The Chattanooga City Council, along with Justin Steinmann, went over the capital budget on Tuesday afternoon. This includes the enterprise fund projects such as “interceptor sewer system, solid waste, and water quality projects” and general fund projects, which “include all other city capital projects and are primarily reliant on funds available from tax revenues and grants.”
He said capital projects can often take several years and phases to finish, and that those projects may have more or less funding depending on the year and budget.
He then showed a chart of the general fund, with over a little over half of the funds going toward public transportation and 20 percent going to Public Works.
Paving/asset management for 2021 was of particular note to the City Council, with Mr. Steinmann saying, “Each year, we have been putting more and more funds aside for road improvements.” This includes some funding from FEMA to help restore roads damaged by the tornado and floods.
Chairman Chip Henderson asked how much of the $8.4 million was used just for resurfacing. According to a graph displayed, around $6 million of road improvements funding will be used for resurfacing.
He said $3.9 million will go toward resurfacing, $750,000 will be used to deal with slope failure, $400,000 will be used to repair bridges, $120,000 will be used for paving, and then an additional $2,100,000 will go toward FEMA projects.
Later on, Mr. Steinmann said there is some room for projects to gain funds by siphoning money from other projects. He said this generally occurs if a public works project may wrap up with $100,000 still available. Rather than having that money stay unused, those funds can be transferred to another project within the same department.
The City Council also discussed the processes surrounding allowing someone to speak at the public hearing (via Zoom meeting) where the budget will be discussed. In past council meetings, a person has to show a passport or ID in order to speak. During an in-person meeting, people simply need to give their name and address before speaking to the council.
According to council members, this was originally put in place after racist messages were anonymously sent during the first Zoom meeting. City Attorney Phil Noblett said there is no legal requirement for a person to produce identification before speaking, and several, including Chairman Chip Henderson, and Councilmen Jerry Mitchell and Darrin Ledford seemed to be in favor of doing away with it.