18-Cent Property Tax Hike On Its Way In Cleveland; City Will Not Accept Stray County Animals

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - by Sarah Ruf

The Cleveland City Council approved the proposed 2014 budget Monday, essentially guaranteeing a 18.5-cent property tax increase for the upcoming fiscal year.

Nearly half of that increase will pay for maintaining and adding police and fire officers to their respective forces. The city will add six new police officers.

“I think that’s money well spent to make sure people are safe in their homes,” said Councilman Richard Banks, in favor of the budget.

The council voted 6-1 to pass the budget. Councilman Charlie McKenzie voted no in opposition to the tax increase.

The debate continued regarding Bradley County’s decision to modify its animal control contract with the city.

The council rejected the proposed three-year contract from Bradley County to accept animals into its city shelter while eliminating the county’s vehicle-related expenses.

Councilman Banks motioned to send back a new proposal offering a one-year contract, with the amount of animals assisted to be determined based the previous year’s audited numbers.

That measure failed 3-4.

Now the county will stop its pickup service after July 1, and the city shelter will not be able to accept animals from the county. Rescuers will have to provide proof they are city residents or that the animal was found in the city.

“We are really messing up our goal of a no-kill shelter. It’s a shame,” Mayor Tom Rowland said. “It’s a sad day for animals in our community.”

“It could be a good day for animals if Bradley County steps up and does what they are supposed to do,” Councilman Bill Estes said.

The council also voted 5-1 to rescind their two-week-old approval of a bid by BB&T after some confusion with the language of the bid and listening to representatives from BB&T and Bank of Cleveland. 

Commissioners discussed the options of locking in an interest rate for the whole year or one adjusted more frequently.

“This doesn’t smell right, it doesn’t sound right,“ Councilman Estes said before he voted no.  Speculating on what interest rates will be in a year is like navel-gazing, he said.

Councilman McKenzie abstained from the vote.

All four original bank bidders will come to the June 26 meeting to present their bids once more.

City Attorney John Kimball told the commission he recommended staying with the already-approved contract with BB&T, keeping in mind a 90-day clause available to use if the council wanted to readjust interest rates in the next few months.

In other news, Mayor Rowland suggested it is time for an audit of the two cable providers in the city, ATT and Charter.

The next council meeting will be June 17 at 3 p.m.

You can reach Sarah Ruf at sarahruf@yahoo.com.




Firefighters Battle Hard To Access Trailer Fire Monday Afternoon

Chattanooga Fire Department was dispatched to 955 O'Grady Dr. at 2:45 p.m. on Monday on multiple reports of a structure fire. A heavy black column of smoke could be seen from Highway 27 as firetrucks from downtown Station 1 responded around the river. Upon arrival, it was discovered that the fully-engulfed structure was an occupied residence sitting close to a quarter of mile ... (click for more)

Corker, Perdue Back Trump Plan On Afghanistan

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he supports President Donald J. Trump’s stance on the way forward in Afghanistan.   Senator Corker said, “I had the opportunity to talk with Secretary Tillerson in advance of this evening’s address, and while I look forward to receiving additional details, I support the direction President ... (click for more)

The Soul Of Chattanooga Is In Trouble

As a child growing up in the Chattanooga area, at an early age I became fascinated with the history that cloaks the city. In those days there was enough pollution to cover the town and its history but that didn't stop tourists from coming to visit Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the Chickamauga battlefield.     Chattanooga's leadership was not very far sighted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Writing From Bragg Avenue

Far and away, my favorite comment on destroying statues appeared on my Facebook page the other day and, believe it or not, it was the clear-minded Times Free Press Sports Editor Stephen Hargis who penned, “This statue offends me! It must be torn down!” Underneath his fiery words, the long-suffered UT football fan posted a picture of the bronze monument outside of Bryant-Denny stadium ... (click for more)

No. 25 Vols Work On Situational Football On Monday

Tennessee held Monday morning's fall camp practice at Neyland Stadium as coach Burch Jones and the Vols, who are ranked No. 25 in the preseason Associated Press poll, focused on situational football. "Right now, we have to have the discipline to execute," Jones said. "Football is too hard of a game as it is from the technical aspect of things, from fundamentals, effort ... (click for more)

UTC's Mueller Named SoCon Soccer Player Of The Week

 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Jordan Mueller (Hendersonville, Tenn.) was named the Southern Conference women's soccer Player of the Week the league office announced Tuesday.   Mueller led the Mocs to a season opening win over Austin Peay with two goals and an assist on the game winner. She leads Chattanooga in scoring with five points. She has six ... (click for more)