Hamilton County Commission Passes $679.6M Budget–No Tax Increase

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Hamilton county commission Wednesday unanimously passed the balanced budget presented by Mayor Jim Coppinger.

The 679-point-6 million dollar budget does not include a tax increase–or the 100-thousand discretionary funds that each commission member customarily received.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the county has avoided a tax increase.

Mayor Jim Coppinger told the commissioners that was possible because of an estimated 2% growth in revenues in the county.

“We received all of the requests initially from the different, respective constitutional offices and departments and as a result of the requests we did cut 11 million dollars out of those requests,” Mayor Coppinger said.

Coppinger says most of the hard work was done in work sessions and that each member knew ahead of time the challenges faced in 2017.

It passed virtually without comment.

But there was one major difference. It did not include the controversial 100-thousand dollars discretionary fund per commissioner .

The mayor says it was because the members knew what they had to cut.

“Having a fiscally responsible budget, is what we think people want. Again, working through this and communicating to the commission ..we’ve been able to accomplish that this year,” Coppinger said.

Last year, when it wasn’t included .commissioners added it–and Coppinger vetoed the budget.

The commissioners voted to override the veto, and took that amount out of the fund balance.

District six commissioner Joe Graham was one of two who did not use their discretionary funds.

“Well, we all voted today and it went 8 to zero..so everybody had an opportunity to to say or vote, so, you know and that would have been the time to amend the budget or do something differently and it didn’t happen,” Graham said.

Marty Haynes was the other commissioner who did not use the money.

Education got 12-million dollars more this year—the Sheriff’s department was up almost 6% and the county health insurance cost was up 5.2 million dollars.

Categories: Chattanooga, Crime, Education, Government & Politics, Hamilton County, Local News

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