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: ADKINS, GREGORY SCOTT  401 EASTERLY CIRCLE ROCKY TOP, 37769  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BILLS, JOSHUA TIMOTHY-MICHAEL  1309 DUNCAN AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Corker Gives Statement Ahead Of Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

Senator Bob Corker on Thursday released the following statement ahead of Affordable Care Act open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1.   “The Affordable Care Act was sold to the American people as a way to bring down health care costs and provide certainty to individuals and companies across our country. Unfortunately, the reality Tennesseans will face as open enrollment ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Guess Who Backed Kelly?

Two weeks before the August election where three members of the Hamilton County School Board were angrily replaced, the organizer of what was called “a great way for the (challengers) to raise great money to help them run smart campaigns” made a bold statement. “I'm sure the current board is well-intentioned, but the results are not there," said Paul Brock. "Leadership matters ... (click for more)

CPA Blanks CCS, 1-0, in A-AA State Soccer Semis

MURFREESBORO - The scoring opportunities were few for both teams, but Christ Presbyterian used a shot and a deflection off a defender for a 1-0 win against Chattanooga Christian in an A-AA state semifinal match here Thursday at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex. District 12 player of the year Sarah Sievertsen scored the winning goal in the 54th minute as the Lions advance ... (click for more)

DeBord Happy To Have Kelly, Hurd In Vols' Backfield

Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Larry Scott spoke reporters at Wednesday's press conference in the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio. No. 18 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2 SEC) takes on South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium with a 7:15 ... (click for more)