City Council expresses conerns with Chattanooga’s 2015 budget
It’s a $216 million proposed budget for 2015, which is four million more than last year’s actual budget, but that’s what the Berke Administration wants.
Councilman Yusef Hakeem and others said they like the foundation, but it has some important items missing.
"I think the fact that we have not addressed I guess more boldly the concerns dealing with people from 19 to 24 when it comes to employment,” said councilman Hakeem.
Councilman Chip Henderson added, "I think it’s no secret, I’ve been harping on infrastructure since I’ve been here."
Councilman Hakeem and Henderson both see a common way to make room for their wants in this budget.
“I think we have to look at some of the proposed new programs to see if this is the time for them or if we need to wait a while,” Councilman Hakeem said.
The Baby College is one program. It aims to build stronger foundations for families expecting babies and even gives more support to their health.
Councilman Henderson understands the importance he’s worried about the price.
"It’s a pretty hefty item, 250 thousand dollars,” said Henderson. “A quarter of a million dollars is quite a bit of money for a light item like that."
But not so fast said Councilman Chris Anderson. The infant mortality rate in Hamilton County is the second highest in the state.
"If we can put a quarter million dollars into it and keep people alive longer, I will enthusiastically support it,” Anderson said about the Baby College.
Henderson’s focus is still elsewhere.
He said, "This year, in the proposed budget we only have 2.3 million dollars in our pavement budget. Studies show we need to be spending 5 million dollars a year, I want to see that number up before I’m ready to vote on this budget."
There will be more budget meetings to fine-tune the final budget.
Council members we spoke with feel it can and will be done with no problems.