By Rachel O’Brien
Deputy Policy Editor, OpenTheBooks.com
In fiscal year 2021, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County made $1.2 million in credit card purchases, including spending $203,569 at Amazon.com.
Twenty-seven metro agencies spent the six-figure amount on 830 transactions at the Jeff Bezos-owned online retailer giant in one year, according to the local government’s credit card transactions posted on its website.
Metro government denied OpenTheBooks.com’s request through the Tennessee Public Records Act to get details on what metro employees purchased. The online database lists fiscal year, department, merchant name, date of transaction and amount but doesn’t specify what good was purchased.
There are 40 metro agencies that used credit cards in FY 2021, led by the sheriff ($196,497), police ($110,193), water services ($97,967) and parks and recreation ($97,944).
Across all agencies, in fiscal year 2021, metro employees spent $30,318 on 16 hotels, from budget-friendly Country Inn and Suites ($545 spent by the Sheriff) and Red Roof Inns ($3,925 spent by Social Services) to the four-star Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where the Human Resources department spent $1,989.
Many of the hotel rooms were used by social services and the courts, presumably to place people in need with temporary housing, along with the sheriff and police. However, the human resources department, health department, assessor and emergency communications center also rented hotel rooms.
Eleven agencies also spent a collective $38,946 at Southwest Air on 129 transactions. The police and sheriff collectively made 84 of those transactions.
Information Technology Services also bought a few flights from United Airlines and Alaska Air, while Emergency Communications Center also bought a few flights from Alaska Air.
The information provided doesn’t include where the flights were to or for what purpose.
The local government employees spent $20,199 at more than 30 food establishments including Chick-Fil-A ($2,729), Dominos ($1,532), Jason’s Deli ($3,233), Jimmy John’s ($1,613) and Mission BBQ ($2,291).
Employees also did their fair share of grocery shopping at large chains, spending $7,970 at Kroger and $1,678 at Publix.
Other spending at big-box stores were in the tens-of-thousands, with $38,933 spent at Wal Mart, $27,348 at Best Buy, $22,333 at Sam’s Club and $23,131 at The Home Depot.
Other spending includes Dick’s Sporting Goods ($1,859), Target ($1,531), TJ Maxx ($555) and Sally Beauty ($707).
Top 10 Agencies That Spent Most on Their Credit Cards
- Sheriff $196,497
- Police $110,193
- Water Services $97,967
- Parks and Recreation $97,944
- Social Services $83,625
- Metro Action Commission $78,796
- Tennessee State Fair $69,209
- Office of Emergency Management $54,606
- Health Department $52,806
- Emergency Communications $51,363
Hotels – 2021
- Country Inn and Suites $545 - Sheriff
- Courtyard by Marriot $433 – Police
- Comfort Inns $3,674 - Social Services
- Days Inn $1,034 – Juvenile Court Judge and Social Services
- Edgewater Hotel $1,881 - Emergency Communications Center
- Hilton $762 – Police, sheriff
- Hotel Indigo - $1,516 - Human Resources
- Hyatt hotels $1,553 – assessor of property, sheriff
- Intown Suites $2,667 – Health Dept
- La Quinta Inns and Suites $461 - Juvenile Court Judge
- Lotus Inn and Suites $350 - Social Services
- Marriott $6,707 – police
- Mirage Hotel and Casino $1,989 – Human Resources
- Red Roof Inns $3,925 – Social Services
- Regency Inn Express $2,112 - Social Services
- Towneplace Suites $709 - Criminal Court Clerk