Council Gets Its First Close Look at Budget

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 8/06/2013 6:30 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF)-- While the city of Chattanooga is already into its 2013-14 fiscal year, the document itself is just now in the discussion stage.
Mayor Andy Berke told the council he needed extra time to come up with details of his so-called "outcome based" budget.
On Tuesday morning the council began looking at how the money will be spent.

Mayor Berke last week stressed that "public safety" is his number one priority as the city enters a new fiscal year.
He gave an overview as a council made plans to take the document apart line-by-line.
Tuesday morning was spent doing just that.

CAROL BERZ, CHAIRMAN, FINANCE COMMITTEE "What I want to know is...are there any sections of the budget as we go through, that don't particularly need addressing."

Council then came up with many questions on topics that were not quite so easy to resolve.
District 1 councilman Chip Henderson pointed out that less than 2-million dollars is set aside for paving roads.

CHIP HENDERSON, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "My biggest priority is getting our roads fixed in the city of Chattanooga. And, in order to do that, we're going to have to at least double what the Mayor's proposed in our paving budget."

CHRIS ANDERSON, DISTRICT 7 "We submitted all of our questions to the administration...over the next week we're going to get answers back on those. And I think within a week we're going to start taking them apart and start adding and subtracting them."

Mayor Berke set the budget at 212-million dollars with no tax increase.
But Henderson thinks he knows a way the city can save money.

CHIP HENDERSON "One of the things I think we should start taking a look at is possibly selling the golf courses..Brown Acres and Brainerd. Everybody says they break even, but they are actually losing some money..I think they lost about 3-thousand dollars in 12, and about 2600 in 13."

But most council people would probably agree with Anderson on one point.

CHRIS ANDERSOIN "The city's number one goal still front of you right now...Public safety!"

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