This story was updated with additional information on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, at 7:18 p.m.
Chattanooga City Council members unanimously approved Tuesday the city budget for fiscal year 2021-22, including significant pay raises for many city employees.
The approved budget includes a $30 million compensation increase plan for public employees, like police and firefighters, funded by projected increases in property tax revenue.
"I want to thank Chattanooga City Council for their leadership on getting this done for our essential workers, our first responders, and our residents. Now we're ready to get to work," said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly in a statement. "The steady leadership of Budget Committee Chairwoman Carol Berz provided our residents and stakeholders with an inclusive, thoughtful, and effective budget process that helped make our budget better.
"I also want to thank our essential workers and first responders who stepped into the gap for all of us during this unprecedented global pandemic. We owe you a great debt. We can do big things together, Chattanooga. This is just the first step, but it's an important one."
Other highlights of the budget, included in a press release from the city, include:
- $1.2 million to create a crisis response program
- $5 million in public safety capital investments
- $10 million for public works paving program
- $1.8 million for sidewalk construction and repair
- $3.5 million for infrastructure to support economic development in East Chattanooga
- $7 million to "transform" the city's Youth and Family Development Community centers
Among other additions, the budget also creates new offices of community health and of equity and community engagement.
The budget was approved initially by the city council on a first vote unanimously earlier in the month. It includes a property tax rate of $2.25 per $100 in a home's assessed value, which the city estimates will provide a $30 million increase in revenue.
This is a developing story. Stay with the Times Free Press for updates.