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Comtproller Audit Finds Issues with Rockwood Economic Development Organization

Press release from the office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; January  29, 2015:

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has uncovered several issues related to Rockwood Revitalization, Inc., in Roane County, Tennessee.

Rockwood Revitalization was organized to stimulate downtown economic development for the City of Rockwood. The organization is primarily funded from grants and donations.

The investigation centered around a 2012 State of Tennessee, Department of Economic and Community Development, revitalization grant. The $15,000 grant was intended to help develop a new visitors’ center by including a public restroom.

Investigators found that Rockwood Revitalization did not comply with the grant contract. Although building materials were purchased, no work ever began on the visitors’ center during the grant period. Furthermore, in February 2014 Rockwood Revitalization submitted false information to TNECD by indicating the visitor center and restroom facilities were completed on the grant close-out report.

Rockwood Revitalization eventually used the purchased materials to develop and open a welcome center in October 2014.

Comptroller investigators also noted questionable business practices within Rockwood Revitalization, and found the organization did not follow its bylaws. All of the findings and recommendations have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the 9th Judicial District.

“Grant money can play an important role in spurring economic development throughout the state,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Taxpayers deserve to know their money is being used appropriately and all the rules are being followed.”

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

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Press Releases

Federal Assistance to be Awarded to 18 Counties Harmed by June Flooding

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 14, 2014:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornado touchdowns were part of the storm system. The first tornado, an EF-1 with wind speeds in excess of 80 m.p.h., left a 12-mile debris path across Lake and Obion Counties on June 7. The other confirmed tornado, rated an EF-0, touched down in Kingston, Tenn. More than 28,000 customers were left without power due to wide-spread damage from downed trees and broken power lines.

The disaster declaration provides FEMA’s Public Assistance to the declared counties for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.