Mayor Andy Berke Presents Proposed Budget to Council

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Reported by: Caitlyn Jones

Edited by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 8/01/2013 9:42 am
        The Mayors budget is in, and it puts a high priority on tackling crime.
        Nearly half of the city budget going towards public safety.
        It starts by adding an additional 40 police officers onto the streets, creating an all time high for number of city officers.
        Police Chief Bobby Dodd said it will be a tremendous help to the force.
        "The forty officers they come here they'll go out and work on the streets but it'll allow me to free up officers to the High Point Initiative the Mayor wants to implement.  It'll give me officers to staff that,"
        The High Point Initiative is based off of a plan created in High Point North Carolina to reduce shootings.. it replaces the city's gang task force.
        Mayor Berke explained it at the Chamber of Commerce.
        "We make an example of one gang and say you're going to jail for a long time through this federal prosecution but then for the other gangs, we go to them individually and say if you're ready to change, we have help," Berke.
        The budget also includes an across the board one point five percent pay raise for all city employees.
        As a plan to turn around the East Chattanooga neighborhood while building the economy, the Mayor plans to purchase the Harriet Tubman Housing location, with hopes of recruiting new businesses.
        "We have companies coming here all the time that can't find a place to locate a new business.  It's a perfect location and we think it's a really smart move for the city to do that," said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Harr.
        The budget also focuses on the youth of Chattanooga..
        "We're transforming out recreation centers into youth and family development centers and we're expanding our literacy programs like Lexia to make sure that we can have people reading at grade levels,"
        The total budget comes to 212 million dollars to fund all the operations.
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