County Commission Unanimously Passes $672.5 Million Budget With No Tax Increase

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The County Commission on Wednesday morning unanimously approved a no-tax-increase budget that includes $7.2 million in higher spending.

The county budget of $672,535,000 includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for employees. City employees got 1.5 percent raises.

Chairman Fred Skillern said the county has fewer employees and vehicles than the previous year.

He said health insurance has been the highest budget item in growth by far. That expense has been covered "by growth and savings," he said.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, "This budget is a reflection of my fiscally conservative beliefs.  We have held the line on taxes for the fourth year in a row. Homeowners will not have to worry about an increase in their property taxes, business owners know they can go ahead and budget for the next fiscal year know their tax rate remains the same as it has been since I took office in 2011.”

He said the budget focuses on "education and public safety." He said 59.4 percent of county spending is going to the schools and the sheriff 's budget is up $1.9 million for operations. The county schools will get a $5.1 million increase to $399 million.

The higher sheriff funding will allow the hiring of eight new correctional officers at the county jail at a cost of $454,000. It funds 30 new sheriff vehicles.

The county mayor said there will be four fewer employees in county government - down from 1,319 to 1,315. He said two positions are down in the property assessor's office after a reappraisal was finished. General Sessions Court Judge Ron Durby, who has been getting county disability payments, is now off the payroll. The Criminal Court clerk's office is down one employee.

County Mayor Coppinger said medical costs are up 12 percent - a rise of $2.4 million.

He said the controversial $100,000 each for the nine County Commission members for "discretionary spending" is going off the county books. It will be taken from a line of credit.

To meet the budget, $2.6 million is being taken from the county fund balance, $2 million from the county schools fund balance and $600,000 from the sheriff and Juvenile Court clerk fund balances.

The county mayor said the county in the current year set aside $3.5 million from fund balance, but wound up not using any of that amount.

The budget anticipates a rise in property tax revenue of $2.3 million, an increase in EPB in-lieu-of-taxes payments of $419,000, and a rise of $391,000 in state taxes, including the Hall Tax.

Pension costs are up $2 million, while debt service costs are down $2.67 million.


10 East Ridge Establishments Sell Beer To Minor In Compliance Check

The East Ridge Police Department last Friday assisted agents from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission with an operation aimed at checking East Ridge establishments for compliance in regard to checking identification and alcohol sales to underage patrons. The joint operation checked 36 businesses in East Ridge. Ten received misdemeanor citations for selling alcohol to ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, KIMBERLY M 2744 6TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407 26 Chattanooga ASSAULT ALVEREZ-CRUZ, LISANDRO 7102 SHEPHERD VIEW CIRCLE CHATTANOOGA, 37421 19 Chattanooga SPEEDING DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE ANGLAND, JOSHUA JAMES 1843 BAYHILL DRIVE HIXSON, 37343 29 Hamilton County VANDALISM/MALICIOUS ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)

Owls Beat McMinn, 30-12, To Complete Unbeaten Regular Season

Undefeated. Sounds nice, huh. After a sluggish first half that produced only three points on a Laszlo Toser field goa., third-ranked Ooltewah came to life in the third quarter, riddled McMinn County’s defense with three Kelvin Leon touchdown passes in the third quarter and went on to beat the Cherokees, 30-12, at James N. Monroe Stadium to secure the school’s third unbeaten ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Clobbers Grundy Co. For 7-AA Title

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant is always hoping that his Fighting Irish football team can get off to a fast start. He never thought it would be as quick as what he saw Thursday night at Jim Eberle Field. With a District 7-AA championship on the line on an evening when they honored all of the fall senior athletes, a football game turned into a track meet and eventually a victory ... (click for more)