City Council Holds Public Forum On Amending Budget

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - by Joseph Dycus

Several Chattanooga parents from multiple districts voiced their approval of an amended budget that would give money to the Education Connect initiative that would provide internet to low-income families. However, the first speaker was local activist Marie Mott, who said she supported this amendment to the budget. 

“We have children who may not have access to internet in their neighborhood,” Ms. Mott said, “and regardless of some rather ridiculous remarks made by certain council individuals, they deserve to have access to these services originally promised to them by our mayor.” 

Another speaker was Sunnny Burden, a mother from Red Bank who said her family has benefited greatly from the free and reduced-cost internet. She said having internet has helped her family in ways that go beyond education. 

“I am most certainly thankful for how it has helped us, and without it I believe we would be in dire need of other help,” Ms. Burden said. “We use it for schoolwork at home, and other household reasons like paying our bills, doctor visits, and talking to family and friends during quarantine.”

Another mother told the city council that the Education Connect program has been a “savior” for her. She said her child is autistic, and that having cheaper internet has allowed her to work from home, thus giving her an opportunity to help her child with schoolwork. 

Danielle Jones was another mother who addressed the council. She said her daughter goes to school on two days, and then does online school on two other days of the week. 

“She has to answer whatever question the teacher may put on one of the programs she has at the school. If she didn’t’ have internet, she wouldn’t be able to do that,” Ms. Jones said, who also echoed Ms. Burden’s statements by saying internet has helped with paying bills and communicating with family. 

After those constituents addressed the council, Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod brushed against what Ms. Mott said at the very beginning of the open forum. 

“No one on council said kids don’t need access to internet. What we said, and I was the council person who said it, was that everybody needs access to internet, not just inner-city kids,” Councilwoman Coonrod said. “Everyone within Chattanooga who has free or reduced-fee lunch needs to have access to the internet. We have to not allow people to mislead us with the wrong information.”

Toward the end of the council meeting, some citizens spoke more generally about the council amending the budget as a whole. One man did say he supported giving city workers raises and giving families free internet, and that he believed now was a good time to look into changing policies and the budget. 

“Now that we are revisiting certain budget items, as Mr. Byrd put forward, this would be a good time to re-examine those questions and where we want our city to go.”

Another speaker said that the last time people floated the idea of changing the budget, the council said the budget was like a contract, and could not be altered.

“I find it especially interesting the budget is being reamended against that ‘contract,’” he said. “That line of rhetoric has aged rather poorly, and I urge the council to readdress and review how better the public funds can be spent.”

Other speakers also voiced their support for divesting from the police and into other areas of Chattanooga. After the hour-long meeting was over and the registered speakers had a chance to be heard, the meeting was adjourned. 



County Health Department To Host Vaccination Events This Week

Woman At Community Kitchen Said Man Grabbed Her By Neck, Told Her He Was Going To Rape Her

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News


The Hamilton County Health Department is offering (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccination events at multiple locations this week. No appointment is necessary and anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible. ... (click for more)

Police responded to a forcible fondling on Tuesday at E. 11th Street, and were later called to the Community Kitchen down the road on an assault call. Police met with the staff, who identified ... (click for more)

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there ... (click for more)



Breaking News

County Health Department To Host Vaccination Events This Week

The Hamilton County Health Department is offering (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccination events at multiple locations this week. No appointment is necessary and anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible. The vaccination event calendar is available at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov . Visit the webpage frequently as new events are added throughout the week. The COVID-19 hotline is available ... (click for more)

Woman At Community Kitchen Said Man Grabbed Her By Neck, Told Her He Was Going To Rape Her

Police responded to a forcible fondling on Tuesday at E. 11th Street, and were later called to the Community Kitchen down the road on an assault call. Police met with the staff, who identified the defendant, Mickey Eugene Shurette, 52, who was then detained. Police also spoke to the victim. She told police she had left the building earlier that evening, and was walking toward ... (click for more)

Opinion

In The Twilight Zone At The School Board

I have a friend who used to say, “I have been to two World’s Fairs and a hog calling contest and I have never seen the beat.” That is exactly the feeling I had after last month’s four-hour marathon School Board meeting. I have been attending school board meetings for the last 20 years and I have never seen another one quite like it. This meeting had it all. For the first time ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 'Survivor' Speaks Here

It’s one thing to tell a loudmouth in Texas he’s “all hat and no cattle.” And it’s altogether another to ask some fellow in an Abilene beer hall “where do you let you wife graze?” Throughout the history of the Lone Star State, there have been many gun fights, differences settled at the OK Corral or The Alamo, but the most heinous scoundrel of all is one who’ll kill another man’s ... (click for more)

Sports

Tennessee Homers Its Way To College World Series

The Tennessee Vols are on their way to Omaha after homers flew out of the Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Vols bashed LSU 15-6 to win the Super Regional in two games. Tennessee built a nine-run cushion before Tre Morgan and Brody Drost hit two-run bombs to cut the lead to 11-6 in the seventh. But the Vols kept on scoring before an adoring crowd in Knoxville. ... (click for more)

Defending Champion Ingram Returns To Choo Choo Full of Confidence

Hogan Ingram was a relatively unknown entity prior to last year’s Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational, but he was perfectly fine with that anonymity. As a rising senior at Rome High School, Ingram birdied the final hole to win the prestigious tournament against a talented field of collegiate golfers. The win served as a springboard for him to gain momentum that has elevated his ... (click for more)