After becoming an item on the campaign trail in recent weeks, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Stuart James has paid his property taxes, as of April 11.
Two Hamilton County Commission candidates, District 7 Republican Red Burrows and District 6 Democratic incumbent Lou Miller, have publicly referenced the matter.
"Red Burrows and Lou Miller are engaging in a mudslinging tactic regarding property taxes," said Mr. James, a Signal Mountain resident.
"Therefore, I must be doing my job as party chair - discussing the issues, issues which neither of these individuals can discuss.
"With this said, my wife and I had a long-term dispute with our prior mortgage holder over the payment of taxes through our trust account," he added.
"We verified payment on April 11, 2006, with the county tax attorney."
Hamilton County Trustee Carl Levi, a Republican, said taxes are considered delinquent if unpaid, regardless of whatever issues a property owner may be having.
He said the taxes paid April 11 were for two years - $3,363.98 for 2005 and $3,331.15 for 2004. The 2004 tax bill was lower than the 2005 bill because of a tax increase, but the 2004 payment reflected fees and penalties because it was much later, he said.
Taxes for each year are due March 1 the following year.
Mr. Burrows is running against County Commission Chairman Larry Henry in the Republican primary. Ms. Miller is running against John Allen Brooks, a former Democratic Party chairman. Ms. Miller, who has said Mr. James appeared more concerned with raising taxes than paying taxes, declined to comment further Thursday.
"Despite the mudslinging, I will continue in my fight to discuss the issues, supporting candidates who will fight for better education, jobs and health care," Mr. James said. "I believe the people of Hamilton County want to hear about the issues."
DERRYBERRY LEADS IN FUNDS
Republican Andy Derryberry leads the Hamilton County sheriff candidates in fund raising and spending, according to financial disclosure statements filed this week with the Hamilton County Election Commission.
Mr. Derryberry, who is running against incumbent John Cupp in the GOP primary, has raised $20,884 and spent $14,275, according to the April 10 disclosure statements.
Sheriff Cupp has $6,217 on hand. He raised no money during the last reporting period, which was from Jan. 1 to March 31. He did not spend any funds either, the disclosure statement shows.
Democratic candidate Billy Long raised and spent more than his primary opponent, according to disclosure statements. Mr. Long raised $15,365 this period and spent $8,460.
Democrat Hank DeArman raised $12,454 this period and spent $22, according to his statement.
Independent Dave Alverson has raised $4,820 and spent $1,514, his disclosure statement shows.
COFFEE WITH THE CANDIDATES
The public is invited to meet area candidates running in the May 2 county primary elections on Tuesday at Waterhouse Pavilion in Miller Plaza downtown.
Coffee with the Candidates will be held from 7 to 8:30 a.m.
and is sponsored by the Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association, WDEF News 12 and Sunny 92.3 FM.
The Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga will host a forum for the sheriff's race on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Read House downtown.
The public is invited to this event. To RSVP, call the Kiwanis office at 267-6568.
Compiled by staff writers Ian Berry, Michael Davis and Ginny LaRoe
E-mail Ian Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail Michael Davis at email@example.com
E-mail Ginny LaRoe at firstname.lastname@example.org