Votes fails to reinstate each Hamilton Co. commissioners' $100,000 in discretionary funds
A discussion about discretionary funds dominated the Hamilton County Commission meeting on Wednesday.
Commissioner Tim Boyd proposed the legislative body reinstate the $100,000 funds each commissioner once had.
The conversation started about expense protocol for commissioners, then the discussion shifted when Boyd asked to allow funding the commissioners once had.
"We know better than anybody in the county what our constituents are needing and asking for," Boyd said.
Boyd gave examples of how the money has and could be spent. Discretionary funds allow each commissioner to spend money in their districts on various projects and needs. However, it's not a free-for-all, the full board has to approve the spending.
Boyd said it's a good use of taxpayer money and good government. However, he was critical of the media's coverage on this topic.
"We're going to get a lot of heat about bad policy, voter slush fund, sneaky six," he said.
Not true: We went to verify and found multiple occasions when Channel 3 covered major projects lead by discretionary funds.
We were there when commissioners bought lifesaving equipment for fire departments; when Randy Fairbanks made improvements to schools and when Sabrina Smedley got rid of temporary bathrooms at East-Hamilton Middle High School.
However, even Smedley was not in favor of this amendment.
"I can't support reinstating the discretionary funds. I know that it's done a lot of notable projects and good things," Smedley explained.
If brought back, the proposal would add $900,000 to the budget. Boyd wants the discretionary funds to be available in July for next fiscal year. However, Warren Mackey said if passed it should start now.
Other commissioners weren't sure if this amendment is best for Hamilton County.
"Do we do it as individuals? Or do we do it together as a corporate body of the elected people of the legislative body of Hamilton County?" Greg Martin said.
Ultimately, after one hour of discussion commissioners voted 4-4 and the amendment failed. Since the amendment did not pass, commissioners are allowed to re-introduce the proposal in the future.