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  • Opposition to mayor's budget grows

    Opposition to mayor's budget grows

    Tuesday, May 25 2010 6:48 PM EDT2010-05-25 22:48:36 GMT
    A crowd of protestors are outside City Hall, showing opposition to a potential 33% hike. Several have said they don't support the hike and at Tuesday afternoon's budget meeting it was clear the council is being very careful about the money that goes out the door right now.More

Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA. (WRCB) - The Chattanooga City Council is working through Mayor Ron Littlefield's proposed budget.

The city faces a $1.5 million shortfall in tax revenue.

Tuesday, the council had its first chance to discuss the budget, since the mayor presented it last week.

 


READ THE FULL BUDGET
Chattanooga FY11 Budget Pt. 1 (2.5MB)

Chattanooga FY11 Budget Pt. 2 (2MB)


 

Mayor Littlefield is calling for a 33% increase in city property taxes. That money would pay for 40 additional police officers, as well as other city programs.

"There should be other options than raising taxes."

That's the word we heard over and over Tuesday about Mayor Littlefield's latest plan to raise taxes.

"Everywhere I go that's the main topic. They say don't raise my taxes," says City Councilman Manny Rico.

Rico usually supports Littlefield's initiatives, but says he hasn't stopped hearing from the community since the mayor made his proposal last week.

"It's just coming at a bad time and most of them say it's the economy, it's bad, they're struggling, people are being laid off," says Rico.

And here's the part that really has people talking. While Littlefield is asking for a 33% increase to property taxes to help fund police and fire services, part of that money would go toward the first city-wide pay increase since a pay adjustment about 2 years ago. An additional two percent raise is based on job performance.

"It's surprising, really, and I think there's a lot of people out there are really struggling to keep their homes and so to hear that there might be an increase and the benefit goes to city employees", says Rico.

Tuesday the City Council decided to take the next few weeks to look at the budget by category. They will come back with suggestions of what can be cut. Rico says he doesn't think it's a good idea.

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