published Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Hamilton County Commission expected to OK $642.3 million budget

Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry
Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Hamilton County commissioners are set to vote today on a $642.3 million budget that includes a 3 percent across-the-board raise for county workers.

The budget County Mayor Jim Coppinger proposed two weeks ago doesn't call for a tax increase but does raise fees on county ambulance transports by 45 percent to help stem recent losses from the service.

"We're hopeful it's going to be real smooth in the morning," Coppinger said Wednesday. "There have been commissioners that have made calls to the finance office. We've talked to a couple of people, but it's just points of clarification, not any points of concern."

Commission Chairman Larry Henry doesn't anticipate any major hurdles, either.

"I think it will be a relatively simple," he said. "I think any of the questions any of them have had, they've been answered."

Today's meeting will be the first since two residents filed suit earlier this month, seeking a federal order to stop commission prayers. Residents Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones on Sunday filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which would temporarily require commissioners to refrain from prayers until a court has a chance to decide the case.

No hearing has been held on the matter, which is before U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice.

"We're going to, unless something happens, I'm sure we'll continue on the way we've done in the past unless we do get a court-ordered injunction to stop it," Henry said. "We're going to try to have a policy in place pretty soon; we'll have something in place for the that in the next meeting or two."

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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