published Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, Hamilton backer discuss proposed city


by Cliff Hightower
Chattanooga mayor Ron Littlefield
Chattanooga mayor Ron Littlefield
Photo by Jenna Walker.
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WHAT'S NEXT

The Friends of Hamilton hope to have two town hall meetings for residents of the proposed city of Hamilton -- one on the north end of the proposed town and one on the south end. The target date for the first meeting is Feb. 28.

Poll
Is the new city of Hamilton a good idea?

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Wednesday he thinks a group wanting to start a new town in Hamilton County is underestimating the costs.

"I think it's going to be far more than they expected," Littlefield said.

But the group's president maintains residents can have a town with low taxes and good services at a lower cost than if they were annexed into Chattanooga.

"We have a lot of questions directly related to what we can get from Chattanooga," said Chris Matthews, president of the Friends of Hamilton, which is proposing a town called Hamilton in the northeast portion of the county.

Littlefield and Matthews spoke Wednesday to the Greater Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce's Ooltewah-Collegedale Council. The two were invited to speak because of the potential impact of a new town on the area, said Jamie Kyle, vice president of the Ooltewah-Collegedale Council.

Friends of Hamilton is holding a petition drive with the aim of incorporating a city between Chattanooga and Cleveland. The town of Hamilton would include the areas of Birchwood, Georgetown, Harrison and Ooltewah.

Matthews said Wednesday the group has until Sept. 1 to get the petitions into the Hamilton County Election Commission. The group hopes to have a referendum placed on the November election ballot.

Friends of Hamilton members have said they are afraid of Chattanooga annexing the area, which would lead to residents paying higher taxes for fewer services.

Littlefield said after the meeting he wanted to tell those in attendance that they had nothing to fear from Chattanooga. "I hope they came out with the idea that we have no plans for expanding that far north," he said.

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