The Chattanooga City Council voted 5-3 Tuesday to approve funding to design a downtown police precinct.
Councilmen Russell Gilbert and Peter Murphy and Councilwoman Deborah Scott voted not to spend $77,500 to on designs for renovating a building at the old Farmers Market on 11th Street.
City officials have said the precinct would house bicycle patrol officers and other officers who patrol downtown.
Scott said the precinct could cost as much as $700,000 to $800,000.
"That is a significant bike rack," Scott said. "You can build a portable [building] for less than that."
But Councilman Jack Benson said the city needs a downtown precinct given the rash of shootings in recent months. The city closed a precinct on Walnut Street early in 2010, newspaper archives show.
Councilwoman Carol Berz said a precinct in her district at Eastgate Mall shut down two years ago. She voted for the downtown project in hopes that other precincts could follow across the city.
"Maybe if we vote for this first step, maybe things will change," she said.
PRAISE FOR SALES-TAX PRESENTATION
Council members praised Scott on Tuesday for her presentation to the public about the city-county sales-tax agreement.
Scott held a public forum with neighborhood associations about letting the sales-tax agreement expire. Her presentation included numbers associated with what she says is unfair taxation to city residents.
Council members said the presentation was clear and succinct.
"Mrs. Scott will be available anytime and give you an education on sales tax," Councilman Jack Benson joked. "You need to go on a road show."
EXPLORERS POST 2070 PLACES 2ND
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Explorer Post 2070 recently traveled to Lawrenceville, Ga. and placed second in the "Unknown Trouble" competition, according to a statement.
The youth auxiliary was among 15 from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina participating in the event, sponsored by the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
The competition focused on law enforcement skills, which include high-risk stops, DUI stops, unknown trouble scenarios, warrant service and domestic violence, according to the statement.
The youth group, which is overseen by Deputy Eddie Sledge, trains once a month to prepare for competitions. Some of the teens will go on to pursue careers in law enforcement.