Mayor-Elect Kelly Focusing On Economic Development, Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus

Mayor-elect Tim Kelly says economic development and investing in early childhood education are two points of emphasis for his administration over the next four years. Mr. Kelly, on the day after his election runoff victory, said he has spoken to most of the City Council members and people within the city, and said investing in preschool education is an “easy sale.”

 

“The science is crystal-clear, right?,” the former auto dealer said in a Wednesday afternoon interview.

“By the time a child is six years old, their brain is wired and he or she will be on a path that you can change, but it’s more difficult to change after that.”

 

He linked economic development with education, saying that bringing in high-paying jobs is essential. However, he said that unless Chattanooga’s education system is improved, those high-paying jobs will go to people from out-of-town.

 

“That’s where education comes in, because if we don’t have a fully functional education system, which has been the case in the past, employers have no choice but to look elsewhere,” Mr. Kelly said. “So I look forward to working with Dr. Johnson and continuing the push to excellence in the K-12 system.”

 

The mayor-elect said he is not looking to downsize city government, but said he wants his administration to become more streamlined. He said that currently, the city government works in such a way that is convenient for the city government, and not the taxpayers.

 

“One guiding principle is that we may be looking at a director of special events, where if stakeholders engage with the city, they should be able to get everything they need from one department, rather than being shuttled from department to department,” Mr. Kelly said.

 

He also said that his administration will emphasize neighborhood development, and stated that several neighborhoods have been “sorely neglected.” He said his administration will focus on building infrastructure within those neighborhoods and building up business there.

 

The mayor-elect spoke about his administration’s plan for addressing racial inequity, and said it is a complex issue. He believes investing in education leads to economic development, which can fight against this issue.

 

“We’re looking forward to implementing the findings of the disparity study,” Mr. Kelly said. “We’re speaking with a consultant to come in and help us with that right away, so we can ramp it up ASAP.”

 

Mr. Kelly said he and County Mayor Jim Coppinger have a “very good” relationship, and that the two will work closely with one another over the next four years. He said he believes Chattanooga can “simulate the benefits of metro government” if the city and county work together.

 

He said both he and Mayor Coppinger are focused on addressing homelessness in Chattanooga. He said one planned solution is to convert city-owned property into affordable housing, and to use federal aid to assist in addressing homelessness as well.

 

“The city and the county will be getting a big chunk of federal aid, and I’ve already spoken to Commissioner Tim Boyd and Mayor Coppinger,” Mr. Kelly said. “I think we have some great opportunities there.”

 

In addition to his amicable relationship with the county mayor, Mr. Kelly said he and police chief David Roddy are on good terms. He said the two are “on the same page and philosophically aligned.” Mr. Kelly also said one of his main goals is restoring trust between the community and the police department, and what he called “decriminalizing poverty.”

 

“I don’t want to be locking people up for reasons that are fundamentally economic and not criminal,” Mr. Kelly said. “So it’s making sure the city doesn’t have perverse incentives to increase revenue by criminalizing people and ruining their lives for things like unpaid parking tickets. It’s a lot to unpack here.”

 

Mr. Kelly said his administration is planning on having a third party non-profit act as a an entity that can keep track of his administration’s progress over the next four years.

 

“We’ll keep track of our own metrics over time, and I’m a huge fan of another thing called the Boston Indicator’s project,” Mr. Kelly said. “I look forward to talking to our non-profit community about the possibility of reconstituting something along those lines, so we have a third-party and disinterested and apolitical entity that cannot be spun, who can keep track of our progress over time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Boyd Raises Issue Of Pinkston Raises To A Staff Member He Married And Hiring Her Brother; DA Says, "I Have Done Nothing Wrong"

Signal Mountain Adds Charges Related To Water Service; 2 Candidates Seek Administrative Hearing Officer Post


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BIRT, COURTNEY D 707 GEORGIA AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37402 Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Booked for Previous Charges or Other ... (click for more)

County Commissioner Tim Boyd has questioned District Attorney Neal Pinkston on the issue of relatives in his office. He released an email he received that was critical of DA Pinkston giving ... (click for more)

The Signal Mountain Commission has approved an amendment to charges for special services from the town-owned water company. Fees established include a $50 charge, in addition to the cost of te ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BIRT, COURTNEY D 707 GEORGIA AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37402 Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BLAKE, JOSEPH ANTHONY 3103 WOOD AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37406 Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County THEFT OF PROPERTY --- BROWN, ERIC CHARLES ... (click for more)

Boyd Raises Issue Of Pinkston Raises To A Staff Member He Married And Hiring Her Brother; DA Says, "I Have Done Nothing Wrong"

County Commissioner Tim Boyd has questioned District Attorney Neal Pinkston on the issue of relatives in his office. He released an email he received that was critical of DA Pinkston giving allegedly excessive raises to a top staff member that he married and for hiring her brother. At budget hearings, he asked DA Pinkston whether he had any relatives on the county payroll. ... (click for more)

Opinion

What Is The Price Of Democracy?

Most United States citizens consider ourselves fortunate to live in a modern, mature democracy. We appreciate the great freedoms and abundant material things our democracy affords us. But while we all know the old adage that freedom is not free, neither is democracy. Our system depends on citizens’ being in ultimate control of the government through a written constitution with checks ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: That’s ‘Nonya’ Business

In the Sunday editions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press the editors will often include a feature on “fake news,” or “News That’s Not” but I don’t suspect them to include themselves in the junk report this weekend. The Chattanooga newspaper once again stumbled Thursday when they had an embarrassing lead story on the front page. The headline read, “DA accused of marrying employee, ... (click for more)

Sports

Lookouts Increase Capacity To 70%; No Masks Required

The Chattanooga Lookouts have announced that they will increase their capacity to 70% for phase two games. Effective immediately the team will also be rescinding its mask policy per new MLB guidelines. Beginning May 25, fans will no longer be required to wear a mask at AT&T Field. Phase two begins June 22 and runs until July 25. Tickets for this phase go on sale Monday, ... (click for more)

Villalobos And Carrera-Garcia Lead Red Wolves To 1-0 Start

USL League One announced on Monday the Team of the Week Presented by Cleer Audio for Week 5 of the 2021 regular season, with two of Chattanooga's players named to the 11 after the Red Wolves handed 2019 Champions North Texas SC their first home lose in nearly two years. José Carrera García, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: It was an all-action display from the Chattanooga midfielder ... (click for more)