WASTE WATCH: Hendersonville Street Fund
Updated: Tuesday, February 18 2014, 10:46 PM CST
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Waste Watch: Hendersonville State Street Fund
In tonight's Fox 17 Waste Watch report, we're holding government accountable with how the people you elect spend your tax dollars. Tonight, we look closely at one midstate city and its use of state street funding.
That money is meant to repair and improve city roads, but we found in Hendersonville, at least some of it bought new vehicles for city administrators to drive and state guidelines show that's against the rules.
Taxpayer Jimmy Mitchell took us on a little ride down his street,
Stop 30 Road in Hendersonville where we drove over several potholes and crumbled pavement.
He says the city's forced annexation left him with plenty of 'holes' here, and an $800 dollar 'hole' in his wallet, "So I pay $800 a year in property taxes and for that I've got nothing as you can see the condition of this road is the same as when the county had it. It's not been paved, it's not been repaired. It's rough when you drive over it. You ride over in other areas of the city, you see new pavement street lights sidewalks. Here you get nothing."
Mitchell believes the city has the money to fix this and according to Alderwoman Arlene Cunningham, he's right.
Fox 17 checked and city administrators spent more than $112 thousand dollars on 2 new Ford Expeditions and 2 new Ford F150's. The money came from the state aid street fund with parameters that clearly state it's to be used for municipal streets.
We found other roads in need of attention too, Center Point Road, Maple Row Boulevard, Donna Drive and more.
Cunningham asks, "How many roads could have been paved with this money? How many streets could have been fixed? How many potholes could have been filled in with this money? It's just not right!"
Every city gets money from this fund and it comes from your gas tax you pay at the pump. Neither the mayor, public works director or anyone in Hendersonville's administration would justify to Fox 17 spending state aid street funding for SUV's and trucks.
Yet, MTAS -- or the Municipal Technical Advisory Service --- says the money should be used for streets, highways, avenues, boulevards, bridges, tunnels, public parking areas including paving, repaving, grading, cleaning, and the list goes on.
But no where in these guidelines does it say a city can use these tax proceeds for this.
What's more, the annual audit originally posted online, found that "vehicles purchased from the State Street Aid Fund may have been driven for purposes other than those related to street maintenance and improvement." A few days later, this graph was removed from the body of the audit and moved to a letter attached to the audit.
Cunningham says she feels vindicated for her pointed questions about the expenditure, "This lends credibility to what I've been questioning for almost a year."
Mitchell wants somebody in government to do something about it. Until then, all he can do is just hold on tight saying, "Isn't that great they can ride around in nice new cars, but we've got to ride on this road just the way it is."