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How Did Partnership Gwinnett Use Your Tax Dollars?

Partnership Gwinnett has refused to provide a list of the government entities that provided funding and the amounts provided by each.

I received a number of emails from people asking what services Partnership Gwinnett provided and how much money they received from taxpayers. Partnership Gwinnett has refused to provide a list of the government entities that provide funding and the amounts provided by each. The county has provided millions of dollars to Partnership Gwinnett, but Partnership Gwinnett also received funding from the cities in Gwinnett, the Gwinnett Conventions & Visitors Bureau, the CIDs, Gwinnett County Public Schools, the Development Authority of Gwinnett and other entities, including Gwinnett Medical Center and the Yerkes Primate Research Center.

To gain an understanding of the services provided by Partnership Gwinnett, read the following exact entries from the Partnership Gwinnett Report Card for 2007-2011.

  • Partner with the Gwinnett County school system to lobby state elected officials to increase the district’s flexibility to self-govern rather than be held accountable for certain state mandates.

  • Supported GCPS in their legal action involving constitutional local control of charter schools. May of 2011 Georgia Supreme Court rules in favor of the seven school districts bringing the suit. GCOC 2012 Legislative Agenda continues to oppose any legislation that usurps the authority of the GCPS Board to govern Gwinnett's public schools.

  • The Chamber continues to have two registered lobbyists who advocate for local, state and federal infrastructure funding and pro-business legislation. Supporting HOV to HOT conversion, Ronald Reagan PPI and other specific projects identified by the County Director of Transportation and local CID's.

  • Identify viable funding mechanisms to expand the number of police officers in Gwinnett County and lobby municipal police departments to also expand their number of licensed officers. Created Engage Gwinnett for this purpose. Chamber also supporting proposed Kenerly millage rate increase to hire additional officers
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    As you sit in traffic on I-85 that was worsened by the HOV to HOT conversion, how do you feel knowing that your tax dollars supported the organization that lobbied for this?

    Whether you are for or against the charter school amendment, how do you feel knowing that your tax dollars supported the chamber as it lobbied for THEIR legislative agenda? What about those issues with which you disagree? Should taxpayers be forced to support an organization that lobbies for issues with which they disagree?

    As a county taxpayer, how do you feel knowing that the chamber supported Kevin Kenerly’s millage rate increase? Should your tax dollars be paid to an organization that lobbies to raise your taxes?

    Do you, as a taxpayer in Gwinnett County, approve of your tax dollars being used in this manner?

    You can learn more about these activities and view the Partnership Gwinnett Report Card at www.gwinnettpetition.com.

    This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

    Jim Regan November 05, 2012 at 01:26 AM
    Sabrina: Hasn't Partnership Gwinnett provided Gwinnett County with details of how the money was spent? Doesn't the county require some level of accountablity before they renew the Partnership Gwinnett contract and give them taxpayer funds? That seems like a very basic requirement.
    Sabrina Smith November 05, 2012 at 01:11 PM
    Hi Jim: The contract between the county and the Gwinnett Chamber allowed the county the right to review the financial records of Partnership Gwinnett, but the county has never exercised that right. The commissioners owe taxpayers an explanation of why this has never occurred. Without a review of the financial records of Partnership Gwinnett, can commissioners honestly tell taxpayers that 100% of the public money was used appropriately? In a county that has been rocked by scandal, should the commissioners write another check to Partnership Gwinnett without first providing a report to taxpayers of how every single dollar was spent?
    Pat Gabilondo November 05, 2012 at 08:48 PM
    Good job raising the important questions, Sabrina. Do you know what the status is of the Gwinnett County School Board using our tax dollars to fund the Chamber of commerce's business development consultants? Has this been sufficiently challenged? Was there any outcome?
    Sabrina Smith November 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
    Hi Pat: Even after we started raising questions about the impropriety of these payments, GCPS cut a new check for $150,000 to the chamber a few months ago.

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