Coppinger Presents No-Tax-Increase Budget; Includes No Employee Pay Increases, Step Down From "Cadillac" Insurance Plan

Thursday, June 13, 2013

County Mayor Jim Coppinger on Thursday morning presented a $197.4 million no-tax-increase budget to the County Commission that includes no employee pay increases and a step down from the current "Cadillac" insurance plan.

He said recent new county employees have been placed on a co-insurance plan, while longer term employees were on a more lucrative co-pay plan. He said all will be shifted to co-insurance.

County Mayor Coppinger said employees would not notice much difference in doctor visits, but would be on an 80/20 plan for more serious health treatment.

He said under the Affordable Health Care Plan if the county stayed with its "Cadillac" plan it would be penalized starting in 2018.

He said the new plan "is still good. It's better than the normal plan in the public sector."

County Mayor Coppinger said it will still be necessary to take $3.7 million from the $107.7 million county fund balance to cover rising insurance costs. The new fund balance (rainy day fund) stands at $104 million.

There are no new hires in the budget except for three that were mandated by the state to bring the medical examiner's officer up to standard. It will be getting two new investigators and another office employee. The rise in that budget is $218,399.

A Crisis Intervention Team members at the sheriff's office will be retained, though a grant to cover that cost is running out. However, a position is being eliminated in public works.

County Mayor Coppinger said Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell is keeping $400,000 in her excess fees accounts. Commissioner Joe Graham said he understood this was being used for employee raises. He asked what would happen when the excess fees run out. Officials said Ms. Tidwell would have to come back to the commission to ask for more money.

County Mayor Coppinger praised County Clerk Bill Knowles for turning over an additional $600,000 in excess fees and Register of Deeds Pam Hurst and Trustee Bill Hullander $300,000 additional each.

He said there is about one percent growth in the property tax, yielding about $1.7 million in new revenue. He said the excess fees were up nine percent.

The sheriff's budget is being cut by $300,000 despite a request for a large increase. The county mayor said the budget includes money for 30 new patrol cars and for equipping them and providing new radios. The sheriff will make up the $300,000 through the sheriff's fund balance.

The amount going to debt service is up $4.1 million. That is due to a $41.5 million bond issue and $23 million for new schools.

The assessor's budget is down by $767,288 because the recent reappraisal is finished.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAIR, MELISSA BROOK  2407 HICKERY VALLEY ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County THEFT OF PROPERTY UNDER 1000 --- BAILEY, AMANDA NICOLE  1208 MISSISSIPPI AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 43 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Work Set To Start On Miracle League Field At Warner Park In April

A Miracle League field for Chattanooga is finally set to get underway in April. Greta Hayes, who oversees city recreation, said the field should be completed in about three months. It will be at Warner Park where there is now an open area near other ball fields. Ms. Hayes said scheduling of the games will be run through the city. She said the field will be available to ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: OK, Sis, Off You Go

I’ve got to do something to adjust my sense of humor but fear there is not a big enough wrench. Rasmea Yousef Odeh, who is a naturalized American citizen from Jordan, was one of the principal figures in January’s Women’s March on Washington and had an equal starring role in the most recent “Day Without Women” protests in America. I’m all for equal rights for women yet I was appalled ... (click for more)

Red Bank Stays Unbeaten With Romp Over Hixson

Mandi Munn has been around a lot of Red Bank softball in her life, both as a player and now as the head coach for the Lionettes, but she probably hasn’t been involved with many games like the one her team played at home Tuesday afternoon. Facing the Hixson Lady Wildcats in a District 6-AA contest, the Lionettes more than batted around in three of their four at-bats and they took ... (click for more)

Bradley Holds Off Ooltewah 3-2 In District 5-3A Play

Before this season Bradley Central’s Colton Cross had not pitched since the eighth grade. Now, the senior right-hander has found his niche as a reliever with the Bears’ baseball team. That's in addition to being the Bears' starting second baseman. Cross entered Tuesday’s District 5-3A game against Ooltewah in the seventh with Bradley nursing a shaky one-run lead. ... (click for more)