published Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Hamilton County to add 8 SROs with grant

  • photo
    Hamilton County Commissioners conduct business during a commission meeting in this file photo.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In other business, commissioners:

* Voted to confirm the reappointment of Tom Edd Wilson to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority Board of Trustees.

* Adopted an amendment to state law that will allow County Register of Deed Pam Hurst to use computer processing fees to pay for other office costs outside of computer upgrades and maintenance.

* Passed a resolution to jointly lease property owned with Chattanooga at 2029 East 23rd St. to the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 203.

* Accepted a $150,700 bid from Metro Services to install moisture and humidity controls at the county's Silverdale detention facility.

* Voted to name the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department's District station No. 3 the Barker-Gates Fire Station.

Commission's holiday schedule

The Hamilton County Commission will recess the remainder of its December meetings until Jan. 8, 2014. But if commissioners are needed to pass resolutions or release emergency funding, they will call a meeting during December.

Hamilton County commissioners accepted a federal grant that will put eight officers in county schools for the next four years. But the deal wasn't as good as commissioners first thought.

The $1 million U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing grant that commissioners accepted Wednesday will pay part of the salaries and equipment costs for the eight officers for three years, but the county would foot the bill for their fourth year of service.

That will cost local taxpayers nearly $1.3 million -- not including costs if the officers are kept after four years.

Commissioner Joe Graham, chairman of the commission's Finance Committee, said commissioners initially thought the grant would pay for more -- and the county would not be obligated to keep the officers a fourth year.

"It's still 1 million bucks, but it was presented to us initially to simplify it," Graham said. "This is one-time money. We are using our fund balance, but it's still a good deal to have the officers."

Chairman Fred Skillern said despite the unexpected cost, accepting the grant is a good move.

"It wasn't as good a deal as most grants are. It's still a good deal and everything, but it wasn't even in the top 10 for what you usually get," Skillern said.

Sheriff Jim Hammond, who presented the grant proposal, said the officers would first staff schools that have lost officers over the years because of shrinking budgets, and then they would go to the schools that have "had the most problems."

The commission also passed a series of resolutions to continue an effort to remove duplicate street names in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Commissioners voted to amend the regional addressing policy, to enter an interlocal agreement with Chattanooga and the 911 Emergency Communications District and to accept a $923,654 contract with GeoComm to analyze and verify addresses.

Mayor Jim Coppinger said sometimes residents get upset when they learn their address or street name has to change, but he stressed changes are important for public safety.

He said because there are duplicate or similar street names in different parts of the county and city, police, fire and emergency medical staff sometimes arrive at the wrong locations in emergencies.

He also said there will be an appeals committee for people who do not want their street names or addresses to change.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 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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