MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office says it has reached an agreement with the town of Mason, Tennessee on its financial status, and the town has taken steps to dismiss its lawsuit against the state.
Mason, a majority-Black town of about 1,200 in Tipton County, faced a state takeover by the comptroller’s office, which said the town has mismanaged its money for 20 years, and the problem has grown worse in the past four or five years under current leadership.
Last month, Mason officials went to court to try to stop that takeover.
Since then, the comptroller’s office said Mason has “agreed to work with a certified public accounting firm to improve its finances and provide information to our Office each month. The Town will continue to pay down its debt to its utility funds.”
The comptroller’s office made the announcement Wednesday.
“By agreeing to change its practices and work with our Office, Mason will operate on a balanced budget, work toward correcting audit findings, and eliminate improper borrowing,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said in a statement. “Most importantly, if Mason follows this plan, taxpayers can know their leaders are being good stewards of their money.”
The settlement marks a victory for town officials who had argued the state was treating Mason’s majority-Black leaders differently than they have white administrators who also struggled with finances.
“This settlement agreement is a good thing for the citizens of the town and it’s a good thing for African Americans across the country,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson.
The National NAACP said it provided the legal team behind the lawsuit that secured the settlement for the town of Mason.
Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval City electric truck manufacturing plant is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the area near Mason when it is complete.