C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library
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NEAL CHARGES ORGY OF DEBT
Accuses City Administration of
Declares Floating Debt Now
Fraud Planned For Primary.
Charging that the present city administration has created a floating debt of
nearly a million dollars, besides increasing the bonded debt of Knoxville a million and a half dollars, E. W. Neal fired
the first heavy artillery of his campaign for mayor at a meeting of Eleventh ward voters at the Broadway Baptist church last night.
Thirteen candidates for city commissioner addressed the same meeting, as
did Mrs. L. Crozier French, who presided, and J. G. Johnson, the last two urging women to qualify to vote.
Despite the fact that they were limited to six minutes each, there was
more meat in what the candidates for
commissioner said at this meeting than
at any other public gathering held previously in the campaign. But the greatest interest was created by the speech
of Mr, Neal, who was granted additional time and spoke for 30 minutes.
Mr. Neal appeared with a copy of a
report on city finances submitted to
him by an accountant he employed to
go over the city records. He promised
a more full statement of that report at
some later occasion, when he could have
Declaring that if he had known the
condition of the city finances beforehand, he never would have announced
for mayor, because the task of refinancing the city would prove a tremendous
strain, Mr. Neal declared that if every
cent of the taxes assessed in Knoxville
for this fiscal year were to be collected, they would lack some $100,000 of
paying the floating debt alone.
"I believe in progress," said Mr. Neal,
"But I do not believe in this kind 'progress' and I think we should have some
idea of where money is coming from
before we spend it."
Nearly Million Floting [Floating] Debt.
Mr. Neal charged that when Mayor
McMillan went into office as chief executive of Knoxville, there was $22,518
owed in the current account and that
there was $97,000 to the city's credit in
the bank, a surplus over indebtedness
of about $75,000. He charged that on
June 30, last, there was owed $946,401,
with only $87,000 in the bank, nearly $1,-
000,000 difference on the wrong side of
the ledger in three years and eight
Bonded indebtedness has increased
$1,500,000, he declared, many improvements having been made from bond issues and not from tax money received. He excluded in these figures the
water department, which is a separate
account. In connection with the water
department, Mr. Neal declared there
was an item of $204,768 on the books
charged to "extraordinary expenses"
without further explanation.
Mr. Neal charged that money has
been transferred from one account to
another; that money from bond issues
has been spent for other purposes and
repaid later by money secured on notes.
"Why, the money for the Gay street .
viaduct has already been spent," he
declared. "At least there is nothing ,
shown on the bond account on the
date this audit was made."
Mr. Neal charged that the city has
borrowed so heavily from local banks
that they could lend no more and that
the administration had the last legislature pass an act enabling it to borrow
outside the state and that $190,000 or
more has been borrowed from New York
banks since that time. The interest account, he declared, is running at the
rate of $20,000 a year more than when
the present administration went into office.
Says Fraud is Planned.
Despite all this, Mr. Neal said, the
tax rate has been raised 35 cents.
Urging all decent people to register
and vote, Mr. Neal charged that negroes
are being imported and registered in
two or three precincts to be voted in
the coming election. He said he had
proof of this but did not name the person he holds responsible for this alleged condition.
If elected, Mr. Neal promised to have
regular office hours at the city hall
and that he would devote his attention
to the people's business and give a
business administration and try hard to
get itihe city out of its "staggering load
Dr. A. D. Albright, Neal Adams. Ben
S. Boyd, Major E. G. Cooper, Creed F.
Copeland, Hal H. Clements, Ed Gillen
waters, Nathan B. Kuhlman, John T
O'Connor, C. C. Popejoy, W. B. Richards, Roscoe Word and C. G. Wayland,
candidates for city commissioner, spoke
in the order named. All received an attentive hearing.
About 200 persons, the majority of
whom were women, attended the meeting.