City moves ahead on 'regional' authority

City moves ahead on 'regional' authority

January 23rd, 2013 by Cliff Hightower in Local Regional News

Chattanooga City Council chairman Pam Ladd

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

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The City Council voted 8-0 to move forward with a city-county indoor firing range in the area of the old Farmer's Market. The County Commission approved the range last week. Contractors are expected to break ground on the $4 million range as early as March.

The Chattanooga City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday night to create the new Moccasin Bend Cleanwater Authority, a conglomeration of the city's sewer and water quality departments.

Mayor Ron Littlefield had been pushing for the authority for more than two months. The vote took place with no debate. Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd voted against creating the authority, while Councilwoman Deborah Scott was absent.

"I feel like we needed a lot more discussion on how it's going to be," she said after the council meeting.

She said she had not heard any plans on the managerial structure of the authority and wanted more input on how it would save taxpayer money.

Littlefield exited the council chambers within minutes after the vote and could not be reached for comment.

"The mayor will just put everything in place now and move forward with the decision," said Richard Beeland, Littlefield's spokesman.

The mayor has promoted the authority for two months, saying it would be patterned after other quasi-governmental authorities like EPB and the Chattanooga Airport Authority. Details have yet to come on how it will be developed.

Also, the City Council decided Tuesday that it would not allow an agency appeal from the Orange Grove Center for a funding request. Orange Grove missed a December deadline, and the council debated during its Legal and Legislative Committee meeting whether to allow the 60-year-old agency to submit a request of $32,000.

Councilmen Peter Murphy and Manny Rico and Councilwoman Sally Robinson agreed the agency should be allowed.

But other council members said there should not be leniency on deadlines.

The agency still will have the chance to go to the new mayor and request funding for next fiscal year's budget.