published Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Vote expected on Chattanooga city budget next week


by Cliff Hightower
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    Council member Sally Robinson
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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The City Council will vote on the first reading of the city’s budget ordinance next Tuesday during its regularly scheduled business meeting. The council will then vote on the second reading on Tuesday, July 12.

The City Council will vote next week on a $201 million budget for the city.

But that budget will not include almost $20 million for once jointly-funded agencies. Instead council members plan to discuss more in-depth how those agencies should be funded.

“We can’t have the budget held hostage,” said Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Committee.

The City Council has been meeting for almost a month discussing the budget. Most of the talk has been centered around how to fund several nonprofit and quasi-governmental agencies once covered under the city and county’s 45-year-old sales tax agreement.

That agreement has expired, and the city has chosen to take the $10.5 million in sales tax it once handed over to the county and use it to fund some agencies.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson handed council members a document Tuesday during a budget workshop that helped restore funding to several mental health providers who had been cut from the proposed budget a few weeks ago.

The money to help fund these agencies came from the council agreeing not to fund a government TV channel through WTCI-Channel 45.

Robinson told council members “we need to pass a budget” and said she knows the amounts did not add up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in requests agencies did turn in.

“I believe everyone will agree half is better than none,” she said.

But other council members said they still have questions concerning the amounts of money given to some agencies. Councilwoman Pam Ladd said she questioned appropriations to some of the quasi-governmental bodies. Dan Johnson, chief of staff for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said there were questions about how much funding should be given to Finley Stadium and Greater Chattanooga Sports and Events.

“It’s our philosophy they should be funded through the hotel-motel tax,” he said.

The council plans to ask questions of the administration over the next few weeks about agencies and then vote on a budget with the agencies attached to it by the second reading on July 12.

“We’d probably have that solidified by the 12th,” Johnson said.

Contact Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CliffHightower.

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harrystatel said...

Another Chattanooga government boondoggle. City officials have recommended a $328,000 update to the city's website, chattanooga.gov.

http://bit.ly/jMuyoQ

Where were the bids? Who made the decision? Another "Rocky Raccoon" moment for Littlefield and his host of parasites?

"Grease" is the word! $328,000.00 buys a lot of grease in Chattanooga.

"Maycreate" or "MayNOTcreate"-but the taxpayers still foot the bill.

Harry Statel

June 22, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
dg07102 said...

If the city of Chattanooga needs to tightening its financial belt, why the city would send three internal auditors from Chattanooga to attend a week long fraud conference in San Diego, CA? Are they all CFE (Certified Fraud Examiners) to earn there CPE credits?

June 22, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
fedup350 said...

This is unbelievable! How do the citizens of Chattanooga stand for such gross incompetence? Littlefield said he was saving the City $400,000 dollars by taking away the take home cars from the Police. Undermining the morale of the Police Officers and further reducing the effectiveness of the Police Dept which in turn directly affects the safety of the citizens of Chattanooga. Less Police presence means more crime. But never fear. Littlefield and the wise old City Council members will make you taxpaying citizens safer and more secure in your homes by spending that savings ($326,000) on updating the City's website. Simply unbelievable!!!! I wonder whose pockets are getting lined with this deal? What is wrong you you city council members???

June 22, 2011 at 7:40 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Mr. Littlefield likes to have his cake and eat it too. His legacy will go down as him being the worst mayor of the city of Chattanooga EVER!!

June 22, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
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