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Dan Whisenhunt

Stories by Dan

The Chattanooga Police Department this morning is reporting that a 9-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun to Eastside Elementary School.

The local spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation apologized Monday for praising County Commission Chairman Larry Henry, whose son is representing the rights of property owners in cases against TDOT.

The Hamilton County Commission chairman has both a personal and a political interest in a state project to widen East Brainerd Road, and advocacy groups say he also may have an ethical dilemma.

With power finally restored Friday following Wednesday’s tornadoes, the Mr. Zip Texaco station in North Chattanooga was back in business selling gas, snacks, beer and soft drinks.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says no one should be surprised that he postponed plans to relocate a homeless health care center on 11th Street that was a joint venture with the city.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger this morning warned that the county's decision to suspend a homeless health care center on 11th Street is just the beginning. The project was a joint effort with the city of Chattanooga.

Ending a decades-old pact to fund vital programs jointly is a funny way for Chattanooga to pursue consolidation with the county, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says.

When the sales-tax agreement between Chattanooga and Hamilton County ends in May, even nonprofit agencies not funded under the agreement could lose their county money, the county mayor says.

Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd says he can cut $7 million out of the county school system’s budget, partly by getting rid of several top-level positions.

The roughly $85 million Hamilton County has in reserves is spoken for, county officials said Thursday. And, they say, those reserves help the county maintain its AAA bond rating.

This morning Hamilton County commissioners said they want the public to understand that the county’s $85 million in reserve funds is spoken for.

If the local chapter of the NAACP wants information on minority hiring at companies that have received tax breaks from Hamilton County, it will have to approach those companies individually.

If the local chapter of the NAACP wants information on minority hiring at companies that have received tax breaks from Hamilton County, it will have to approach those companies individually the county says.

Although Hamilton County officials want to spend payment-in-lieu-of-taxes money on school construction, now there may not be enough.

As Hamilton County School officials meet today with the Hamilton County Commission, one topic of discussion is how the county will spend payment-in lieu-of-taxes money designated for schools.

Before the nine Hamilton County Commissioners decide what school projects the county will fund with payment-in-lieu-of-taxes money, they must first resolve if they want to divide the money up nine ways.

Local students are testing their skills all week as part of the state’s annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program achievement exam.

A youth athletic association says it hired a man with a criminal record to build bathrooms at Woodmore Elementary’s football field and paid for the work in part with taxpayer money from a county commissioner’s discretionary fund.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger on Wednesday sent a letter to Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield asking the city to help it come up with a plan to fund four agencies funded under the tax agreement.

A committee including Hamilton County commissioners and school board members will meet over the next few months to discuss how to spend money from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements, commission Chairman Larry Henry said Wednesday.

A joint committee including Hamilton County commissioners and school board members will meet over the next few months to discuss school funding issues, Commission Chairman Larry Henry said today.

Hamilton County commissioners today approved the sale of property at Enterprise South Industrial Park to Archer Daniels Midland Company for $623,700, a price of $35,000 per acre.

As Hamilton County crafts its fiscal 2012 budget, two Hamilton County Commissioners say layoffs are possible — and not just from the Health Department, which is already facing steep cuts if a sales tax agreement between the city and the county is allowed to expire.

A new estimate of a $14 million revenue shortfall for next year’s budget put Hamilton County school board members in a bad mood Tuesday, which led to some testy exchanges between board members and school administrators.

Hamilton County Schools Accounting and Budgeting Director Christie Jordan presented revised estimates to School Board members today that show a projected revenue shortfall of $14.3 million for next year’s budget, an increase of $4 million from the most recent estimate.

When the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department does its job, the results are measured by what doesn’t happen, administrator Becky Barnes says.

Officials with two agencies that could lose money when the city-county sales-tax agreement expires in May said they’ve been warned by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger they will get no more money from the county. But both said they’re expecting Chattanooga to pick up the funding without a hitch.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger on March 25 sent a letter to jointly-funded agencies informing them that, due to the anticipated expiration of the sales tax agreement with the city of Chattanooga, they will no longer receive funding from the county.

County commissioners this morning said they want to renew a decades-old sales tax agreement with the city of Chattanooga. But city officials aren't interested in renewing the revenue sharing pact, and Chairman Larry Henry conceded that today's vote doesn't put the county any closer to its goal of seeing the agreement extended.

Archer Daniels Midland company is offering the county $623,700 for 17.82 acres at Enterprise South Industrial Park to open up a sugar processing plant, according to county documents and County Commission Chairman Larry Henry.

Hamilton County Commissioners this morning agreed to purchase the David Brainerd School site for the Hamilton County Department of Education.

Hamilton County commissioners this morning will consider a resolution to renew a decades-old sales tax agreement with Chattanooga, but city officials said there is no chance that will happen.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP is asking the county for information about the number of blacks hired by companies that have received tax breaks.

Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said this morning that commissioners will consider a resolution in support of extending a sales tax agreement with the city of Chattanooga when they meet Thursday. But city of Chattanooga officials say the commission is wasting its time.

Hamilton County school board members grappled Tuesday with growing pains as more families move into the county but find less space in some schools to accommodate their children.

Hamilton County Board of Education members is considering a rezoning plan that would move students from an overcrowded East Side Elementary School to Orchard Knob Elementary School.

The Hamilton County School system’s facilities committee is meeting this afternoon to determine school construction priorities.

Hamilton County spent a little more than $900,000 on its in-house attorneys office last year, but still paid more than $250,000 in outside legal fees, records show.

Angry parents vented to county leaders Monday about the county’s wayward youth.

Facing the near certainty of losing millions of dollars when a sales tax agreement with Chattanooga expires in May, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger lately has touted the county’s hotel-motel tax as a benefit from the county to the city.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed 1.6 percent salary increase for teachers could end up hurting more than it helps in Hamilton County Schools, with teacher layoffs already being mentioned as an option to offset the $2 million needed locally to pay for the raises.

Two elevator companies say they got the shaft when the Hamilton County Commission recently awarded an elevator maintenance contract to ThyssenKrupp Elevator while rejecting their bids.

A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office employee was suspended for three days after the department’s 2010 audit showed he misused his county purchasing card.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond says there soon will be a nonprofit fund to support law enforcement agencies in the county.

Hamilton County School officials and Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander on Friday settled questions about what the school system will receive from old payment in lieu of taxes agreements.

Hamilton County School Superintendent Jim Scales and Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander met today and left with the understanding that school system will receive money it was promised under old payment in lieu of taxes agreements, but not new ones.

As the school board puts together next year’s budget, it’s facing a potential $10.7 million revenue shortfall and a list of painful cuts.

Former Hamilton County Commissioner Lou Miller passed away Thursday evening, according to County Commission Chairman Larry Henry and Commissioner Joe Graham.

Members of the Hamilton County Board of Education just put the kibosh on a plan of six of its employees in the Information and Technology Services department to take a $16,000 conference trip to Philadelphia from June 24-30.

The Hamilton County Schools system is projecting a $10.7 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, budget director Christie Jordan told school board members this afternoon.

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