Mayor’s 2015 Budget Includes a Wide Range of Programs

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) – Most Chattanooga residents won’t take time to study the Mayor’s proposed 2015 budget.
They’ll hear it’s almost 217-million dollars without a tax increase, but there’s a lot more to it.
And city council will weigh-in on every expenditure before it’s adopted.

A budget that ranges from public safety to paving work is not easy to summarize.
But Mayor Andy Berke is determined to keep the focus on keeping citizens safe.
Almost half of the budget is earmarked for that.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA "Our streets are still too dangerous ..we know we have made progress over the last year..you can see that in the numbers..but there’s a lot more work to do."

That program is aimed directly at career criminals and gang members. .
But some of Mayor Berke’s ideas may raise questions, like dealing with homeless veterans.

MAYOR ANDY BERKE "We know that there are veterans sleeping on our streets and in our garages around this town ..to me our city is better than that. We’re Chattanooga and we can take care of our veterans."

City council members are just now getting a complete copy of the budget.

LARRY GROHN (IN: 12:47) "The mayor has ordered..he’s super-sized his meal on this budget."

Grohn is already raising questions.

LARRY GROHN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "How do you track how successful the program is?

MAYOR ANDY BERKE ( IN:28:23) "Over the next year as we start to put these pieces in place..we can also look at their indicators as to whether they are providing the product and outcomes that we expect."

The budget has allotted only 2.3 million dollars for paving projects—a number some see as low.

LARRY GROHN ( IN:16:33) "Every single city council person who was elected..ran on what are going to do about our streets and our infra-structure?

MAYOR BERKE (IN:30:27) "We’re going to hear within the next few weeks feedback from our community members and city council people…in the long run we’re all going to come together and do what’s best for the city."

The mayor’s ambitious budget also includes such programs as getting information to young pregnant women; a plan to adjust the police pay structure; and even helping teens apply for college.

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