Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Meanwhile, Metro Funds Go Out the Back Door to Subsidize Private Organizations

While the Metro School Board stands poised to accept private funds for paying teachers, Metro tax dollars may be dispatched to subsidize private interests pending Metro Council action tonight. The council is considering four resolutions--three sponsored by Charlie Tygard and one by Ed Whitmore--that would spend some of those $1.95 million discretionary funds that the council voted for itself out of the recent windfall of previously uncollected property taxes. The following private groups are poised to receive Metro tax subsidies if the bills are approved:
  1. Youth, Inc. (link) -- $1,000 for recreation and sports
  2. Operation Stand Down Nashville (link) -- $2,500 for cost of clothing homeless veterans
  3. The Jewish Community Center (link) -- $5,000 for swimming pool upgrades
  4. Eighteenth Avenue Family Enrichment Center -- $8,000 for students and teachers
The spending of the discretionary funds is about to begin and we need to keep an eye on where they are going. Admittedly, it is legal to spend them on private non-profits and I do not have objections to allocating some Metro funds to non-profits where Metro services are unavailable.

But these funds are also designated for public projects, and so I would argue that a significant percentage should be plowed back into the Metro programs, since the funds were collected from public taxes. For instance, why fund private youth and family programs when many of our community center programs could use more funding? Why pay a private community center for pool upgrades when we have public swimming pools that need improvements? Those are questions that I hope are asked of Charlie Tygard and Ed Whitmore at tonight's meeting. While the funds are based on councilmanic discretion, they are also subject to public approval through the Metro Council, and requests to subsidize private organizations and ignore Metro programs is unacceptable.


  1. Of course Youth Inc. is run by Tygard's son.

  2. Can you confirm that? I just called them and they gave the name "Sarah Marenteth" as the name of the Interim Director. I also asked them if Charlie Tygard's son ran it or was connected to it and they said, "Not to my knowledge."

  3. They have changed evertything on their website. Charlie Tygard was himself executive director until not too long ago and lists this as a previous occupation on his homepage. While he was director, his son Scott was very involved and now runs WNSL - west nashville sports league - Youth Inc. has run many leagues in town. There were previous filings regarding 501C3 requirements with the state that listed all officers and salaries. That's where I saw this info in the past.