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Hamilton County Commissioners listen as Mayor Jim Coppinger presents his fiscal year 2020 budget during a budget workshop at Hamilton County's McDaniel Building on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Coppinger is requesting additional funding for public safety and schools in his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger unveiled the county's proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 at workshop Tuesday.

Here are ten things to know about the proposed budget.

 

1. Mayor Jim Coppinger is asking for a 34 cent property tax rate increase to partially fund an increase for public education.

After weeks of speculation that the mayor would ask for a 49 cent hike, with 34 cents going to Hamilton County Schools and 15 cents going to general county government, the reveal during the budget workshop is a smaller ask.

 

2. The tax hike does not include increases for general county government services or other agencies.

"Today, we've got a lot of news," Coppinger said during his presentation. "We have totally backed off the other 15 cents that have been talked about. This budget is really about the 34 cents for education."

 

3. The tax rate increase is a 13% increase for property owners.

The average citizen who owns a home with a property value of $150,00 will see a $10.63 increase per month and a $127.50 increase per year. A home with a property value of $250,000 would see a $17.71 increase per month and a $212.50 increase per year.

 

4. The 2020 budget is an 8.7% increase over 2019's budget.

The $819,187,740 budget is $65 million more than last year's $753,930,953 budget. The county's 2020 budget includes general funds, debt service funds, special revenue funds for the sheriff's office, the hotel/motel fund and the county school district's budget.

 

5. Of that $65 million, the majority of the request is for Hamilton County Schools.

Superintendent Bryan Johnson and the Board of Education proposed a $443 million general purpose budget, with a request for $34 million in additional funding from the county. Of the $65 million, all but $5 million will go to public education. The additional $26 million includes federal and state funding on top of the district's $34 million request.

 

6. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office will also see an increase of more than $5 million.

Coppinger said the Sheriff Jim Hammond had "won the lottery" in the budget, with most of his requests being granted.

 

7. Many Hamilton County employees, including law enforcement officers and school district employees, will be getting pay raises, ranging from 2.5 to 5%.

Hamilton County Schools certified staff, including teachers, would see a 5% pay bump, with classified staff receiving 4%. Sworn sheriff officer would see a 5% bump with the possibility of other increases thanks to wage compression. County general employees would receive a 2.5% raise.

 

8. Capital projects took the biggest hit, with a $4.8 million cut.

The mayor's team cut about $13.5 million from requested budgets in the proposed budget. Capital outlay projects took the biggest hit, with only $7.5 million worth of projects getting funding.

 

9. Other agencies outside of the sheriff's office and the school district also had unfulfilled requests or cuts.

Outside of capital outlay, the county's Public Works division sees the biggest hit - $1.5 million. The mental health court, general services and other agencies like CARTA or the Enterprise Center's request for additional funding also weren't granted.

 

10. The County Commission will have at least 21 days to consider the budget, with a vote expected on June 26.

Thanks to a resolution introduced by District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd in March, a potential tax increase requires two readings at consecutive agenda sessions before a vote.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.

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