SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com)- Auditors have been working overtime in Southaven lately. First they dug into Mayor Greg Davis' expenses --the state is demanding he pay back $150,000. Auditors are now digging into the finances of the city's Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber is flush with cash, courtesy of Southaven's taxpayers. We wanted to see how much other cities pay to maintain their chambers, but Southaven taxpayers may not want to know the answer.
Olive Branch gives its chamber $13,500 a year. Horn Lake has never given its chamber more than $27,000, and Hernando gives its chamber $20,000 a year.
Southaven, in comparison, gives its chamber $18,750 a month -- or $225,000 a year.
Why so much? And why does Southaven's chamber pay the mayor? None of the others do.
"There's been a lot of growth in Southaven. People moving from Memphis to Southaven. Maybe they believe that he's helped with the growth," says Whitney Harrell.
"Wow, but still. That's a lot of money," says Cheryl Partlow.
"I'll just say I would be suspicious about it. Very suspicious about it," Vera Jones tells abc24.com.
The Southaven Chamber isn't answering any questions, but Southaven Alderman Ronnie Hale says the city's payments to the chamber have increased recently.
"It's gone up from last year. It was $7,700 a month last year. We're trying to determine what the increase is for and just really see where the money is going," Hale says.
We know some of that cash used to go to Mayor Greg Davis.
"A while back he had some type of expense account with the chamber, but it was through the chamber so we're not really sure why he'd be getting money back," Hale says.
It's just another part of the mess with Mayor Davis and the city's money. The chamber won't reveal how much Davis was paid.
The money he got from the group is in addition to Davis' salary of $145,000 a year. On top of that, Davis is paid $5,000 for having a college degree, and $2,700 a year for holding office a long time.
There's no word when the chamber audit will be finished.