published Friday, March 11th, 2011

Hamilton County Commission open to considering David Brainerd School purchase


by Dan Whisenhunt
  • photo
    In this file photo, Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry participates in a county commission meeting at the courthouse.
    Staff File Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press

County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said it’s possible the County Commission will step in to purchase the David Brainerd School site after the school board on Thursday said it no longer has the money to buy it.

Gary Waters, assistant superintendent of auxiliary services, said today the school board on Feb. 14 made a $3.4 million offer to Capital Mark Bank for the property as part of a plan to alleviate school overcrowding.

School board approval is not needed for the school system to make an offer on the property. However, board approval is required for the purchase, school board chairman Everett Fairchild said.

The Feb. 14 offer came after County Commissioners decided to withhold money generated by payment in lieu of taxes agreements and hold it in an escrow account. The county intends to use the money for new school construction, and Henry said today that it is likely the county will use the money for that purpose even though the issue is still under discussion. The schools system had planned to use $6 million generated by Volkswagen to balance its budget.

If the county were to buy the property for the school systems, it would have to come from PILOT money, Henry said.

“That would be the only place it could come from,” Henry said.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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