UPDATE: Council members voted to approve the city's Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget Tuesday evening.

The vote was 8 to 1 with District 3 Councilman Ken Smith being the only member to oppose.

The budget vote was delayed due to concerns over a storm water quality fee increase of $11 each year for the next five years.

The storm water fees will be waived for the citizens who are participating in the city's Senior Tax Freeze/Relief Program.

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PREVIOUS UPDATE: The Chattanooga City Council passed the proposed city budget for the FY2019 during its first reading on Tuesday night.

A vote on the budget was delayed over a debate on an increase in storm water fees.

The proposed budget includes an $11 increase each year over the next five years.

Council Chip Henderson proposed an amendment to use $2-million from the city's rainy day fund to keep the fee from going up. However, the council voted against the amendment.

The council will hold a second and final vote on the budget at next week's meeting.

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PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga City Council members are voting on the proposed budget Tuesday night. Currently, the City is operating on an interim budget.

The vote comes as the debate on how to handle a storm water fee increase continues.

If the city budget passes, storm water fees, which are currently a flat rate, would increase $11 dollars each year for the next 5 years.

The money would pay for drainage and flooding projects.

However, not all council members agree with the flat rate increase.

Tuesday, Councilman Chip Henderson proposed another plan, giving public works the $2 million needed from funding reserves, leaving the storm water fee unchanged next year, and working on a new system where homeowners would pay based on usage instead of charging a flat rate.

"It's a more equitable way of charging the water quality fee,” said Henderson, “Right now whether you live in a thousand square foot house or a 6,000 square foot house everyone pays the same fee."

Council members discussed the issue for more than two hours Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the vote.

If the budget passes, Councilman Henderson said his plan would be proposed as an amendment.

Another part of the budget focuses on Chattanooga’s Violent Reduction Initiative.

A main component to VRI is called the call-in. It's where city leaders meet with known gang members, in an effort to get them to change their ways.

The budget proposal would add to that effort with something called re-entry navigators, people who would focus on keeping adults and children out of gangs.

In January, the city council refused to fund the mayors VRI social services provider, and put meetings on hold until they agreed on how to pay for them.

Council members said the re-entry navigators will put a bigger focus on the youth and keeping them out of gangs altogether. Some people said it's a pro-active change the program needs.

"So many things seem to be reactive to situations after they've happened. I want a more proactive situation,” said Councilman Anthony Byrd, “Where we're nipping things in the bud in the beginning where we're making life better for all of us."

The council meeting is underway.

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