Greg Martin: Why I Will Not Be Voting For Commissioner Discretionary Spending - And Response (2)

Monday, July 13, 2020
Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Martin
Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Martin

Most people that know me well know that I will not vote to reinstate the $900,000 commissioner’s discretionary spending of taxpayer money. My reasons are: 

1. There could not be a worse economic time for the government to spend additional money. It’s time to tighten the belt of government spending and not expand it. All American families are having this conversation around their kitchen tables. Why would elected leaders do anything different?

2. Tax spending should be planned for and budgeted. If discretionary spending is right, then legislative bodies would enact this practice at the city, state, and federal levels. If it were the best way to spend taxpayer money, then we would see it practiced all over Tennessee. Today, there is only one county that has discretionary money - Shelby County.

3. To me, it makes more sense to save for our next big economic development project. What if some large company needs us to create additional infrastructure to lure them to our community?  Nine hundred thousand dollars would go a long way in Hamilton County for economic development and job creation. 

4. Discretionary spending is simply a way to curry favor with voters for the next election. It is a “re-elect me fund” to distribute favors in individual districts not based on the greatest needs, but the loudest and closest voices to the commissioner. We must never forget that all tax dollars belong to the people and not politicians. Elected officials are simply stewards of taxpayers’ money. In my opinion, discretionary spending is not the best way to be the best steward.

5. The government will never be able to meet all the needs of our communities no matter how hard we try or how much we tax our citizens. The question is simple: Is it appropriate for all of needs to be met by the government? I suggest that there are other groups who can help meet community needs. For example, parents, families, private groups, civic clubs, churches, the United Way, and other philanthropic people could help. The government is not always the best answer for every situation.

In the past, when commissioners had discretionary money, there was seldom, if ever, a spending request that was rejected by the body. The truth is, this short sighted way of spending taxpayer money makes the commission – and, in fact, the individual commissioner - the judge, jury, and executor of the tax dollars. There are no checks and balances with discretionary spending. By contrast, the regular budget is vetted over time with community input, presented by the mayor with the assistance of the Finance Department, and then voted on by the entire commission.

For all of these reasons, I am going to do what I consider to be the right thing, the common sense thing, and vote no for Commissioner Discretionary Spending.

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Martin

* * * 

Wow, what a thoughtful and timely statement from Greg Martin regarding the discretionary spending proposal some county commissioners want to reinstate.  The $100K per commissioner fund to spend on pet proposals is a perfect example of government spending without accountability. 

I simply cannot write anything better than what Mr. Martin did in his explanation why he is not voting to reinstate the discretionary fund.  It used to infuriate me when we would hear commissioners say “I funded” or “I paid” for this project or that project.  

Thank you, Mr. Martin, for a logical explanation on this important topic.

Bob Linehart

* * *

I want to add my support to Commissioner Martin's opposition to commissioners doling out discretionary funds, a practice that had been correctly terminated years ago. It is very difficult to believe that commissioners supporting discretionary funds so readily would discount the appearance of impropriety. I hope those that claim a charitable motivation for this practice also would practice charity at home.
 
Please put a stake in this horrible idea's heart, a nail in its coffin and bury it once and for all.

Fred Decosimo


911 Has Plenty To Worry About

School Must Go On With Teachers And Staff More At Ease With The Risk

Thanks From Assessor Marty Haynes


When I recently read that a loyal, kind, compassionate and capable 30-year employee at our County 911 Center was “written up“ because of her choice of hair color highlights, I fell out of my ... (click for more)

Re: Teacher COVID Video: Teachers are among our most important professionals. Their influence on students is profound and greatly appreciated. They are essential, vital workers - as are healthcare ... (click for more)

Thank you to the voters and citizens for the opportunity to serve as your Assessor of Property for another four years. It is my honor to have served as Assessor since 2016. As an unopposed candidate, ... (click for more)



Opinion

911 Has Plenty To Worry About

When I recently read that a loyal, kind, compassionate and capable 30-year employee at our County 911 Center was “written up“ because of her choice of hair color highlights, I fell out of my chair. I was going to call 911 for help, but it sounds like they’ve got enough to worry about. Michael Mallen (click for more)

School Must Go On With Teachers And Staff More At Ease With The Risk

Re: Teacher COVID Video: Teachers are among our most important professionals. Their influence on students is profound and greatly appreciated. They are essential, vital workers - as are healthcare professionals, firefighters and police officers, grocery store staff, retailers, wholesalers, waiters and chefs, mechanics, convenience store and gas station personnel, cleaners, maintenance ... (click for more)

Breaking News

UTC Dealing With COVID Outbreak At Fraternity House On Vine Street

The Hamilton County Health Department, in partnership with UTC, is notifying the community of potential COVID-19 exposures at Kappa Sigma Fraternity House, located at 927 Vine St. Potential exposures began last Saturday and continue. Case investigations revealed that UTC students and members of the community who visited or are presently residing at the fraternity house ... (click for more)

Fire Engulfs Home On Roberts Mill Road Saturday Morning

Firefighters battled a fire early Saturday morning on Roberts Mill Road. At 7:30 a.m, a 911 call was made reporting a house fire at 505 Roberts Mill Road. The Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived on the scene reporting a single-story house was fully involved with fire. Dallas Bay VFD requested a Mutual Aid response for additional manpower. The Mowbray ... (click for more)

Sports

SoCon Opts Out Of Fall Sports Competition/Sports Move To Spring

The Southern Conference Council of Presidents announced Thursday that the league will not have fall league competition due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for non-conference contests at each institutions' discretion. It is the intention of the SoCon to move the fall sports' regular-season competition and championships to the spring. ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: The Time I Almost Met Harry Caray

As I have written about many times before, I have met and interviewed a lot of famous people. Players, coaches, announcers and other sports celebrities have a memorable place in my career. For instance, a few days ago I wrote about the time I met Mickey Mantle. Today I'm reminded of the time when I almost met one of my true announcing heroes - the great Harry Caray. It ... (click for more)