Officials try to justify cost of Chamber trip
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are spending $41,000 to send a group of staff and elected officials on the Chamber's trip to Boston next week. A few of the officials are concerned about the cost. Most years the Charlotte Chamber invites business and community leaders to see how other cities handle transportation, economic development and housing matters. This year the trip is to Boston and eighteen city and county officials are going at a cost of $2,600 each. But County Commissioner Dan Murrey has some concerns about the expense when the county is making such massive budget cuts. Still he thinks the visit will be worthwhile. "We've said for the last two years that we can't keep doing things the way we've been doing and we have to find a new mode of governing going forward," says Murrey. "We can do that by introspection, but we can also do that by together going and learning how other places do it." Murrey decided to split the cost: the county will pay half and his business OrthoCarolina will pay the other half. He thinks that's fair because he'll also be going as a CEO. Of the five county commissioners participating in the trip Harold Cogdell is the only paying part of his way out of his own pocket. He'll pay half, but he says that's not because of the county budget situation. He just doesn't expect to have his mind on county matters the whole time. "If I'm at a Red Sox game I doubt I'll be talking about business development initiatives," says Cogdell. The Mayor and nine City Council members, six Democrats and three Republicans, are also headed to Boston. Nancy Carter of the fifth district is paying her whole way because she says she's traveled enough on the city's dime this year. Both the city council and county commission maintain travel budgets for these kinds of trips.