published Monday, June 17th, 2013

Chattanooga expects $4 million bump in revenue


by Cliff Hightower

BY THE NUMBERS

Chattanooga's early revenue projections:

$213 million: Total estimated revenue for 2013-14 fiscal year

$209 million: 2012-13 revenue

$4 million: Projected increase

Source: Chattanooga

Early projections show growth could bring Chattanooga at least $4 million more in revenue in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The largest growth in revenue is expected to come from building and trade permits, with an anticipated 8 percent increase. Property tax revenues are expected to increase slightly, by 0.85 percent, records show.

Overall, the city estimates revenues will be up about 2 percent, to $213 million.

"You've got a pretty healthy situation," said Councilwoman Carol Berz, chairwoman of the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee.

Mayor Andy Berke's administration would not comment on details of the projections, saying they came from an internal working document that was not intended to be made public.

The document was put together by the city's finance department at the beginning of the Berke administration to provide a snapshot of revenues and departmental requests.

The administration is putting together the 2013-14 budget. The City Council has approved a continuing budget, and the administration has said the mayor will present his budget to the council in mid-August.

Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem said he isn't surprised at projected revenue increases. He said he thinks Chattanooga is in better shape economically than other parts of the country.

But that doesn't mean the city can spend as much as it wants to, he said.

"We have a lot of needs," he said. "Even with that amount of money, we still have to prioritize."

Councilman Chris Anderson said the budget should fall in line with growth occurring in the city.

But he said he wouldn't be surprised if actual revenues surpass projections.

"We're probably projecting low," he said.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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