Now's the time to speak up about next year's Chattanooga budget

Now's the time to speak up about next year's Chattanooga budget

November 12th, 2018 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks on March 15 at EPB headquarters in downtown Chattanooga.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

If there's something you want to see in Chattanooga's budget next year, now's the time to say so.

The Chattanooga mayor's office will hold three sessions in the next several days for city residents to ask questions and make suggestions as part of the annual Budgeting for Outcomes process.

That's the method Mayor Andy Berke's office has used since the 2014 budget to allocate money according to his priorities: High Performing Government, Growing Economy, Stronger Neighborhoods, Safer Streets, and Smarter Students & Stronger Families.

IF YOU GO

Public input sessions on Chattanooga’s Budgeting for Outcomes process:

› Wednesday: 5:30-7 p.m. at First-Centenary United Methodist Church on Oak Street Center for City Council districts 7, 8 and 9

› Thursday: 5:30-7 p.m. at Hixson Youth and Family Development center, 5400 School Drive, for districts 1, 2 and 3

› Nov. 19: 5:30-7 p.m. at the Family Justice Center, 5705 Uptain Road

"This budget is created to better the lives of Chattanoogans and break down any barriers that keep them from living the lives they want," Berke said in a news release. "We can't do this without hearing directly from neighborhoods and engaged community members."

The mayor and staff say the zero-based Budgeting for Outcomes process means that all areas of city spending must further those defined priorities.

This year's $262 million budget boosts families and neighborhoods with investments in affordable housing, early learning, public safety and infrastructure.

The city budgeted for 14 more firefighters and boosted street paving and improvements to almost $6 million. The budget includes a promise to develop 1,000 high-quality early learning slots for young children and a funding increase for Baby University for new parents, as well as $1 million for affordable housing. And it includes money for ex-offender training and development and an internship program for Howard School students with the Lookout Mountain Conservancy.

The public input sessions will be held Wednesday for residents in City Council districts 7, 8 and 9; Thursday for those in districts 1, 2 and 3, and Nov. 19 for districts 4, 5 and 6.

City residents also are invited to serve on "results teams" that will evaluate the offers and ideas submitted for funding consideration and serve as decision makers in the budgeting process, according to the city news release.

The deadline to apply to serve on a result team is Nov. 30. Apply online at chattanooga.gov/boards-commissions.

To learn more, visit BFO.Chattanooga.gov.