published Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Commissioner defends discretionary money

Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd on Wednesday defended the commission’s use of taxpayer-funded discretionary money — $100,000 each of the nine commissioners receives each year to spend on projects in their districts.

At their meeting Wednesday, commissioners approved a $198,967 contract to build a softball field at East Hamilton School.

Most of the money — $158,708 — comes from the sale of the former Signal Mountain Middle School property.

Commissioners Chester Bankston and Larry Henry each kicked in about $20,000 from their discretionary money.

Boyd praised the two commissioners.

“Kudos go out to these gentlemen using their discretionary funds in a manner that helps young people,” Boyd said. “It gives us the ability to directly impact citizens in this county. This commission, with all due respect to the budget constraints, we can use these discretionary funds to really impact young people in the educational system.”

Ramsey honored by bar association

The Chattanooga Bar Association presented its Liberty Bell Award to former Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey during the association’s annual Law Day celebration on Tuesday.

The award, presented since 1964, honors “an outstanding citizen in the Chattanooga area” for public service. The association chooses a person not in the legal community, said association President Ira Long Jr.

Highway Department sets deadline for brush

The Hamilton County Highway Department said its cutoff date for brush pickup from the April 27 storms will be June 9.

County residents who have storm-related brush may place a work order for pickup through next week by calling the department at 855-6100.

“The highway department would like to emphasize this is for brush only,” Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger’s spokesman Mike Dunne said in an email. “Brush must be placed on the road’s right of way for it to be picked up.”

Downtown vehicle chargers get OK

Two electric vehicle chargers will be installed near the loading dock of The Chattanoogan hotel after the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp. voted approval Thursday. The vote was 5-0.

Hotel General Manager Tom Cooper said he doesn’t know how much the electric vehicle drivers will have to pay to charge their batteries. Money for the installation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

He said a full charge takes four to six hours, so the station needs to be in a place where a car can stay for that time.

“A hotel would be a great place,” Cooper said.

The DoubleTree Hotel downtown already has electrical vehicle chargers in place, officials said.

Compiled by Dan Whisenhunt, Cliff Hightower and Todd South.

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