Photo: Aerial View of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Photo Credit: Drone Trekkers / Shutterstock
Published January 14, 2021
Hamilton County, TN – During the Hamilton County Commission Recessed and Agenda Meeting on January 13th, District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey expressed that Hamilton County Government officials are going into the budgeting season blind.
Due to the Pandemic and the affect it has had on the economy and businesses, along with the hope that the vaccine will turn things around, Mackey suggested that it is difficult to make good budget decisions based on the current state of the county.
“I would love to get some data as it relates to how many Hamilton County companies have closed and I would like to get numbers in terms of tax collections with the closure of businesses,” Mackey said.
Mackey stated, “What are we doing for those who have lost their jobs or lost their businesses? I think we need to be forward-thinking.”
He called back to a time when the Hamilton County economy was flourishing and stated that it now may be improving after the significant decline in 2020.
However, Mackey stated that if government officials are going to make smart decisions with budgeting, “We need to have a broad outlook and look beyond Hamilton County.”
Mackey suggested they look at comparative data from “counterparts” like Huntsville, Alabama.
“Every year, we are graduating 3,000 new high school students and our economy has to accommodate them in terms of job growth and job attraction,” Mackey said.
Prior to 2020, Mackey stated that the Commission regularly had company representatives to come before them with proposals for new businesses and for companies to relocate or open new facilities in Hamilton County, all of which meant more opportunities for employment.
“If you look at Huntsville numbers, we are not keeping up with our counterparts and there is a reckoning for that.”
Mackey requested that the Commission receive comparative economic reports from counterpart cities in Tennessee and in neighboring states well before they start making budget decisions.
“We have been efficient in running this county and if we’re going to continue to do that, we need data.”
Mayor Coppinger agreed to have his office provide the data to the Commission as soon as it could be compiled.