County Commission Does Not Go Along With Large Increase In Travel Item

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Randy Fairbanks
Randy Fairbanks

The County Commission on Wednesday did not go along with an increase in the travel item of the commission budget from $73,000 to $185,000.

Commissioner Greg Martin made a motion to keep the same $73,000 amount, saying, "We talk about efficiency in government and transparency all the time. This sends the wrong message."

Commissioner Chester Bankston voted against the motion, but other commissioners did after Greg Beck, who was considered a swing vote, was in support. Commissioner Warren Mackey was absent.

Commissioner Martin said even the current amount is far above what the commissioners actually spend on travel.

Chairman Randy Fairbanks, who submitted the budget request, earlier said he did so after a request from two other commissioners. He did not say which commissioners.

He said he also did so after County Mayor Jim Coppinger indicated there was sufficient funding available for the increase.

With that increase, the budget for the County Commission had been proposed to rise by $111,317 - going from $788,939 to $900,256. The jump is more than 14 percent.

Chairman Fairbanks said the new funds would be for more than travel and could be for special appropriations as deemed appropriate by the various commissioners.

He said an example would be the $1,000 he recently had donated from county funds to the Soddy Daisy Food Bank.

Chairman Fairbanks, commenting on charges that other commissioners were "blindsided" by the budget request, said he would have been violating the Sunshine Law by going to each commissioner and discussing the item.

He said other commission chairmen had not passed around commission budget requests to the other commissioners. He said that was the case when he said Chairman Jim Fields in 2016 put in $898,409 in discretionary money. He said that was a commission budget increase of 121.2 percent.  

Chairman Fairbanks said County Mayor Coppinger had vetoed a county budget with $900,000 in commission discretionary funds at a time when there was not sufficient funds to cover that cost.

He said the county mayor advised there is sufficient money to cover the new lower amount of discretionary funds.

Chairman Fairbanks said Commissioner Graham, who seconded the Martin motion, spent the most last year on special district appropriations - giving $30,000 to Normal Park School. 



Top Chattanooga Salaries For 2018

Here are the top Chattanooga salaries for 2018: Bean, Russell J City Judge $176,364.00 Paty, Sherry B City Judge $176,364.00 Berke, Andrew L   Mayor $168,348.90 Hinton, Wadrick Allen City Attorney $154,564 Madison, Daisy W Administrator City Finance Officer $148,381 Roddy, David T Police Chief $144,460 Hill, Corinne M   Director ... (click for more)

Van Buren County Man Charged With Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

A joint investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Department of Correction Community Supervision Division has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a Rock Island man. At the request of Van Buren County Sheriff Eddie Carter and 31 st  District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, ... (click for more)

Here We Go Again With The Same Cummings Highway, 12th Street Flooding - And Response (2)

Here we go again with the same pitiful news reports about the Cummings Highway Interstate interchange with I-24 - Flooding yet again after a heavy rain.  TDOT is derelict in not having repaired this years ago.  How hard is it to get some excavators out there to dig up the collapsed drainage pipes which TDOT says are the cause of the flooding and replace them with ... (click for more)

Deal With The Graffiti Vandals

I travel to other neat old cities and don't see nearly the graffiti vandalism as in Chattanooga. Why do we allow one or two or three repeat vandals to mar our venerable Walnut Street Bridge, the pillars to the Holmberg Bridge, the remodeled Chief John Ross Market Street Bridge, the walls along our multi-million-dollar Riverwalk, our sidewalks, street signs and our old limestone ... (click for more)

English, Ex-East Hamilton Coach, Hired To Lead Whites Creek Boys' Hoops Team

Rodney English, former boys’ basketball coach at East Hamilton, recently was named to a similar job at Whites Creek High School in Nashville. The move was made public Monday when English’s name appeared on the official Whites Creek school directory that is annually submitted to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. The hiring of English at Whites Creek was also ... (click for more)

Vols' Nigel Warrior Named To Bednarik Award Watch List

Tennessee junior defensive back  Nigel Warrior  has been named to the 2018 Bednarik Award Watch List. Warrior is the first Vol to be named to the Bednarik Watch list since the defensive trio of Derek Barnett, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton were named to the Bednarik's preliminary list in 2016.   Warrior totaled 83 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss ... (click for more)