District 1 City Council member Deborah Scott on Monday described herself as a "cranky guard dog of taxpayer funds" and said more such "cranky people" are needed on the City Council.
In a speech to the Pachyderm Club, she said she is urging many candidates to run for both mayor of Chattanooga and for the council in the election next March - "including someone running against me."
Ms. Scott said she is watchful of city spending "because I know what people have to do in order to be able to pay their taxes."
The former teacher and then nurse said she became "cantankerous" by growing up with a group of brothers and fiscally conservative because her Scotch-Irish mother was so tight.
She said she kept an eye on city government from 2005-2008 when an economic downturn was looming "and not one proposal was rejected. Some of them should have been."
When the recession hit, she said, "the solution at the City Council was a property tax increase."
Ms. Scott said, "The roads in Chattanooga in many places are abysmal." She said the city commissioned three costly studies over 3-4 years "to find out what we already knew." She said the recommendation was for the city to spend $5 million per year on repairing roads, but she said that was trimmed to $1.7 million.
Yet, she said, the City Council "approved $9 million in tax funds to build a road up Aetna Mountain" through a Tax Increment Financing plan. She said, "Developers usually build their own roads."
Ms. Scott said 1,400 homes are planned on top of Aetna Mountain, but she said the city is already having major problems with its sewer system - "without tapping on 1,400 more."
She said, "A city that only spends $1.7 million a year on its roads should not be building a $9 million road for a developer."
Ms. Scott said a project to build a filter press plant at the Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant has taken 10 years and cost $15 million. Yet, she said the City Council did not raise questions about the project.
She said the plant still does not meet standards to produce a grade A fertilizer as was promised.
Ms. Scott also mentioned the $1.7 million spent to fix problems at The Passage at the riverfront and said another $7.8 million has been budgeted for problems at The Hard Edge at Ross's Landing.
She said council members are needed "who will ask questions and who won't rubber stamp" administration proposals.