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."



Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: I-24 East bridge repair over Chestnut Street at mile marker 178.6 near the U.S. 27 interchange and safety improvements on the bridges over the CSX Railroad and over U.S. 27:  Work on this project continues.  This project will repair the bridge on I 24 East over Chestnut Street at mile marker 178.6 near ... (click for more)

Dance Into Fall Contra Is Saturday

Chattanooga Traditional Dance Society presents Dance into Fall Contra! on Saturday from 7:30-11 p.m., featuring calling by Grant Yost and music by Ed and Elsie.  CTDS dances take place at Brainerd United Methodist Church, Lundy Hall, 4315 Brainerd Road. Admission is $8 and $5 for students and seniors.  Everyone is invited to join the family-friendly event and enjoy ... (click for more)

School Board Approves "Partnership" With State As "Lesser Of 2 Evils"

The County School Board on Thursday night voted 7-2 to join in talks with the State Department of Education leading to a Partnership Zone for five low-performing schools. Joe Smith and David Testerman voted against the plan. Other board members said the only alternative was for the state to take over several low-performing schools under the Achievement School District in which ... (click for more)

Jury Hears About Incident Behind Food Lion That Authorities Say Led To Triple Murders In Lookout Valley; Neighbor Saw Trio With Guns

A Criminal Court jury on Thursday was told about an incident behind the Food Lion on Brown's Ferry Road that authorities say was the motive for an April 9, 2014, massacre at a Lookout Valley trailer park. Brandon Jackson said the incident five days earlier involved Derek Morse, who is standing trial on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree ... (click for more)

September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

The calendar fills up quickly in September as families return to a packed routine after quieter summer days. Unfortunately, your health might take a backseat to your busy schedule. So make a note on your calendar that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and remind yourself—or the men in your life—about the importance of a healthy prostate.   Prostate cancer is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I Am Very Privileged

A “California Kook” who teaches sociology at San Diego State told her students she would give each extra credit if they would participate in a “White Privilege Checklist” the other day. Understand, there is no pass or fail but, the more of the 20 statements you agree with, reveals you are “more guilty” of being white and therefore more “privileged” than those who are not. I had ... (click for more)