Tag Archives: dollars

Commission Seeks Info on Chamber Spending of Tax Dollars

Knox County leaders say they want Knoxville Chamber officials to ensure taxpayers that no public dollars were spent on two so-called political campaigns that the organization helped carry out during the past year or so, reports the News Sentinel.
Commissioners and county Mayor Tim Burchett say they want the chamber to account for its handling of county contributions. Officials say they are not accusing the chamber of wrongdoing, but they want the organization to provide documents that show government funding wasn’t used when the chamber fought against a hillside protection plan last year and more recently touted a $35 million school plan that would have led to a tax increase.
“The chamber has waged two politically significant campaigns in the last few years but their mission is supposed to be about economic development and business development,” said Commissioner Tony Norman, who first publicly broached the subject during last month’s commission meeting. “But it seems to me that they spend most of their time on politics. I want some accounting because it’s not OK to use public funding to support their political agenda, so I’m just asking: ‘Where did you get the money?’ ”
Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the chamber, referred questions to Anthony Welsch, who helps handle communications for the organization.
“When we get something from Tony Norman that tells us what it is he’s looking for, then we’ll be happy to look at it as an organization,” Welsch said. “At this point we haven’t received anything from him.”
Norman, though, said he was pretty clear during the meeting about what he wanted and that under the terms of a memorandum of understanding that the chamber has with the county, the organization has to provide the information. The commissioner said his interest lies in how public money — not private money — was spent, so that should ease any concerns the chamber has about disclosing information.
The county in this year’s budget and in the one from last year set aside $80,000 for the chamber and $125,000 for Innovation Valley.
Welsch said no public dollars were used on either political campaign that Norman questioned
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Commissioner Says Plaza Protesters Costing Thousands of Dollars

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee General Services Commissioner Steven Cates said Friday that Occupy Nashville protesters on the Legislative Plaza near the state Capitol has cost the state thousands of dollars, but he didn’t give a specific figure.
Cates spoke to reporters following a budget hearing for his department. He said there are areas of the plaza that have required pressure washing because of a lack of sanitation facilities.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has said unsanitary conditions were part of the reason he implemented a curfew and protesters were arrested. A federal judge has since temporarily struck down the curfew. At least two donated portable toilets have been placed near the plaza.
Cates didn’t address the arrests because of litigation. He said the protesters’ occupancy of the plaza for nearly a month has been costly.
“It’s very, very expensive to pressure wash and use solutions that don’t totally damage the surface,” Cates said.
He said there’s also costs associated with protesters running long cords from inside state buildings to power their laptops, as well as safety concerns if “plugs … don’t have the right rating.”

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