Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Casciato (in the April 16 issue) said the chamber understands that there was no requirement of the chamber to have an independent audit conducted of the use of HOT funds, because the expected expense was about $5,000 or more a year to have that done. Chamber member Tom Beasley said there is no such requirement in the HOT fund contract. Mr. Beasley, I have never heard of tax funds being spent without accountability or audits.
I appreciated the fact that Councilman David Carabajal also questioned why one-half of the salary of the chamber’s executive director, Lisa DelBosque, is paid out of the HOT funds when, in fact, Isabel Ramirez is employed by the chamber as tourism director. If it is not possible for one person to deal with and manage all of the tourism-related and other qualified activities, then hire someone for that position. Don’t use HOT funds to give the director a raise for those activities which, Tammy Casciato said, are much of what the chamber is and does already.
Beasley said that most of what Carabajal said had nothing to do with a quarterly report. He is wrong. When tax funds are collected and spent, the citizens are entitled to accountability of those funds at all times. If HOT funds are subsidizing the chamber, then there needs to be accountability.
Chamber board member Mike Marshall questioned Carabajal’s role in probing the use of the funds. Marshall stated, “By what authority does he represent the council in this?” Mr. (Scott) Childress said he should be communicating through the city manager, as he is only a councilman, and the city manager works for the council — not the other way around. Marshall also questioned Carabajal’s background and expertise. There are some experts in town who have tunnel vision in their expertise but cannot even tie their own shoes. Is it the fact that Carabajal is a “loose cannon,” or because he brought to light that the Chamber of Commerce, Beasley, Marshall, Childress and the city manager are allowing HOT funds to sign blank checks with no accountability on money spent?
This loose cannon, Carabajal, is an elected official who was voted into office, not appointed, and I, as a voter, ask Mr. Carabajal to check on the HOT funds and their functions.
Thank you, Councilman Carabajal. Beeville voters, wake up!