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 Police Department Increases DUI Enforcement On Memorial Day Weekend

The Chattanooga Police Department will be partnering with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and other local agencies within Hamilton County to step up DUI enforcement this Memorial Day holiday.  “This is about preventing irresponsible and reckless driving,” said Lieutenant Adrian Gibb of the Chattanooga Police Department's Traffic Division. “We strongly believe highly visible, ... (click for more)

Public Meeting Set June 13 About Whitfield County Hazard Mitigation Plan

Whitfield County will hold a public meeting on June 13 at 9 a.m. at the Whitfield County Emergency Management Office located at 804 Professional Blvd. in Dalton to review and discuss a draft of an update to the Whitfield County Hazard Mitigation Plan. A draft copy of the plan can be found at www.whitfieldcountyga.com for review prior to the meeting. This Plan is required by ... (click for more)

Child Bitten By Dog In Bradley County

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a child who was bitten by a dog. While saturating an area in Bradley County, a deputy observed a vehicle traveling on the roadway with a child not restrained and sitting in a passenger’s lap inside the vehicle. Once the deputy approached the vehicle, he noticed a child bleeding which was the result of a dog bite. ... (click for more)

Man Rescued From The Pocket Wilderness On Sunday

Rescue personnel started the Memorial Holiday weekend at the Pocket Wilderness hiking trails on Sunday morning. A man had been camping on the trails with friends Saturday night when the accident occurred. They had been gathering branches for firewood when he tripped and fell on a branch which impaled his thigh. With no cell service and having no daylight, the group waited ... (click for more)

Fruit Basket Turnover

I have been teaching for 21 years now, so I’ve been through my share of school leaders. Every one of them taught me something important. Whether it was Don Bishop from Red Bank High School who, after almost 30 years at Red Bank, taught me to invest in the longevity of my career, Wade Kelly who taught me to thoroughly weigh options before making a decision, Gail Chuy who taught me ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Let Me Be Clear’

I have seen a lot of human beings who have gotten themselves in terrible messes in my time and more self-induced agony than I want to recall. Will Rogers famously said, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” That’s the truth and if you ever didn’t think that “Politics corrupts,” consider the genius behind the line, “It ain’t long those who get elected … begin to think ... (click for more)