Hamilton County backs down on new nonprofit financial oversight rules

Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd

The Hamilton County Commission has made an about-face on new rules it implemented last month which would require certain nonprofits to adopt county spending and travel policies.

This morning, commissioners voted 7-2 to overturn regulations which required nonprofits receiving county dollars in excess of 25 percent of their operating budgets to take on county spending policies.

Commissioner Tim. Boyd attempted to side track the effort to rescind by upping the minimum county contribution amount to $100,000. His amendment proposal died for a lack of a second, supporting motion.

A number of nonprofits, including the Humane Educational Society, the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department, have all voiced concern or outright opposition to the new rules.

"I think this will address a lot of the issues," Boyd said.

Commissioner Sabrena Smedley, who originally supported the new rules, came down against them today.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Smedley said.

Mayor Jim Coppinger repeatedly cautioned commissioners about "unintended consequences" of the original legislation.

Boyd spent several months publicly scrutinizing the spending of the CVB, who was estimated to have received $7.8 million on county lodging tax revenues in fiscal 2017.