Representatives for the Knoxville Chamber and Knox County commissioners continued their back and forth Monday on the extent of the chamber's obligation to disclose financial information.
Commissioner Tony Norman, who abstained from Monday's discussion in light of his recent election as chairman, previously requested the chamber release more detailed spending reports.
Norman previously proposed the commission postpone their budgeted contribution of $80,000 to the chamber until they complied.
On Monday representative's from the chamber agreed to allow a Knox County finance department employee to inspect the records that pertain to last budget year's $80,000 contribution.
The move comes in light of Norman's concerns that taxpayer dollars could have been used in lobbying efforts funded by the chamber in support of the Knox County School's budget increase.
Chamber attorney Tom McAdams told commissioners that documents relating to chamber's lobbying against Hillside and Ridge top development as well as their advocacy for the Knox County School's budget were also requested, but off limits.
He told commissioners that their $80,000 contribution to their $3.6 million budget is part of a defined service contract.
"The county's contribution, which is appreciated, is still given in partnership with the 2,000 member organization who are funding the rest of that cost," said McAdams.
Therefore he says the county is only entitled to inspect records that pertain to validating the results and performance of their contract.
Chief Deputy to the Law Director David Buuck rebutted McAdam's argument by asserting that taxpayers have the right to know whom they're giving money to and for what purpose.
He says the chamber has listed contributors by name in the past, and questioned their motivation for stopping.
He says their financial disclosure the county amounted to a single page.
For example, he says they listed a $30,000 expenditure for "research data" but didn't provide the recipient, purpose, or outcome.
Both sides agreed to allow a Knox County Finance employee to examine records and receipts pertaining to the prior year's $80,000 contribution and report back at the follow week's meeting.