Chattanooga Mayoral Candidates and a million Dollar Contribution to Children’s Hospital

Tuesday night we heard from Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and two candidates for his job—Council member Larry Grohn and former council member David Crockett.
The election will be held March 7, and now we hear from all three on Mayor Berke’s plan to contribute a million dollars to the proposed Children’s hospital at Erlanger.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, DECEMBER 22, 2016 “I’m excited to announce that the city of Chattanooga will contribute one million dollars toward the new children’s hospital.”

That announcement by the mayor on December 22nd caught some members of city council off-guard. The pledge would be paid in honor of the Woodmore School students killed in the bus crash, but it must get council approval.
The mayor was asked about that by our Joe Legge on News 12 This Morning.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE  “It’s a quality of life investment and they..from a purely economic standpoint again, it’s going to spur more development, which ends up returning money to city tax-payers.”

The mayor’s office points-out that Berke’s appearance on News 12 this morning was in a non-political role.

Mayoral candidate Larry Grohn has been critical of that pledge, which would likely come from the city’s capital budget.
He called it a political ploy.

LARRY GROHN, MAYORAL CANDIDATE  “..planned uh less than 3 months before the election uh claiming that uh this, these monies would be given installments over 4 years, which, just says ‘elect me and every year for the next 4 years you’ll get 250-thousand dollars.”

Grohn says city council was not briefed on the issue.

LARRY GROHN  “..But yet, no discussion made with the city council. Uh, in fact, the council was only alerted the evening before this news conference was going to take place.”

Former city council member David Crockett, who also in the mayor’s race also disagreed with the Mayor’s proposed contribution.

DAVID CROCKETT, MAYORAL CANDIDATE  “Nothing has changed. You don’t make policy from the podium..you don’t do keystone cops government…that is just a political stunt.”

Crockett predicted that city council will not approve the contribution before the election.

DAVID CROCKETT  “When I’m mayor I won’t recommend that. uh, we already contribute as tax payers one million dollars a year through our county taxes…to Erlanger.”

Both Crockett and Grohn pointed out that they support Erlanger’s efforts to build a new Children’s hospital. Both say the city council, under law, cannot bind later city councils through 4 separate budget cycles to come up with the money.
Mayor Berke told Joe Legge its the city’s way of helping create a “world class” children’s hospital.

Thursday night the candidates will talk about their priorities if elected.
Chattanooga businessman Chris Long is also in that race. We’ll hear from him in a later story.

Categories: Chattanooga, Elections, Government & Politics, Local News

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