This is a situation where Commissioner Jeff Ownby approached me with a simple question – why don’t we put these line item transfers online so the public can see them – and we responded.”

Line item transfers give county departments and elected officials a degree of flexibility within their budgets. Officials can seek approval to adjust spending categories within the budget already approved by Knox County Commission. They can be viewed by visiting http://www.knoxcounty.org/finance.

A few days after Commissioner Ownby made his suggestion, Chairman Mike Hammond asked the same question during a recent Knox County Commission meeting. Both Commissioners indicated that adding this level of transparency should be an easy process. The Mayor agreed and directed Knox County Finance Director John Troyer to work with the county’s Information Technology Department to get the information onto the County’s Web site.

“I won the 4th District race on a platform of openness and transparency, and this is a good example of how commission and Mayor Burchett can work together to bring those two things to Knox County taxpayers, while restoring the public’s trust in Knox County,” Commissioner Ownby said.

Line item transfer documents are generated each month to be presented to commission, publishing them online is an easy and efficient next step. The transfers were formerly approved by the finance committee, but they are now part of the new commission’s regular agenda.

“I want to be sure taxpayers can go online to be certain that their money is being spent in an efficient way and is being used to ensure good service,” Mayor Burchett said.

 

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