This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
The news about the library hasn’t been good. What does the
council need to do to fix it?
Answers provided by Carol Berz.
The council needs to take a look at the task force report, prioritize the identified needs and begin looking at ways to implement solutions.
With tax revenues decreasing, what areas do you think are most
likely to be cut?
Actually, we are in good shape this year, and there is no plan to cut services. Even though revenues may be down a bit, this summer because of the oil price shift we already began economizing.
Marti has been very outspoken about crime in the Brainerd area. Do you have any ideas on how to better combat crime in the area?
From inception, I have been working with the police department and the administration to deal with the issues of crime. Actually, there is not a simple answer - we need to be thinking in preventative ways, rather than solely in knee-jerk reactive ways. Obviously, support of the police is important. However, I truly believe that working with the economy and education can be more important than arming our citizens.
There's talk of annexing part of East Brainerd, Ootlewah and North Hixson into Chattanooga. Where do you stand on annexation?
Annexation is always an option. However, along with annexation comes the obligation to do a cost-benefit analysis of ways annexation would impact our budget relative to service delivery.
Is it difficult to be up against someone who is so controversial? Is this an advantage or disadvantage?
I don't spend much time thinking about it. I am busy focusing on the issues that constituents have said are important as well as city-wide decision-making that is also part of my job.
What is your opinion on how Marti Rutherford has said she would handle the "Deep Blue" situation?
As a public official, I have to balance the needs of all in my district under the rule of law. The "Deep Blue" matter existed before I came into office.
Thanks for all of the questions. We're going to close down the chat with Carol Berz now. We'll have Marti Rutherford in at 2:15 today.