WATCH: Hamilton Co. Commission reverses decision on fee collection for Business Improvement District
UPDATE: The Hamilton County Commission reversed its decision to allow the county trustee's office to collect fees for the Business Improvement District on behalf of the city of Chattanooga.
The commission voted 6-2 to revisit the issue.
A discussion followed by the commission, with many members citing concern over the county being brought into lawsuits by business owners.
In a vote of 5-3, commissioners decided to deny letting the county trustee's office collect the fees.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Along with the Hamilton County budget, the county commission discussed the controversial Business Improvement District in downtown Chattanooga and why some commissioners worry about the legality of it.
In a heated discussion, the Hamilton County Commission voted in favor of the County Trustee collecting the BID fees.
"I think it's down to this. They just want us to collect it. The lanes on their property... it will be treated just like anybody else's lanes,” County Trustee Bill Hullander said.
Amy Donahue with River City says in order for the BID to process the fees for services, it has to be collected by a taxing authority, according to state guidelines.
Donahue says they want to make sure they follow proper protocol.
"The vast majority of those improvement business districts, the county is the collector of the fee. So we are also doing something that is very much so in line with many other improvement districts,” Donahue said.
But some commissioners are still uneasy about it.
Commissioner Chip Baker thinks this a Chattanooga issue.
"Enforcement would still fall to the city. Yet again, it goes back to the city. City collects, city enforces, it's all part of the city...Why are we a part of that,” Baker said.
Chattanooga City Councilman Darrin Ledford chimed in the discussion and says he understands the concerns of the commissioners.
"It wasn't complete enough and we hadn't really truly done our homework on seeing what better options or other options there are to take everyone in to account,” Ledford said.
Though, before it passed city council, many tenants in the district were against it.
White assures everyone, including the county commission, its purpose is to make sure downtown Chattanooga can prosper.
"It's all about improving the city. It's about economic development. The county and city have been huge partners in economic development for downtown. And that's all we are trying to do; make this city better for everybody,” White said.
The BID went into effect when it passed at the end of July.
River City officials say they are taking applications from tenants and property owners to be on the BID Board.
Information about the BID is on River City's website.
Stay with the WRCB app for continuing coverage of this story.