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."


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Freeman). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “2015 World AIDS Day” By Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING a. 2015-124 Belle Investment Company and BYD Cowart, GP (Lift Condition). ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Unveiling Of The EPB Holiday Windows

The time-honored Chattanooga tradition of EPB’s downtown holiday windows feature the themes of “Chattanooga Strong” and other beloved holiday stories. For the second year, STEM School Chattanooga students have assisted EPB’s “elves” to develop the themes and create the scenes that attract thousands of local and visiting families each holiday season. The Chattanooga Girls’ Choir ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)

Alcoa Ends Notre Dame's Season With 42-2 Setback

ALCOA -- It's hard to get past the cold hard facts. Notre Dame's Fighting Irish football team had another outstanding season, but it ended the same way as last year with a semifinal loss to the Alcoa Tornadoes. It wasn't as close as last year's 28-19 defeat as Alcoa gave up a safety in its first possession before scoring 42 straight points, winning for the 10th straight week ... (click for more)

Heights Point Guard Alexander Commits To Florida

Hamilton Heights point guard Shai Alexander, who scored 18 points in the Hawks’ win over Central Park on Tuesday, made a recruiting trip to the University of Florida on Wednesday and announced Friday that he has made a non-binding verbal to coach Mike White’s Gators. Alexander later Friday night scored 12 points and dished out five assists in helping the Hawks post a 66-51 ... (click for more)