published Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Coppinger budget to include cuts


by Cliff Hightower

by Dan Whisenhunt

On Wednesday, County Mayor Jim Coppinger will present his draft budget to the County Commission, and it’s likely to be down from last year’s budget of $638 million.

Coppinger said he’s having to make hard choices now that Chattanooga has allowed a sales-tax agreement with the county to expire, costing the county more than $10.5 million in annual revenue to fund agencies. Coppinger said some positions will be eliminated and drastic cuts are expected in the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

He said elimination of services and positions will occur across county government, but the budget will not contain a tax increase.

“There shouldn’t be any surprises,” Coppinger said. “[You] should expect what we’ve been talking about for the last several months.”

The County Commission will consider approval of the budget June 30. Commission Chairman Larry Henry said county staff will meet individually with commissioners to educate them on the particulars of the upcoming budget.

Union presence at riverbend

Thirteen Chattanooga labor unions will be stationed outside the gates of the Riverbend Festival this year, distributing paddle fans to attendees.

According to a news release, each fan will have the logo of the union handing out the fans and will include a quote by Harry Bridges saying, “The most important word in the language of the working class is SOLIDARITY!” Bridges is the union leader who helped create the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The unions will be at Riverbend seven nights with different unions handing out different paddles each night, the news release states.

The union presence is to show support for working-class families across the area, according to the release.

County continuing brush pickup

According to a news release from the Hamilton County mayor’s office, Hamilton County will continue brush pickup in the tornado-stricken area of Apison.

The deadline for brush pickup was this week, but after visiting with residents on Monday evening, Mayor Jim Coppinger realized the need for continued brush pickup still exists.

“‘We have been working throughout the week to create a plan that will allow residents to continue to remove brush and trees,” he said. “We are trying to do this in a financially prudent manner.

“We understand the gravity of this problem and are committed to helping our friends and neighbors reclaim their lives.”

Favors to speak at democrat club

State Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Greater Democratic Women’s Club.

The club gathers at the meeting hall of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers at 3922 Volunteer Drive.

A news release by the club did not give the topic of Favors’ speech.

Dinner will be served and all are invited to attend.

Tea party hosts author

Tim Johnson, author of “Liberty vs. Power: The Founding Fathers’ Vision for America” and professor of American history at Lipscomb University, will be the special guest speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chattanooga Tea Party meeting.

Johnson will discuss the Founding Fathers’ principles of limited government and preserving liberty in a free society, according to a news release.

The meeting will be at the Home Builder’s Association of Southern Tennessee at 3221 Harrison Pike.

Attendees are asked to RSVP at the Chattanooga Tea Party’s Facebook page.

Donations will be accepted to help defray costs.

JFK club talking 'Big Nine'

The JFK Club will meet at noon Monday to hear about the history of the “Big Nine,” also known as M.L. King Boulevard.

Maury Nicely, chairman of the Chattanooga History Museum and board member of Friends of the Festival, will talk about the street’s history, according to a press release.

The Big Nine was once a national hotbed of black-oriented entertainment and commerce. Entertainers such as Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Bessie Smith performed at clubs along the boulevard.

The meeting is held at the Blue Orleans Restaurant at the intersection of Main and Market streets.

There will be a buffet lunch; vegetarian dishes are available upon request. Cost is $11.

Anyone attending is encouraged to RSVP to JFKClub@comcast.net.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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