Chattanooga library begins new leadership

Chattanooga library begins new leadership

August 17th, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News

Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Kara Grooms, left, sits next to Patrick Hook as she uses one of the public computers at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Public Library to help in her job search.

Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press...


The City Council approved new members of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library Board Tuesday night. The new members are:

* Herbert Cohn

* Tom Griscom

* Mai Bell Hurley

* Jim Kennedy III

* Chrystal Partridge

* Karen McMahon

* Theresa Liedtka

Source: City of Chattanooga

Chattanooga abolished the former joint city-county library board Tuesday night, then established a city-only library board within a matter of minutes.

Councilwoman Deborah Scott, though, opposed both actions, saying the city needed to pull back on the reins of establishing a board without thorough vetting.

"It's a little too late," Scott said.

The council voted 7-1 to abolish the previous board and later approved the nominations of a new seven-member board on the same 7-1 vote. Scott voted no both times.

The moves come months after the expiration of a 45-year-old sales tax agreement between Chattanooga and Hamilton County. The agreement spelled out how the city and the county broke down their financial responsibilities for agencies jointly funded by the pair. The city decided not to renew the agreement.

Afterward, the city took complete control of funding of the library, so Mayor Ron Littlefield decided the city should form a city-only board.

But Scott said she never had received resumes of those nominated to the board and also said there should be stipulations in the new ordinance that anyone who lives outside the city should pay fees for the library system's services.

Littlefield told Scott the new library board would have the final determination on any fees.

"I think they fully understand those who live outside the city will pay something," he said.

Scott said she still felt uncomfortable with the language.

"I don't want to get back to that issue of subsidizing something on the backs of city taxpayers," she said.

In other business:

* The council approved 8-0 the rezoning of Cambridge Square, a mixed-use community in Ooltewah, to an urban general commercial zone. The development will have commercial office space, retail space and residential space.

* The council voted 7-1 to approve selling three properties on McCallie and Central avenues for $201,000 to be used by a private developer to build housing for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students. Scott voted no.

* The council voted 6-2 to defer for 60 days a proposed ethanol plant off Enterprise Drive after questions were raised about potential environmental concerns and whether it would affect neighborhoods in the Brainerd community. Councilwoman Carol Berz and Councilman Russell Gilbert voted no on the deferral, saying they wanted to kill the measure altogether.