Chattanooga Taxpayers Get Strapped With $690K Bill For Juneteenth “Day Off” For City Workers

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Published May 18, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Chattanooga, TN – During the Chattanooga City Council meeting on May 11, the Council voted on an ordinance to approve an amendment to the City Code to allow for June 19th of each year to be a paid holiday for City employees. 

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

The ordinance was last discussed publicly in the Strategic Planning meeting on March 23rd, where the Council members discussed adding Juneteenth as a holiday for City employees and the budgetary implications thereof. 

During the meeting on March 23rd, District 1 Council Member Chip Henderson said, “It does have budgetary implications.  We’re talking about around $690,000 if we add this holiday.  I think we need to have a discussion about how we spend $690,000 particularly when we’re talking about addressing the salaries of our employees.”   

However, during last week’s meeting, without further discussion and upon first reading, the ordinance was passed with an Eight to Zero vote. 

In the City Code, the holiday will be referred to as “Juneteenth Independence Day.” 

The ordinance was voted in by long-standing members of the Council, Chip Henderson, Darrin Ledford, Anthony Byrd, Carol Berz and Demetrus Coonrod along with new members, Raquetta Dotley, Isiah Hester and Jenny Hill. 

In response to the ordinance, some residents have posted their thoughts on social media. 

Gary Burris says, “Sounds like a waste of taxpayer’s money.” 

“Taxpayers are already on the hook for enough federal holidays. They need to quit wasting taxpayer money on bull****. Next thing you will hear is we got to raise taxes. Cut unnecessary spending and balance the books,” said James Hindsley. 

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During the Strategic Planning meeting in March, City Attorney Phil Noblett was asked to begin the process for the Budget Amendment to add the Holiday to the Budget after stating that the budget amendment required a roughly 30-day public notice before approval.   

Regarding Juneteenth, District 9 Council Member Demetrus Coonrod said, “When we take a look at the list of holidays that we already celebrate as city holidays, they’re not inclusive to all people. Juneteenth is inclusive to everybody.  It’s about reclaiming our history, rejoicing in the progress we’ve made, and recommitting to the work yet undone.” 

In one of his last meetings as a City Council member for District 2, Jerry Mitchell said, “I personally think we should do this….It’s for all of us…let’s charge for it not let’s move slowly forward over the years.”   

Mitchell was replaced by Jenny Hill, who also serves as District 6 representative on the Hamilton County School board, where she voted against parental choice for mask-wearing in Hamilton County Schools on Thursday evening during the School Board meeting. 

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