City Receives 2013 Gold Leadership Circle Award From Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The City of Huntsville Finance Department has received its fourth consecutive 2013 Gold Leadership Circle Award from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The award, which recognizes cities for “setting the bar with their transparency efforts,” is largely focused on the material made available through the City’s Web site which provides a clear, consistent picture of spending and shares information with the public that is easy understand and follow.

“This is an important recognition for the City, because it shows that our Finance Department is working continually to be transparent and provide financial information to interested citizens,” said Steve Ritter, Interim Finance Director. “This year, we met all of the major criteria and a majority of the minor criteria required by the Comptroller, earning us an overall score of 18 out of 20 possible points.

“We’re very proud of this accomplishment and look forward to improving further.”

According to the Texas Comptroller’s Web site, the City of Huntsville is one of only a handful of cities that received the Gold designation this year, and it is part of an even smaller group with consecutive Gold awards.

“This award is not just about our budget documents,” said Laurie O’Brien, Finance Administrator. “It’s about making every check issued posted for viewing, having our credit cards, monthly reports and financial reports online, and making our investments and even fuel costs available and easy to navigate.

“Our score has increased in large part because we developed a more user-friendly format, utilizing elements of our expanded Web site,”

Looking ahead to a potential fifth Gold designation, Ritter said the department will be focused on providing budget documents in a “raw format.”

“The first year we received this designation, it was more about having financial reports and credit cards, and then we expanded to include check registers, and just kept going from there,” he said. “Where we go from here is putting the budget out there in a format that can be downloaded and opened in a spreadsheet format, what they call a raw format budget.”

Budget documents, financial reports, tax information and other documents are available on the City’s Finance page. From the home page, scroll over “Departments,” then over “Finance,” and proceed to the desired link.

For more information, contact Ritter at (936) 291-5486.

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