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Carter County Tomorrow operated for years without policies, procedures

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CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL) - An economic development agency funded partially by taxpayers has operated for almost eight years without any formal policies or procedures in place, leaving the door open for the possible misuse of funds. According to Cater County Tomorrow's president and board chairman, that's about to change.

Carter County Tomorrow President Tom Anderson says he is confident the agency has always spent its money appropriately. Regardless, within the next couple months the agency's board will adopt policies and procedures for the first time to make sure Carter County Tomorrow always spends its money wisely.

"We do need to have these policies and procedures as we grow up and mature as an organization and it's just part of the growing pains," Anderson, who began working for the agency in 2010, said. "(Back when the agency started in 2006) I think everybody was just so excited about this new opportunity to work as a partnership that it just hit the ground, started going and never looked back and now we're kind of looking back a little bit and are seeing we need to fill in some gaps and we need to make sure to get the policies and procedures in place."

The board recently hired an independent accountant to take a look at the books and offer suggestions. That accountant's review found some issues that raised concerns.

Carter County Tomorrow works with Tourism, the Chamber of Commerce and the Workforce Development Complex. However, the accountant's report shows the agency spent money on a handful of things that didn't necessarily fall in line with the agency's missions.

A thorough review of receipts revealed no large expenses that raised questions. However, some smaller ones jumped out, including an unapproved $50 gift card to an area bike shop for Elizabethton's new city manager.

"We had the money in the budget so we just decided to congratulate the new city manager," Anderson said. "I believe the board would have supported that."

Board Chairman Richard Tester says he too believes board members would have supported that expense as well as a handful of other expenses.

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