Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd wants to use his new position chairing the Finance and Insurance Committee to investigate how county dollars are spent.
He held an informal meeting Wednesday morning to discuss areas he wants the Finance and Insurance Committee to focus on during the next 12 months. He said several county programs may have outlived their usefulness, while others like discretionary spending will need equitable funding if they are to remain in place.
“Policies sometimes need to be reviewed, questions answered,” Boyd said. “We’re going to be not only reviewing resolutions, but investigating other issues as they come up.”
He outlined eight areas that would be a starting point for the committee’s work. They include a one-time appropriation to Orange Grove Center, the Read 20 program, an indoor firing range, the Wastewater Treatment Authority, discretionary funding, the mayor’s proposed sales tax split, architect selection for county construction and exemptions made for an ethanol company at a Bonny Oaks Industrial Park property.
Many of the concerns he raised stem from negative media coverage. He said a communication gap between the commission and Mayor Jim Coppinger have contributed to a lack of trust-a point several other commissioners disputed.
Boyd has been a member of the committee for several years. Commissioner Chester Bankston appointed him chair two weeks ago. Commissioners Sabrena Turner-Smedley and Randy Fairbanks were also assigned to the committee, which is responsible for county spending, discretionary funds and insurance.
Fairbanks welcomed the proposed role for the committee, saying that a review of county programs was “not a witch hunt.”
“If a policy is strong and should be in place, it will survive scrutiny,” he said.
But Commissioner Joe Graham, who was recently ousted from the committee, said many of the areas outlined have already been thoroughly reviewed.
“I applaud you for wanting to take this on,” he told the committee. “But most of these questions have been asked and answered.”
In an earlier interview, Boyd said he wants the committee to play a greater role in the creation of Hamilton County’s operating budget, the bulk of which is composed of public school funding. The budgets introduced each year are a “helter skelter” of proposals, he said.