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Finance Functions

One of the primary responsibilities of the Comptroller's Office is its participation in the financial functions of Tennessee's state and local government entities.

The Comptroller's Office's provides critical financial support and oversight through two divisions:

The Division of State Government Finance (SGF) serves as staff to, and performs certain duties and functions for, the State Funding Board, the Tennessee State School Bond Authority, and the Tennessee Local Development Authority. SGF is responsible for managing the debt of the state and its issuing authorities, including the issuance of all bonds and notes and the repayment of such debt. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessing the capital markets efficiently and timely to provide the most cost-efficient funding for capital projects authorized by the General Assembly;
  • Payment of debt service (principal and interest) on bonds outstanding;
  • Accounting for all debt issued and loans made through preparation of annual financial statements of each debt/loan program;
  • Monitoring and ensuring compliance with all federal laws, regulations, and ruling bodies regarding debt issued in the capital markets;
  • Providing investors and the capital markets community with Investor Updates as a part of the division’s continuing disclosure responsibilities;
  • Serving as staff to the Bond Finance Committee of the Tennessee Development Housing Agency to support and assist in the issuance of debt to finance its affordable, single-family home mortgage program; and
  • Administering the loan programs and performing accounting, financial reporting, and management for the:
    • Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan programs;
    • Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI) loan program; and
    • State Infrastructure Program.

The Division of State Government Finance also serves as staff to the following boards:

The State Funding Board is the governing body authorized to issue all general obligation debt of the State of Tennessee to fund the state’s capital projects or to refinance outstanding obligations previously issued under its authority. The State Funding Board is authorized to make debt service payments on outstanding bonds and other debt obligations (including notes) from any funds held in the state treasury.

The State Funding Board is charged with the establishment of policy guidelines for the investment of state funds. The Funding Board also approves Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) trust agreements for local governments.

As a part of the state’s budget process, the State Funding Board is directed by statute to develop consensus ranges of estimates of state revenue for the current fiscal year and the next succeeding fiscal year to be presented to the Governor and the Chairs of the Senate and House Finance, Ways and Means Committees.

The primary statutory duties of the State Funding Board are as follows:

  • Authorize, issue, manage, and facilitate the payment of the state’s general obligation debt;
  • Complete an annual review and update of its debt management policy;
  • Recommend and approve revenue growth estimates for taxes generated and collected by the state;
  • Recommend and approve growth estimates of lottery revenues;
  • Approve policy guidelines for the investment of state funds in the state treasury;
  • Establish guidelines, rules, and regulations related to interest rate swaps entered into by local governments;
  • Review and approve Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) trusts for local governments;
  • Review and approve Economic and Community Development (ECD) FastTrack projects;
  • Provide oversight of debt repayment to the state for the Tennessee State Veterans' Homes Board;
  • Develop model financial disclosure policies for use by public entities pursuant to TCA Section 9-21-151; and
  • Ensure compliance with the state’s debt service coverage test as required by TCA Section 9-9-105(c).

The Tennessee State School Bond Authority (TSSBA) was created to finance revenue-producing capital projects for public institutions of higher education located in Tennessee and to finance projects approved pursuant to the Qualified Zone Academy Bond Program (QZAB) and the Qualified School Construction Bond Program (QSCB) of the federal government.

The TSSBA is authorized to issue bonds and notes to finance higher educational facilities projects for the colleges and universities under the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents systems. In addition, the TSSBA is authorized to issue debt to provide funds for the making of student loans by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Pursuant to federal law, the TSSBA has also issued QZABs and QSCBs to finance improvement loans for capital projects for cities and counties with qualifying K-12 schools.

The primary duties of the TSSBA are as follows:

  • Review and approve capital projects for the universities and state community colleges;
  • Authorize and issue bonds and notes to primarily fund the loans to construct revenue-generating capital projects for state institutions of higher learning;
  • Administer and facilitate the payment of the TSSBA’s debt;
  • Review and update the TSSBA debt management policy on an annual basis; and
  • Prepare annual financial statements and a TSSBA Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The Tennessee Local Development Authority (TLDA) is empowered to issue bonds and notes for the health loan program (water and sewer debt).

The TLDA is authorized to finance loans to:

  • Local governments for sewage treatment; waterworks and capital projects; firefighting equipment; and airport facilities;
  • Certain small businesses for pollution control equipment;
  • Agricultural enterprises;
  • Not-for-profit organizations providing certain intellectual disability and alcohol and drug services; and
  • Local government units to finance construction of capital outlay projects for K-12 educational facilities.

The TLDA also approves loans through the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Programs, which are capitalized with grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the TLDA administers these loans made to cities, counties, utility districts, and water and/or wastewater authorities for the planning, design, and construction of wastewater and drinking water facilities. Additionally, the TLDA is responsible for the approval of loans to local governments from the Transportation State Infrastructure Fund, a $2 million revolving loan fund for transportation infrastructure projects throughout the state.

State Government Finance Leadership

Sandi Thompson (Bio) Director Sandi.Thompson@cot.tn.gov 615.747.5380
Sharon Schmucker Manager Sharon.Schmucker@cot.tn.gov 615.747.5374

The Division of Local Government Finance implements laws relating to the financial operation of local units of government and other governmental entities.

Division responsibilities include:

  • Approving the budgets and debt obligations of local governments;
  • Approving investments submitted by cities, counties, and utility districts;
  • Reporting on plans by municipal electric systems to provide video, cable, and Internet services;
  • Assisting local governments in areas of municipal finance; and
  • Providing research and support to the Tennessee General Assembly. 

The Division of Local Government Finance also serves as staff to the Water & Wastewater Financing Board and the Utility Management Review Board. You can learn more about the boards by visiting this page.

Local Government Finance Leadership

Betsy Knotts (Bio) Director Betsy.Knotts@cot.tn.gov 615.401.7954
John Greer (Bio) Assistant Director John.Greer@cot.tn.gov 615.401.7879
Sheila Reed (Bio) Assistant Director Sheila.Reed@cot.tn.gov 615.401.7906