Continuing its focus around safer streets, stronger neighborhoods, growing economy, and smarter students and stronger families, the City of Chattanooga presented its Fiscal Year 2020 proposed budget to City Council Tuesday afternoon.
“The investments called for in this budget reflect the priorities that citizens told us they valued,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “This proposed budget will allow us to do more to expand affordable housing options, childcare, public transportation, and workforce development, all of which are critical rungs on the ladder of economic mobility. In addition to continuing to support a crime-reduction strategy that helps young people avoid contact with the justice system while helping those who have paid their debts to society safely return to our community.
“And we can do all of this without raising taxes for Chattanoogans.”
City of Chattanooga Chief Operating Officer, Maura Black Sullivan, and Chief Financial Officer, Daisy Madison, presented highlights of the $263.8 million budget, which is a 1.15 percent increase from the current year’s budget. The proposed property tax rate remains consistent at $2.227.
This the fifth budget the City prepared using the Budgeting for Outcomes method, which invites the public to provide input and collaboration to ensure that the City is using taxpayer dollars wisely.
The administration’s proposed budget funds new staff to continue efforts to end homelessness in Chattanooga, supports 1,000 new jobs with the latest Volkswagen expansion, and devotes an unprecedented amount — nearly $29 million in local and federal dollars — for street improvements and repairs, including high-profile projects like repairs to Elder Mountain Road, Lake Resort Drive and Hamill Road.
“This budget shows that we can be fiscally responsible while still moving Chattanooga forward,” Mayor Berke said. “As local governments continue to see cuts from the federal and state government, we’re having to be more strategic and creative in how we continue to deliver the services Chattanoogans have come to expect.”
New initiatives include expanding recycling services citywide, collaborating with the regional cities and counties to make sure that we are fully prepared to respond to and recover from natural disasters, and enhancing the economic mobility for all Chattanoogans.
The Chattanooga City Council will hold budget hearings each Tuesday beginning May 21 at 10 a.m. in the City Council conference room. The schedule is listed here.
The Fiscal Year 2020 budget is available for public viewing at budget.chattanooga.gov.