Little Chicago Watch's comment history

It is common place for public contract malfeasance to be exposed after long-term incumbency of elected officials, Bredesen and Matt playing with bond issue trades, Sunquist...but on local bid corruption there has been shhhh mentality.

Little Chicago Watch predicts that a windfall of contract malfeasance will be exposed. If citizen minions can find this, can you imagine what is hidden?

Reasonable people believe that these MLA research pieces scratch the surface of what is really occurring with bid corruption and failure to follow the purchasing policies all the way to the City Attorney's office.

That is why the city attorney changed the purchasing policy two weeks ago, he was not following the city's purchasing policy, and for several years has been outsourcing legal to the tune of $400,000 a year (Miller and Martin, CBS, Benson Jr.), when the city's legal dept has 12 attorneys, 12 support staff, and a $1.4 million annual budget. The City Attorney did not advertise for RFP's or RFQ's in accordance with their own policies.

Ms. Editor, we are sick of contract corruption in local government. We just completed a second open records on the outsourcing of legal without advertising, so all legal firms can apply to provide legal services, and the outsourcing is mind boggling. The City Attorney's office is also awarding in less than $10,000 increments for outsourced legal, that cummulattively exceed $350,000 annually. If the City needs outsourced legal each year, it should be advertised, not just handed off to the A List.

So, two weeks ago the City Attorney drafted amendments to the purchasing policy, so he can continue to outsource up to $400,000 a year, without advertisement for Request for Qualifications or Proposals, so the legal firms not on the City Attorney's A list get no work.

Further, we are sick of contract malfeasance with public money. All firms should have the opportunity to compete for contracts. The local governmnets have an unspoken A List they bypass purchasing policies to get the work to their buddies.

Happy New Year TFP!

December 30, 2012 at 11:27 a.m.

Lamar Alexander is 73 years old. If he is able to complete a 6 year term, he will be 79 years old.

Alexander needs to retire, and not run. There are many bright, energetic, and intelligent business minded people that could run.

Mr. Johnson writes, "Despite living on the taxpayers’ dime for almost his entire adult life,"

A lifetime of 6 figures plus benefits is a good job, not public service. Where is the sacrifice in that deal?

December 9, 2012 at 12:20 a.m.

Yes, Watching and diligence is how it's done. Way to go Todd South.

December 9, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

Yesterday, the city council voted to exempt an apartment building and wealthy corporation from paying their share of city property taxes for services, under the PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) incentive program. PILOT is a method where our local governments issue incentives to select corporations that meet criteria set forth by the Chamber of Commerce and River City Company.

The "case by case" approach is smoke and mirrors political pandering to continue issuing PILOT's.

The taxpayers of Chattanooga were thrown under the bus once again to pay a wealthy corporation’s share of city services. The city council voted to add another wealthy corporation to their ever expanding A-list of 50 private corporations that are exempt from paying city property taxes.

Why should we care?

The city council's approval of this PILOT is an action that guarantees that you and I will pay and subsidize this corporation’s share of property taxes for city services until the year 2028. This corporation will indeed receive fire and police protection, their road will be paved, and their infrastructure will be maintained, but will not pay for the services from 2013-2028.

By their own application disclosure, Walk2Campus properties currently owns 100 properties with over 1000 tenants located on 6 college campuses.

Walk2Campus’ business model recognizes that a viable market exists to generate profit. That’s the essence of capitalism, so please Walk2Campus please proceed, but without welfare from existing business and taxpayers subsidizing your profit through property tax exemptions.

Under the PILOT incentives at issue, the city council proposes to exempt this Walk2Campus from paying city property taxes from 2013 to the year 2028. What this means is that existing apartment buildings in the area that rent to UTC students will be paying this company’s share of property taxes and their own. Existing apartment building owners are rendered less price competitive, because they are paying city property taxes, and their competitor’s share of city taxes. Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?

The Chamber of Commerce and River City Company would argue that without giving corporate welfare to Walk2Campus properties, and the rest of us paying their share of services through PILOT incentives through 2028, the project would not occur.

The Chamber of commerce and River City Corporation are exempting business and housing from property taxes in an arbitrary model that operates on first come, first serve bases, and areas hand picked by Kim White, rather than the quality of the taxpayer investment, and criteria that ensures only wealthy corporations or areas can participate. Small business is completely excluded from PILOT incentives. The model is highly flawed and needs to be evaluated for impact on the city’s revenue streams.

Little Chicago Watch is concerned about this expanding A-List of PILOT incentives that are depleting city services.

Citizen watch is watching.

December 5, 2012 at 6:42 a.m.

Mr. Austin,

You endorse corporate welfare for the rich corporations, do you actually understand who is paying their share of services? The average family income in Chattanooga is $38,000 and Chattanooga has a poverty rate of 28 percent. The Pilot and TIF incentive programs also have pervasive abuse. We have been working on this for a year in open records, and studying each contract, none have claw back provisions and no measure to evaluate if they actually carried out what they promised to deliver. The PILOTs issued through River City Company are the most concerning.

It just so happens, that the city of Chattanooga has a resolution on the City Council agenda this coming Tuesday that is a measure to give the River City Fraud Company authority in low income housing. They should not be trusted with PILOT authority.

The River City Company's actions on the Majestic Theater PILOT renders them unworthy of being granted any authority in PILOT issuance.

November 25, 2012 at 5:32 p.m.

jjmez, are you suggesting that citizens just ignore blatant conflicts of interest and robbery of taxpayers? Opposition of these actions of our city council does not equate to opposition of good government. It is very disappointing that you would defend theft of taxpayer resources. Everyone favors good government.

November 25, 2012 at 3 p.m.

The City Councils favorite charities, rich corporations, where they serve on the boards. Taking from working class families to give to their rich friends. We just pulled the Teir II charities from online sources.

November 25, 2012 at 2:14 a.m.

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