Budget Rhetoric

You may have heard the rhetoric last week that $20.0 million dollars had been found in Knox County. This seemed absurd to me. It was as if it was found in a show box inside the City-County Building. Whoever started this, I have my thoughts on who started it and the reason why is to attempt to make the County and in particular the county Mayor look bad. It will not work. Here is what I found out over the weekend and by the way I haven’t talked to Mayor Ragsdale.

1) The County knew where this $20.0 million dollars was, it wasn’t lost money that was discovered.

2) This money falls into a category unreserved / un restricted Fund balance. It builds up over time.

3) It would appear that now is an appropriate time to begin drawing it down.

4) This practice has gone on Forever with this county government and others.

5) This money grows because the County manages their accounts well, they manage their projects well, they bond at the appropriate time, they use the money to get better returns.

6) I have a friend in the mid-state area (of Tennessee) that was an elected official and is now finance director for a county. In that county they do not build schools, parks anything until the have the fund balance to pay cash for it.

I am glad that in Knox County does not work that way, if they did only school at a time would get built and it would take three times longer to build it. The new Hardin Valley High School would never get built.

This is a positive practice and one that produces positive results for Knox County and in particular positive results for the tax payers of Knox County. Great job by the County Mayors Finance Department.

Now, understand a few things, I am not an accountant nor a finance director. I am attempting to give you the best information that I can get. I am simply attempting to respond to what seemed like political rhetoric when I heard it.

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