Hamilton County commissioners are reportedly considering whether it’s wise to take taxpayer money and donate it to various charities.
This, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
“In light of a recent controversial donation from several members of the commission and ahead of pending legislation to tighten rules regarding individual travel and discretionary funds, commissioners, the county mayor and watchdogs are weighing the benefits of allowing donations from commission funds. September donations by five commissioners to the Harrison Ruritan Club were returned by the club last month after an order by the commission to use the $4,000 from county funds to benefit a church program designed to feed kids in need,” according to the paper.
“Since the commission is not allowed to donate directly to a church, the club returned the donation to avoid facilitating a potential violation of state law. While the money was returned and reinstated to the appropriate district funds, the hiccup resurfaced ongoing discussions about the propriety of the funds, even when used correctly, among the commission and the public.”
The Times Free Press quoted District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey argued as saying “using taxpayer dollars to help the taxpayers is exactly our job as commissioners.”
The paper went on to say that “commissioners can donate their individual district’s funds to nonprofits — if approved by a majority of the commission — and any unspent money rolls over to that same district’s fund for the next fiscal year.”
As The Tennessee Star reported in August, Country music star Brad Paisley used $1.5 million of the Tennessee taxpayers’ money to establish a new nonprofit.
Members of the Tennessee Department of Human Services bestowed that money on Paisley and his nonprofit, a grocery store that encourages low-income people to buy healthy food.
Earlier this year, though, Paisley implied this money — for what he calls “The Store” — would come entirely from the private sector.
– – –