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."


16,858 Cast Ballots In First 3 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first three days of early voting in Hamilton County, 16,858 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,607 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, 1,698 Collegedale 956, 954, ... (click for more)

Clarence Ross, Leshawn Witherow Shot On Walden Avenue Friday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Friday afternoon at the 6300 block of Walden Avenue.  Clarence Ross, 41, And Leshawn Witherow, 40, suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Hamilton County EMS transported both victims to a local hospital for treatment.  There is no suspect information at this time.  Investigators with ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)