NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced 85 out of 95 counties have been awarded ThreeStar status. In addition, since the ThreeStar community development program began requiring eligible communities to create and maintain a County Audit Committee in January 2013, the number of counties with Audit Committees has increased substantially. As of March 2013, there were 32 audit committees around the state; as of July 2014, there are 93.
“The ThreeStar program is a vital component to our state’s overall level of success, providing counties with a proven roadmap for continued economic and community strength, which in turn helps Tennessee win new investment and jobs,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Tennessee has been recognized as the number one state in the nation for economic development and these audit committees support Governor Haslam’s overarching goal of making Tennessee the most efficiently run state on every level. I congratulate all of our ThreeStar counties and those communities who are taking the initiative to create Audit Committees and work toward achieving fiscal strength and efficient government.”
The Audit Committees are designed to help each county improve their financial management and reporting practices, and help ensure the implementation of good internal controls to prevent or detect fraud, a step towards achieving fiscal strength and efficient government.
“Audit Committees help each county improve financial accountability and the quality of services provided to its citizens,” Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Justin P. Wilson said. “This is a positive step toward achieving fiscal strength and efficient government. I commend TNECD for making the establishment of an audit committee part of the ThreeStar program.”
Annual participation in the ThreeStar program helps communities develop a strategy and a plan to address Governor Haslam’s “Five Pillars,” his priorities for public policy that include: jobs and economic development; fiscal strength and efficient government; public safety; education and workforce development; and health and welfare. The program encourages local community leaders, representing the five program areas, and Joint Economic and Community Development Boards to implement activities that will impact these quality of life issues—and therefore, their global competitiveness.
Benefits of certification include a four percent discount on the required match rate for state and federal grants administered by TNECD. Certified counties designated as Tier 2 and Tier 3 are eligible for an annual grant to serve as seed money for activities focused on improving at least one of the measured areas of the program: health and welfare, public safety, and education and workforce development. Additionally, cities located in a certified county are eligible to participate in the Tennessee Downtowns revitalization program.
The ThreeStar Program has also formed an Advisory Council consisting of 25 members representing six state agencies including: Comptroller of the Treasury; Safety and Homeland Security; Education; Labor and Workforce Development; Health; and Economic and Community Development.
To learn more about the ThreeStar program, visit http://www.tn.gov/ecd/threestar/.
Participating ThreeStar Counties: Anderson, Bedford, Benton, Bledsoe, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carter, Cheatham, Chester, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Crockett, Cumberland, Decatur, DeKalb, Dyer, Fayette, Fentress, Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hardin, Hawkins, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lake, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Maury, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Shelby, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sumner, Tipton, Trousdale, Unicoi, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Weakley, White, Williamson and Wilson.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Tennessee was named “2013 State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tn.gov/ecd. Follow us on Twitter: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.