Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson reminded local governments in a recent letter that they are required to draft and adopt their own debt-management policies by Dec. 31.

“If your governmental entity may need to borrow money after Dec. 31 … you should begin the process now to develop and adopt a debt-management policy designed to meet your needs,” Wilson wrote. “Whether you are connected with a county, city, industrial development board, utility district or other governmental entity… you need to have an adoption process that is open, transparent and allows for public input.”

Last December, the State Funding Board adopted a statement on debt management that directed governmental entities to adopt their own debt-management policies that reflect four principles for strong financial management.

The principles must include an understanding of transactions that are proposed, citizens must be given an explanation of what is being considered, conflicts of interest should be avoided, and all costs and risks of a debt offering should be disclosed, according to the statement.

Information about the state’s debt management requirements can be found a www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/sl/DebtManagement.asp.

The site also provides a link to resources available to local governments and districts in developing their policies.

Wilson said organizations are available to assist entities in training and developing their policies, including the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service and County Technical Assistance Service.

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