Chattanooga City Council votes to double sites for early voting

photo The Chattanooga City Council is pictured in this file photo.


The City Council will hold a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council building to discuss the Chattanooga Village Highway 153 plan. The $100 million mixed-use site was approved this week by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. It will go before the council in upcoming weeks. Many community members have opposed the proposed development.

The Chattanooga City Council approved early voting sites for the next city election in an 8-0 vote Tuesday night, doubling the number of satellite sites.

The council approved having the Hamilton County Election Commission open as an early voting location, and four satellite sites -- Brainerd Recreation Center, Northgate Mall, Bethlehem Center in St. Elmo and a location in Lookout Valley.

Councilman Russell Gilbert brought up the idea of opening a third satellite location, saying that many elderly and handicapped people would have problems going to Amnicola Highway if they lived in the southern part of the city.

"If we're going to take it to three, I'd like to take it to four and put one in Lookout Valley," said Councilwoman Deborah Scott.

Councilman Peter Murphy said he had been told the cost of setting up two Hamilton County election sites would be $3,000 to $4,000.

The cost of the March 2013 election is projected to be about $130,000 without early voting sites.

Councilman Manny Rico asked if the additional money for the additional election sites was within the city's budget.

"I don't think three to four thousand is going to capsize the ship of city government," Murphy replied.

The Hamilton County Election Commission had requested a week ago that no early voting sites be opened because of low voter turnout. But voter records show a third of the city's voters voted early during the last election.

In other news, the City Council voted 6-2 to approve on first reading changes to the City Charter that would eliminate some archaic language.

City officials said examples of the language include the mayor being allowed to have a city band.

Scott objected to approving the ordinance now, saying she wanted the city's judges to have time to read over the changes.

The council will vote on the measure again next Tuesday during its regularly scheduled business meeting.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at or 423-757-6480. Follow him at or