Council moving to fund agencies

Council moving to fund agencies

June 1st, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News


The following are agencies left out of the mayor's proposed budget next fiscal year:

* Partnership for Families, Children and Adults

* Chattanooga Furniture Bank

* OnPoint

* Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter

* The Team Centers/Team Evaluation

* Fortwood Center

* Joe Johnson Mental Health

* Speech and Hearing Center

* Finley Stadium

The City Council took tentative steps Tuesday to restore some funding to most of the agencies not included in Mayor Ron Littlefield's 2011-12 fiscal year budget.

But how much and who gets what is yet to be determined.

Council members spent two hours Tuesday morning in a budget workshop session ironing out agency funding.

"I think we all need to come back to the table with our proposals," Councilwoman Pam Ladd said just before the meeting concluded.

Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the council's budget and finance committee, told council members at the outset that because the county would charge only a 1 percent collection fee of sales tax then the city would receive back about $365,000 to distribute to agencies.

The agencies previously received money through the 45-year-old sales-tax agreement. But since that expired last week, the city now gains about $10 million it will dole out to agencies.

The county previously said it may have to charge 2 percent for collection of the tax, but backed off last week, saying it would be 1 percent.

Council members said Tuesday they would like to see a rape crisis center for the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults. They also said they would like to restore some funding for the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter.

Councilwoman Deborah Scott proposed also cutting other agencies such as Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, WTCI-TV, Choose Chattanooga and Friends of Moccasin Bend to help get more funding for some of the agencies that had not been funded in the mayor's budget.

But she said many agencies should be told not to expect funding next year.

"My suggestion is we provide a small cushion for next year," she said.

Phil Acord, executive director for the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter, sat in the audience listening to the council.

He had proposed a budget of more than $400,000 and council members suggested his organization possibly could receive about $227,000.

Acord said the loss of the money would hurt.

"That's certainly a whole lot better than zero," he said.

The council will meet again 11 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the city's budget and agency funding.