Chattanooga, TN – Monday, November 9, was the first of three virtual meetings designed to get ideas and feedback from Chattanooga citizens with the intended aim of improving results in some priority areas.
Safer Streets, Growing Economy, Stronger Neighborhoods, Smarter Students and Stronger Families topped the list of the Mayor’s priorities.
“We need to know what’s working, what isn’t and how we continue to fund the services that matter most to the community,” said Mayor Andy Berke.
Director of Special Projects, Tyler Yount said, “It’s super important right now that we hear from you about what your priorities are because this year’s budget is where we will have to make tough decisions.”
WRCBtv reported that the main topics presented by citizens were the need for capital for small businesses and more job opportunities.
Chattanooga resident Anabel Garner’s topic was, “To be able to afford to live in a safe environment, and to put food on the table and care for your kids without worrying paycheck to paycheck.”
Garner also presented the topics of better access to parks and transportation, along with safer sidewalks, streets and better lighting.
Tourism with special events was discussed as a way to foster a better sense of community.
City of Chattanooga Director of Performance Management, Tim Moreland, asked, “How do we connect neighbors to neighbors or city to neighbors or neighbors to resources?”
Office Representative for Mayor of Chattanooga, Meara Knowles, presented the idea of mental health support for young adults.
“Essentially we wanted a lot of intervention and social support for our kids because we know that long-term investing in our children is what makes us have strong families and smart students,” Knowles stated.
City leaders promised the ideas garnered from these meetings will be taken into account when working with the budget before its finalization in Spring 2021.
This is the eighth budget created using the Budgeting For Outcomes (BFO) process.
The BFO process requires internal departments and external nonprofit agencies to submit new “offers” that clearly explain what outcomes they seek to achieve for citizens and how they will measure their success.
The City will host two more sessions – Thursday, November 12th from 5:30 to 7PM and Monday, November 16th from 5:30 to 7PM.
For those citizens who do not have access to the internet or do not want to participate in a Zoom meeting, paper surveys can be picked up and dropped off at several Chattanooga Library Branches or feedback can be submitted through an online survey.
The City has also requested that citizens participate in the “Results Team”.
The Results Team will evaluate budget offers from City Departments and nonprofit agencies and make recommendations for what should and should not be funded.