Tidwell Says She Is First To Fully fund County Office Salaries With Fees

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The County Commission's recent adoption of the fiscal 2015 county budget marked the 15th straight year in which Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell continued her record as the first such clerk in Hamilton County history to fully fund the office's salaries  with revenue from fees and fines instead of appropriated tax dollars, her campaign staff said.

The statement said, "That effective administration has resulted in significant savings for the public."

In fiscal years 1995 through 2000, "the office received an average annual appropriation of more than $420,000," Ms. Tidwell stated. Since 2000, however,  "not a single tax dollar has been used to pay salaries in the office," she said.

Using that $420,000 average for the last 15 years, Ms. Tidwell  said she has saved Hamilton County taxpayers more than $6.3 million, "making those dollars available for other county responsibilities, including public schools and public safety. That in turn has helped the County Commission avoid unnecessary property tax increases."

Those savings "did not occur in a vacuum," Ms. Tidwell said. "The modernization of the office, thus making it a more professional operation, has been helped by the dedicated work of the office's fine staff.

"But I've also made the office more efficient by putting Criminal Court records on-line -- and thus easily available to the public as well as defense attorneys and prosecutors," Tidwell added. Further, "we've made it possible for fines and fees to be paid by credit cards. We began that service for in-office payments several years ago. And thanks to the County Commission's vote earlier this year, that service has been  expanded to include on-line payments.

"By making the Criminal Court Clerk's office more professional -- and thus more responsive to the public -- I have emphasized the importance of its efficient management.

"Hamilton County citizens understandably insist on an effective criminal justice system, TThe professional, non-political operation of the office plays a key role in meeting that obligation."



Chattanooga ModelCon 2018 Will Be Jan. 5-6

The Chattanooga Scale Modelers Association will host their seventh annual scale model convention on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 5-6, at the Chattanooga Trade and Convention Center.  It will be open from 2-6 p.m. on Jan. 5 for entries and then Jan. 6 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with awards at 4 p.m.  Visitors can expect to see museum quality scale models grouped in categories ... (click for more)

Impact Of Hydrofracking To Be Topic Of Public Program

The impact of hydrofracking for the extraction of natural gas will be the topic of a public program hosted by the League of Women Voters and Dalton State College Wednesday, Nov. 29, beginning at 7 p.m.  The free program will be held in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall.   “Since our area sits above the Conasauga Shale which is believed to contain ... (click for more)

5 Disinherited Adopted Children Of Dr. J. Don Brock May Share In Rich Estate After All

Five disinherited adopted children of the late Chattanooga businessman J. Don Brock may share in his large estate after all. After losing at the trial court and appeals court level, the plaintiffs won a victory at the Tennessee Supreme Court. Justice Cornelia Clark ruled in favor of the adopted children and remanded the case to the trial court for settlement of the estate. ... (click for more)

Walker County Asks Dismissal Of Erlanger Lawsuit Asking Court To Order New Taxes For Payment Of $8.7 Million Debt

Walker County, Ga., is asking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Erlanger Health System that asks a federal judge to order the levying of taxes to pay an $8.7 million debt. Walker County noted that new Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has imposed a special tax levy on its citizens designed to satisfy the debt. It also says that Commissioner Whitfield held several meetings with ... (click for more)

Stormwater Fiasco And East Ridge Camping

When did the Chattanooga City Council get replaced by members of the East Ridge City Council? I don't recall a time in Chattanooga where they've voted to shoot the city in the foot more than they have lately.  If this goes through despite the environmental impact warnings and then Camp Jordan has increased flooding after spending millions on sports ball fields, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t know who was the first to do the Famous Pregnant Turkey prank but I’ll bet you a handful of giblets there will be a lot of copycats who try it today. The trick is finding a Cornish hen that is small enough to stuff inside the larger turkey. Then you skillfully pack the bird with some of that sausage-sage dressing and put your Thanksgiving dinner in the oven. When all ... (click for more)