Mayor Unveils Proposed Budget

Chattanooga City Seal

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly unveiled a proposed budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year.

The total amount for Mayor Kelly’s proposed budget sits at $329 million dollars.

There is no property tax increase to fund this budget.

However to accomplish this, 29 positions within the city government were eliminated.

15 of these were vacant and 14 were filled, with 8 being full time positions.

Kirsten Yates, a city spokesperson, said, “We take a look across the city that we can streamline processes and reduce overlaps in redundancies.”

Those employees affected will have opportunities to apply for other city positions.

58 percent of this budget will go towards public safety initiatives.

Yates said, “This year that includes funding critical programs at the Police Department including like our Crisis Response Unit and our Victims Advocacy Center.”

A large focus of the Mayor’s budget is on combating homelessness with increased affordable housing and other resources.

His budget proposes spending over three million dollars to preserve or create affordable housing.

The deupty director for the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition Mackenzie Kelly said, “(There are) income levels that need this affordable housing from the folks that we are mostly working with very low or no income up through some of our teachers, social workers, and other frontline workers.”

The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition will be a partner in their efforts as they would receive $820,000.

Perhaps their biggest contribution will be the Flexible Housing Fund, which gives families in need one time payments to secure housing.

Kelly said, “We have seen a ton of success in getting people into housing using that Flexible Housing Fund, they’re able to sustain themselves from then on.”

Another priority will be on infrastructure.

$187 million will be going to roads and infrastructure which is up from $57 million dollars.

One of the big projects is  at the Walnut Street Bridge.

$18 million of that will be going to a future renovation of the Walnut Street Bridge, $13 million of that would be federal funding.

Yates said, “It really needs some love. I was just out there earlier today with our Chief Operating Officer. The entire decking needs to be replaced. They need to sandblast the metal that holds up the bridge and completely repaint it. We are going to installing LED lighting. A bunch of wonderful improvements to make sure it remains an icon for our community.”

The project would last for 14 months and the Bridge would be closed to the public.

There are four public education sessions on this budget starting this Tuesday, May 9th.

The first public hearings and ordinance readings start on June 6th.

To take a look at the budget yourself, a link to it is here.


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