How Strong is the Economy in Chattanooga/Hamilton County?

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 11/18/2013 6:44 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) You've heard that Chattanooga/Hamilton county escaped much of the lingering recession by bringing-in new industry and creating jobs.
Although things are generally good, there are some trouble spots along the way.

RON HARR, PRES.& CEO, CHATTANOOGA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE "I think we need to be realistic..the economy is still struggling...and we have companies that have been here a long time that are shrinking or not growing so our unemployment rate has actually risen in the last year for a little bit."

Because of the new mega-industries here now, the economy is not stagnant. For the average resident, that means: Do I have shot at getting a job? Are food and housing costs reasonable? Are taxes holding steady?
Mostly, yes!
But the county has a 300-million dollar debt load.

MAYOR JIM COPPINGER, HAMILTON COUNTY "There are a number of reasons for us to maintain a good, health, fund balance as well as our triple A bond rating so that we can borrow money when we need it..but its just as important to mention, too, that we are paying down 25-million dollars a year in debt."

Chattanooga/Hamilton county still has a reputation as a good place for business development.
That's an image that can't always be created with advertising.
Robin Smith talks to businesses around the country.

ROBIN SMITH, SMITH-WATERHOUSE STRATEGIES "They all want to know, how do ya'll do that Riverfront development, how di you guys start that Volkswagen did you do that? so there's a lot of curiosity."

HAROLD COKER, FOUNDER COKER TIRE CO. "A lot of people have done a lot of the right things in this community and I'm really so proud of Chattanooga."

RON HARR, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE "We still believe that our outlook is really strong for next year."

MAYOR JIM COPPINGER "Over the last 2 and a half years we have been able to create almost 7000 new jobs..and we've done that through new and expanding companies."

County Mayor Coppinger told the Pachyderm Club that he will be a candidate for reelection next year.
School members Mike Evatt announced that he is pulling out of the race for County Court Clerk, to devote more time to his family.

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