Town of Mason strikes repayment deal with Tennessee comptroller

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 8:35 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MASON, Tenn. (WMC) - An apparent deal has been struck regarding the fate of the town of Mason. The State of Tennessee asked the Tipton county town to rescind its charter or be taken over by the state.

A meeting of the minds Tuesday afternoon apparently resolved some of the concerns the state had with the Town of Mason.

Just last week Action News 5 reported that the state’s comptroller was ready to move forward with taking over the financial operations of Mason.

Tuesday the Tennessee Black Caucus, state comptroller and the vice-mayor of Mason met to discuss the town’s fate.

“My role as the chair of the black caucus is I just want to make sure that both parties are communicating with each other clearly concisely and openly,” said State Representative and Tennessee Black Caucus chair Antonio Parkinson.

Parkinson says the Tennessee Black Caucus has been fielding numerous phone calls about the town of Mason. The town with a long documented history of financial issues was faced with having its financial operations being taken over by the state after the town’s leaders refused to give up its charter.

”Because this is our home. We grew up here. We was raised here,” said Mason Vice-Mayor Virginia Rivers back in February when the town first got the news.

Parkinson said the state has agreed to a payment plan.

A spokesperson with the comptroller’s office emailed Action News 5 late Tuesday night that the town has agreed to use its entire American Rescue Plan allocation of about $227,000 to settle a debt with the Mason Water and Sewer fund.

The money will help pay back some of the money the town borrowed from its water and sewer funds.

State leaders say this is a significant step in reducing the town’s nearly $600,000 debt. The potential takeover of the predominantly Black town gained national media attention.

Mason is about five miles from the new Ford Motor Company and town leaders openly questioned why the state waited over 20 years to threaten a financial takeover.

“I don’t know of any company, with the stature of Ford Motor Company that would want to be tied to someone stealing from their city from Black folks so let’s be clear on that,” said Parkinson.

He says this isn’t the first town or county with state financial oversight.

Hopefully, financial issues can be resolved before the end of the year.

A spokesperson for the state’s comptroller’s office says, “If Mason can produce a balanced budget for this year and have its audits completed by this summer then the comptroller’s office can scale back or even end its enhanced supervision over the town’s financial operations.”

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.