The cost of annexing areas in and around Cummings Cove would run about $340,000, city officials said Tuesday night.
One resident of the area said he would like to see more details than that.
“I saw no projected expenses,” said Clay Crumbliss. “There’s no budget I could see showing the costs versus the revenues.”
The Chattanooga City Council held its first in a series of public hearings over the next two months on annexation Tuesday night in the City Council chambers, specifically looking at the proposed annexation of Cummings Cove. About 50 people showed up, almost all in opposition.
Staff Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson Residents opposed to annexation of the Cummings Cove area raise their hands Tuesday night at the Chattanooga City Council meeting.
It is the second step in the city’s annexation efforts. The first step happened last month when the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency voted that the city’s plan of services was “reasonable.” The next step will occur next week when the City Council will vote on annexing Cummings Cove and the areas of Ramsgate and Big Ridge Road. Those proposed annexations will have public hearings Thursday night.
Two people addressed the council Tuesday night about the annexation of Cummings Cove. Mr. Crumbliss told council members he wasn’t necessarily against annexation, but he wanted to have more information on the costs.
Bob Perlaky, manager of Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground, said he had concerns about the city annexing West Hills Road that leads to the camp site. He said his fears were that the city would try and put a sewer system into the area, disrupting the wildlife that lives in the Raccoon Mountain Caverns.
“We don’t want a sanitary sewer anywhere near that cave,” he said. “There’s a lot of environmental issues because of that cave.”
City officials said Tuesday night during the meeting that the Cummings Cove area would need about $314,000 in sewer improvements and $24,000 in road improvements. City Police Chief Freeman Cooper said the area was small enough that current police protection could suffice.
“We’ll be able to absorb any calls of service for the 95 homes,” he said.
Fire Chief Randy Parker said a new fire station equipped with a ladder truck would be placed in the area.
“Where does this area get its fire protection right now?” Councilman Jack Benson asked.
“There is no written agreement that anyone can produce,” Chief Parker said. “There’s no fire service.”
The council will vote on annexing the area next week.
Kyle Holden, president of Hamilton County Residents Ågainst Annexation, said after the meeting he was surprised more people did not show up in opposition.
“I’m disappointed in the turnout,” he said. “Regardless of what section the city is talking about, we need to show our solidarity.”
Mr. Holden’s group filed a lawsuit against the city last week regarding not receiving information requested by the city within seven days. Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett wrote in a Sept. 11 letter sent to the anti-annexation group and its lawyer, Gary Starnes, that it would take at least 30 days to fulfill the request.
The group asked for 15 specific records in connection with annexation, which they say is financially unsound.
The Chattanooga City Council will hold another public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday at the City Council building on the proposed annexation of Ramsgate subdivision and the Big Ridge Road areas.
“I have requested each department head to provide estimates of the amounts of documents which you have requested, and the staff time necessary to gather such documents,” Mr. Noblett wrote.
Mr. Starnes wrote an answer back on Tuesday saying Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation wanted the information before the start of any public hearings.
“The contents of your letter clearly serve the purpose of delaying and stalling my client’s efforts,” Mr. Starnes wrote.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday in Chancery Court.