Commission Approves $100,000 For 3 Years For Thrive 55 Despite Boyd Opposition

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The County Commission voted 7-2 on Wednesday to fund $100,000 per year for three years to the Thrive 55 regional effort to deal with transportation and other issues.

Voting against were Commissioners Tim Boyd and Katherlyn Geter.

Commissioner Boyd said Thrive 55 would not provide a line-item budget, but gave out only what the IRS requires. 

He also said GDOT and TDOT are working on easing traffic congestion, including funding for upgrading the often-clogged intersection of I-24 and I-75 in Brainerd.

Commissioner Boyd said a for-profit group, Bridge Innovations, has gotten 90 percent of the Thrive 55 funds thus far. He said, "I've never heard of Bridge Innovations.

He said the item should have been included in the county budget, not added on later and having to come out of the rainy day fund.

On the idea of having line-item budgets sent in by all agencies that get county money, Chairman Sabrena Smedley said, "We would be up here reading all day. I'm going to feel like a CPA."

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said the Thrive 55 came to him about the idea early in the year. He said it did not get into the budget because he was waiting for the city to take the lead. 

City Council Chairman Ken Smith said the city approved it in mid or late June.

He said the county has $92 million in its rainy day fund, but he thinks this amount will not be taken from that item. He said it likely would be covered by savings in certain areas of county spending.

Commissioner Boyd said he would approve the Thrive 55 resolution only if an amendment was tacked on giving $100,000 of county money to the Girls Inc. Book Worm literacy program. New Commissioner David Sharpe seconded the motion, saying that would be a good county investment.

The amendment failed 7-2 (Boyd, Sharpe).


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