City May Dip Into Rainy Day Fund To Delay Water Quality Fee Rise 1 Year; Speakers Hit Fee Rise

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

City Council members may dip into the city's Rainy Day Fund to hold off a planned sharp rise in the water quality fee by a year.

Councilman Chip Henderson suggested taking $2 million from the general reserve and designating it for water quality projects. He said the state MTAS group as well as the city auditor said that could be done.

He said the city could use the year's time to come up with "a more equitable way to assess the fee."

Councilman Henderson also said there needs to be a continual focus on how to achieve efficiencies in the water quality program to trim costs and mitigate the need for the fee hike.

He said of the funds transfer, "This is not something we would want to do every year, but it is OK as a one-time measure."

He indicated it could be coupled with a lowering of the property tax rate so as not to shift the water quality burden to the property owners.

There was also discussion of whether those assessed the fee could have the option of paying it monthly instead of being hit with a large one-time bill along with the property tax bill.

Councilman Henderson said he wanted to hear which method citizens would favor.

At a public hearing on Tuesday night, a number of speakers were critical of the water quality fee increase.

Richard Beeland, executive director of the Home Builders Association, asked the council to remove it from the overall budget and give it special consideration.

Sandy Kurtz of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, said the plan was crafted behind closed doors and approved by the Stormwater Board with very little public notice.

She said all streams in the city are still classified as impaired. She said the streams are only tested every five years.

Geoff Ramsey, president of the Chattanooga Board of Realtors, said the increase would affect the ability to have affordable homes in the city.

He said the plan was introduced to the public only three days before it first went before the Stormwater Board. He said it was "a done deal" with little public input.

David Hamill recommended that the city get some of its water quality revenue from a fee charged to drivers. He said about 20 percent of the impervious area is in roadways.



County General Sessions Judge Gary W. Starnes Elected President Of Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference

Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Gary W. Starnes has been elected president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference (TGSJC) for 2018-2019.   The TGSJC is a statewide organization consisting of 185 general sessions court judges from across the State of Tennessee. Judge Starnes previously served four years on the TGSJC Executive Committee Board and ... (click for more)

Home Under Construction On Signal Mountain Destroyed By Fire

A home under construction on Signal Mountain was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.   At  5:45 a.m. , a neighbor called 911 reporting a possible house fire at 2077 Sitton Mills Place (Signal Mountain area). Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services (WRES) responded and arrived on the scene reporting a fully-involved house fire.   Due to the size of ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (2)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Is This ‘New Voice’?

It’s easy for me to say that I either know, or know about, almost every person running in November for the state legislature. Yet when I describe Lemon Williams as the most exciting of the bunch, that’s because he's the only guy I had never heard of when he picked up his qualifying papers. He just turned out the best political aspirant I have had a conversation with in the last ... (click for more)

Baylor Volleyball Pounds GPS, 3-0

It was just 20 days ago on August 29 when Baylor and GPS faced each other for the first time this season in volleyball.   The match was played at GPS.   The Bruisers lost that day, but they left feeling pretty good after winning a set and giving the defending state champs all they wanted at times. The second match between these two storied rivals at Baylor wasn’t ... (click for more)

Lady Mustangs Corral Lady Owls, 3-1, To Keep Share Of 5-3A Volleyball Lead

After dropping the first two sets, Ooltewah gained momentum by staving off defeat and was playing visiting Walker Valley on almost even terms before the Lady Mustangs did what the Lady Owls could only talk about. Walker Valley finished off a 3-1 volleyball victory Tuesday night and stayed tied with Cleveland atop the District 5-3A standings. The Lady Mustangs (16-10 overall) ... (click for more)