published Friday, August 30th, 2013

Hamilton County to tackle credit line, leave time, leadership

  • photo
    Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger comments on a portion of his budget to county commissioners in this file photo.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In other business, commissioners voted to consider:

* Rezoning property at 8600 North Hickory Valley Road from R-2A rural residential to R-3 apartment townhouse district.

* Accepting a $61,697 bid for rust removal from cell walls at the county's Silverdale facility.

* Donating jointly owned property on Moccasin Bend to the U.S. National Park Service for inclusion into the Moccasin Bend National Archaeological District. The city of Chattanooga voted Tuesday to donate its portion.

* Accepting a three-year proposal from First Tennessee Bank to place ATMs in the Hamilton County Courthouse and the City-County Courts Building.

Hamilton County commissioners next week will vote on an agreement for a $90 million credit line, a proposed policy to allow county employees to swap paid leave time in emergencies and elect their new leadership.

The commission's finance committee Thursday supported an agreement with U.S. Bank National Association to open a $90 million credit line. The line of credit is to be used for public works projects on an as-needed basis.

Mayor Jim Coppinger cited the $1.3 million in repairs to the W Road in April as an example of the kind of project for which the line might be used in the future.

Commissioners last month tabled an initial resolution to seek the credit line after some felt that a 12 percent upper limit interest rate on the coupon rate to sell the bonds was steep. But after hearing from county staff and a contracted financial analyst, the commission later passed the resolution 8-1, with Commission Fred Skillern voting no.

On Thursday, Skillern, finance committee chairman, was in favor of the agreement.

Commissioners also will consider a change to the county's employee handbook that would allow employees to transfer paid medical and family leave time to other workers whose leave time had run out.

Human Resource Director Leslie Longshore told commissioners the change would allow employees who have accrued more than 240 hours of paid leave to transfer that time to other employees who face illness or family issues that require them to miss work. But the transfer would only happen after the ill employee had used up all of his or her own sick time and paid leave.

Coppinger said employees who run out of paid leave would have to qualify for medical and family leave and also have to go a week without pay before qualifying. He said the benefit is mainly for "catastrophic illness."

"I think this is not something you'll see utilized frequently but ... this is a way to help employees that have a catastrophic event occur either to them as an individual or to a family member," Coppinger said.

The commission is expected to vote on the resolution next week.

Also on Wednesday, Commissioner Larry Henry will pass the gavel as chairman and a new leader will be elected. A new vice chairman will also be elected, who may or may not replace Commissioner Fred Skillern.

Henry has served as chairman for the past five sessions, and has led the body for a total of three terms.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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