It's no secret Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd has not seen eye to eye with the operation of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He's had questions for several months about some of the agency's travel spending and its lack of transparency about revealing its financial "working papers." He also would like to see some of the county's hotel-motel tax revenues, which all now go to the CVB, go elsewhere.
However, when Boyd suggested several months ago that the county commission look further into the matter, he got no takers. The county, after all, is to get a projected $1.1 billion in tourism this year in exchange for $7.8 million in hotel-motel taxes. Commissioners obviously liked their return on investment.
Now the commissioner is back with what we believe is a reasonable request. He offered a resolution Wednesday that would have all nonprofit agencies that receive county money exceeding 25 percent of their annual operating budgets — like the CVB — to use county purchasing and travel policies, to provide "all financial documents and records" to the county commission, and to have a county commissioner serve on their board.
Nonprofits which receive even more of their operating budget from another single entity than the county naturally might be against the idea, but those for which the county is the largest single funder shouldn't have any problem with it.
We see it as a way for the agencies to be even more transparent with their finances and for the commission to be even more of a watchdog on the agencies it funds.
If the CVB or other nonprofits do not believe they can comply with such requests, we hope they'll make public the reasons why they do not believe they can or should.
The commission will vote on the resolution next Wednesday. We hope Boyd will have more support on this idea than he did the last time around.