There Are Winners And Losers With New City Budgeting Process

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Some agencies are winners and others losers in the city's new "budgeting for outcome" process in which "offers" are made to the city based on helping to achieve certain city priorities.

Choose Chattanooga, which seeks to encourage retirees to settle here, had its funding eliminated.

The Urban League got a raise, including its participation with the Chamber of Commerce and Launch Chattanooga on a minority jobs program.

The Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise went down, while CARTA went up.

CNE is penciled in for $705,000 instead of last year's $900,000.

Councilman Yusuf Hakeem noted that CNE is "a shell of its former self," but he said it has hired a new executive director and has a new board along with going through a visioning process. Councilman Chris Anderson said CNE went through a nationwide search and came up with "a rock star" new leader.

Both urged that the cut at CNE not be so great.

Officials said the budget includes $300,000 for a new bus route connecting neighborhoods to the 7,000 jobs at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. Amazon.com has been asking for such a route, it was stated, though Volkswagen at one time appeared disinterested.

The basic CARTA operations budget is up $50,000.

The Public Library is getting additional funds, including for a program aimed at providing 22,000 school-age children with library cards.

Girls Inc. is funded for extending its "book worm" literacy program into some of the city youth development centers.

LaPaz got city budget help for setting up a resource center in Highland Park for its growing Hispanic population.

Hope for the Inner City got funds for helping newly released prisoners obtain jobs.

The Chattanooga Zoo got $25,000 for its outreach programs, including GoFest.

Officials said city employees will face a 3.5 percent rise in health premiums. Employees are getting a 1.5 percent pay rise.

Travis McDonough, the mayor's chief of staff, said firefighters opted to use the 1.5 percent amount for improvements in the pay plan for the department instead of across the board raises.

There was considerable discussion about the planned Baby College. Chairman Chip Henderson expressed reservations about "adding another layer of government." He noted that first came kindergarten, then pre-kindergarten.

Officials said they are seeking to partner with agencies like First Things First that already have similar programs in place.     


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