Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield introduced a resolution to the Chattanooga City Council today which calls on the Hamilton County Commission to establish Fire Tax Districts as provided by Tennessee state law. Currently, Hamilton County fire protection is funded through the county's general fund. State law authorizes the county legislative body to provide for the equitable funding of fire services through the establishment of one or more fire tax districts and the levying of an annual fire tax on those properties in unincorporated portions of the county. Incorporated municipalities, such as Chattanooga, Red Bank, and East Ridge, provide fire protection to residents within their borders. Residents of those same municipalities also shoulder the unfair burden of having to fund a portion of fire protection in the unincorporated areas in the county. "It's only fair that residents receiving those services in the county pay for those services," said Mayor Littlefield. "Residents of Chattanooga, as well as other municipalities in the county, continue to subsidize services in the county with our county tax dollars. "
County Commissioners recently passed a resolution condemning the City of Chattanooga for initiating annexation proceedings saying, "Annexation would not provide those communities with any substantial services and benefits that are presently unavailable to them." Mayor Littlefield responded by stating, "That's just not true. We're already providing an unfair share of services in the county that would not be available if it were not for the inequitable tax burden placed on city residents by the county."
Mayor Littlefield called on the county commission to take action and equitably fund services for unincorporated areas of the county through local implementation of State Law instead of imposing double-taxation on municipal residents.
Below is the full text of the Resolution:
A RESOLUTION RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THAT THE HAMILTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TAKE ACTION TO EQUITABLY FUND SERVICES FOR UNINCORPORATED AREAS OF THE COUNTY THROUGH LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION OF EXISTING TENNESSEE STATE LAW.
WHEREAS, The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners has adopted Resolution Number 1009-21 expressing disapproval with the City of Chattanooga's actions to annex certain areas within Hamilton County; and
WHEREAS, The text of the resolution states, in part, "that said annexation would not provide those communities with any substantial services and benefits that are presently unavailable to them", and
WHEREAS, Provision of adequate services and the equitable sharing of financial responsibility is a critical issue to be considered in providing for the growth and development of the entire Chattanooga area including those areas proposed for annexation and other areas within municipal growth boundaries in Hamilton County, and
WHEREAS, Among other measures, Tennessee State Law, T.C.A. §§ 5-17-101, et seq., specifically authorizes the county legislative body to provide for the equitable funding of fire services through the establishment of one or more fire tax districts and the levying of an annual fire tax on those properties in unincorporated portions of the county.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, That the City Council does hereby respectfully request that the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners take long-overdue action to begin to equitably fund services for unincorporated areas of the County through local implementation of existing provisions of Tennessee State Law.
ADOPTED: ____________________, 2009