City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed.

Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were.

Citizen Helen Burns Sharp, who has been fighting the TIF, said, "The City/IDB Attorney has confirmed that Chris Ramsey, who has served on the Industrial Development Board since 2002, does not live in the city and therefore cannot under state law serve on the IDB. TCA 7-53-202 and 301 state that members must be electors and taxpayers in the municipality. 


"This requirement makes sense. This board approves the 'forgiveness' of millions of dollars in city tax breaks (TIF, PILOTS) to private corporations. The property taxes paid by homeowners and small businesses pick up the tab to provide city services to these companies. These tax breaks contribute to the stagnation of city property tax revenues for other priority projects. This loss of revenue doesn't directly affect someone who doesn't live in the city.

"Mr. Ramsey, the illegal member, played a prominent role in the recent "re-approval" of the Black Creek TIF. He made the motion that the Board ratify their previous approval of Black Creek. He seconded the motion that the Board accept Black Creek as an 'eligible' project under state law. Had Mr. Ramsey not been on the dais, how do we know that another member would have made the motion to ratify and would have seconded the motion on project eligibility? The answer is we do not know.

"Who should be held accountable? What will the City/IDB do protect the interest of thousands of city taxpayers who have a right to expect that the city follow state law? Will they allow Mr. Ramsey on the dais today? Will the City/IDB attorney recommend retroactive action on the Black Creek votes?"

City Attorney Hinton said his office is looking into the situation involving Mr. Ramsey.

Asked if the issue would affect prior board action, he said, "Probably not. Most of the votes have been unanimous. But that is something we are looking into."

 



Police Blotter: Thief With Stolen Chinese Dinner Yells Apology As Employees Give Chase; Musician Has $10,000 Violin Stolen

An employee of the Buffet King, 5230 Highway 153 Suite C., said a white male entered the restaurant and had asked for a to-go box. He filled the box at the buffet before exiting the store passing all points of sale without offering payment. Employees ran after the suspect who yelled an apology before entering a red sedan and fleeing the scene. * ** At theTexas Roadhouse on ... (click for more)

Gordon County Man Killed In Wreck On Friday; Chattanooga Man In Critical Condition

Stanley Priest, 59, of Gordon County, Ga., was killed on Friday night in an accident on Covington Bridge Road in Fairmount, Ga. Mr. Priest was at a stop sign when a 2007 Freightliner transfer truck, driven by Leo Avila, 53, of Chattanooga, broadsided him. Both vehicles erupted into flames. Mr. Priest was pronounced dead at the scene, and Mr. Avila was transported ... (click for more)

Brown V. Board (1954) 64 Years Late: Our Schools At A Crossroads

May 17, 1954 is a date forever etched upon the annals of American history because on that pivotal day the Supreme Court would affirm in the decision of Brown v. Board (1954). “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This ruling overturned the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Same Family Tree

When it was learned the UnifiEd Foundation was a left-wing crowd of political organizers rather than a group with the sole intent of bettering public education in Hamilton County, several other liberal groups fell under scrutiny and it is uncanny how many of the same few people are intertwined in a county of 360,000 people. Or, as one critic succinctly said, “They are all from ... (click for more)

Six Chattanooga Baseball, Softball Teams Open State Play This Week

The state tournament matchups in baseball and softball have been announced. Only thing left is for the fortunate teams that have reached the 2018 TSSAA Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to make a final push toward possible championships, the most prized trophies in high school sports. While only two local baseball teams -- Baylor and McCallie -- are ... (click for more)

Lookouts Fall (3-2) In 10th Inning Walk-Offs By Biloxi Saturday & Sunday

The Biloxi Shuckers (26-17) grabbed their second walk-off victory of the season in extra innings on Saturday night against the Chattanooga Lookouts (28-15) with a 3-2 win. The Lookouts have a 3 1/2 game lead over second-place Jackson in the North Division, while Biloxi has a 3 1/2 game lead over Mobile in the South Divisioon The Shuckers scored two runs to counter Chattanooga's ... (click for more)