City hosts public discussion on 2021 budget
How do you want your tax dollars spent? That's the question the City of Chattanooga is asking. They're hosting the first in a series of public budget input meetings Monday night.
"Cities across the country are seeing their revenues starting to go down, so we know this is going to be a tight budget year for us,” Director of Special Projects Tyler Yount said. “We're going to have to make some tough decisions."
Yount says public input is key in making those tough decisions. That's why the city is hosting a series of three budget meetings to hear from constituents.
"When we're figuring out what we might need to increase, what we might need to decrease, what stays the same, this input helps make those decisions,” Yount said.
Monday's meeting focuses on Districts One, Two and Three. District One Councilman Chip Henderson says he's pretty sure of what they'll hear.
"I expect as always to hear paving as the number one issue in District One. It has been since I’ve been on the council and that's something we've tried to address every year,” he said.
In previous years, these meetings directly impacted city spending, even leading to new offices.
"Last year we heard a lot about workforce development, so in the years past we actually formed an Office of Workforce Development based on that input,” Yount said.
For council members, the public voice can be a second on the things they want to accomplish too.
“Having that reinforcement from our citizens, that reinforcement really helps drive home that point,” Henderson said.
After the meetings, city department heads will use the feedback to develop offers for what they need for the year. The input will also help prioritize how departments are funded.
Yount says after all the listening comes the hard part - making the tough choices and writing a budget.
Tonight's meeting is from 6 to 8 at the North River Civic Center. To make things easier on families, the city will have child care available.
There will be two more meetings on December 9th and December 16th. The city also has an online survey at connect.chattanooga.gov/bfo for those who can’t attend.