By Betsy Dolan
For the third year in a row, Fort Bend County was awarded the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle “Gold” Award for displaying a high standard of financial transparency online. According to the Texas Comptroller’s office the award “spotlights cities, counties and school districts that open their books to the public, providing clear, consistent pictures of spending and sharing information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more information.”
Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert announced the news at the State of the County luncheon at Safari Texas Ranch on February 17. He said financial transparency is one of the county’s ongoing goals.
“We strive to make all of our information accessible to those that are interested in viewing it and we are proud to receive this recognition.” Hebert said.
The City of Richmond was also recognized, receiving the Comptroller’s Silver Leadership Circle Award for the second year in a row. The silver award honors those local government entities that are making progress in opening their books to the public so that taxpayers can see exactly where their money is going.
“As stewards of our city’s tax dollars, it is important to provide sound financial leadership to the City and our citizens so they know those funds are being used efficiently”, said Richmond City Manager Terri Vela.
The Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program started in December 2009 and awards designees with a certificate reflecting their Circle Award level: Gold, Silver or Bronze. Local government entities must show that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently by ensuring all decisions are made in the open, allowing citizens to review and question policymakers’ decisions, examine documents, root out inefficiencies and hold officials accountable for the way tax dollars are spent.