At least one County commissioner expressed concerns about accepting tickets to the upcoming CIAA tournament and says he plans to sell the tickets and donate the proceeds to charity.
Commissioner Bill James did in fact have questions about this at last years budget talks, but not because he believed it poses ethical questions. Bill was simply trying to reduce the county budget and thought that the $200,000 each year to support the CIAA tournament would not be a good use of tax payer dollars.
If you have followed reports of the benefits that the CIAA tournament brings to this community, you would know that the economic impact of this investment is $32,000,000. Where else can you invest $200,000 and get a $32,000,000 return on your investment for the citizens of Mecklenburg County. In addition to the money coming back in the form of tax revenue from rented hotel rooms and the taxes generated from the more that 125,000 people who visit the city to attend the tournament, lots of businesses thrive during the tournament and a lot of our citizens get work because of the tournament.
The county has invested a lot more money by providing Business Incentive Grants, which help businesses relocate to our community and receives far less of a return on our investment.
The majority of the commissioners get it, which is why this item remains a part of our county budget.
Additionally, the County Attorney; Marvin Bethune has said “In my opinion the current county ethics policy does not prohibit county commissioners from receiving the tickets distributed by the county manager,” and sees no reason why commissioners cannot accept tickets if they are offered to them.
This is an election year.
Is it possible that Bill is doing what he has always done? Getting the media to tell his story for him, which I’m sure he sees as helping out his campaign, or are their other possible reasons as to why this became an issue. I would be interested in hearing from you about what you think is the real story behind the county’s investment of the $200,000.