This is one in a series of Voices pieces by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. We’re calling it the Mayor’s Minute. Want to share your voice? Anyone can contribute to NOOGAtoday here.
Each year when we start to build a budget we look to the community for how we should allocate our resources. This process begins in November and we use that input as our guiding principles to build a budget that is responsible, resilient, and results-driven for Chattanoogans.
In one sense this year’s budget is no different. But in another, this budget is far different than what we imagined.
Mayor Berke spoke to attendees at one of the multiple FY21 Budget Public Input sessions the City held in November. | City of Chattanooga
At the start of this year, Chattanooga was poised to be the top city for jobs in the country.
Then, in March, the pandemic hit and we saw revenues come to a screeching halt. Just a few weeks later, a deadly tornado tore through our community leaving devastation in its wake. We knew we would have to rethink our budget.
With more than an $8 million decrease in revenues, we’re having to do more with less. Our budget saw cuts across every single department, but did not decrease services to our residents, did not cut salaries for our employees, and did not increase your taxes.
Responsible. Resilient. Results.
My administration worked alongside the City Council to answer questions and address concerns as we do each year during budget review.
Then in late May, we all watched in horror the unjust killing of George Floyd. This sparked a call for reviewing policing policies and how cities serve black and brown communities and respond to non-violent emergency calls.
We immediately reviewed our policing policies to ensure the safety of residents and officers. We then looked at ways to reinvest some of our police budget to be more community and social work driven.
More than $1 million was reinvested to create the new Office of Community Resilience, which will bring together our Family Justice Center and Office of Public Safety to find new, creative solutions to respond to social and emotional crises. I believe that Chattanooga can be the city that figures this out first.
The Fiscal Year 2021 budget is not the one I envisioned when we set out to bring your priorities to life but being resilient means being able to withstand challenges and come out stronger than before.
We’ve been hit with three crises in the span of three months. My mission since Day One has been to break down the barriers preventing people from living the lives they want in our community.
I believe this budget continues to promote this vision by ensuring we are responsible with your tax dollars while laying the groundwork for our City to respond to these challenges and emerge even more resilient and continuing to provide and deliver results for all Chattanoogans.
– Mayor Andy Berke
○ On June 24, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced that Hamilton County’s outdoor playgrounds can now reopen with COVID-19 safety measures in place. These measures include maintaining six feet of distance between children who are playing, using hand sanitizer before and after playing, and — depending on the child’s age — wearing face masks. Playground facilities are also encouraged to clean + disinfect the playgrounds when possible. (WRCB)
○ Yesterday, editor Trista created this article with updated information on COVID-19 in Hamilton County. You can find some fast facts about the county’s statistics, precautions to take right now, and resources in the city and county surrounding COVID-19.
○ You can check out this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University that has information on confirmed coronavirus cases + the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. The map is updated once per day to provide updated and accurate information.
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Chattanooga’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
June 23 was International Women in Engineering Day, which recognizes the accomplishments of women in the field. It’s also a chance to spread the word to girls about opportunities in the male-dominated industry.
DYK — During WWII, many women who graduated with engineering degrees started their careers at TVA.
Shout out to all the women in STEM fields. Keep up the great work.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #NOOGAtoday on social media.
Weather ○ 88º | Chance of thunderstorms | 40% chance of rain ⛈️
ComingSoon ○ Chattanooga is getting a new 2,100 square foot Starbucks this upcoming fall or winter. The Starbucks location will be adjacent to the Food City shopping center at 709 Signal Mountain Road. The new Starbucks will have both dine-in + drive-through features. ☕ (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
Announced ○ After first postponing the 2020 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival for three months, it has now been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The festival will return on July 17-20, 2021, to celebrate its 20th anniversary. 🎵 (Tennessean.com)
Biz ○ Local plant nursery Bees on a Bicycle celebrated its third anniversary with a green ribbon-cutting ceremony after also earning Green Light’s sustainability certification. The nursery specializes in Tennessee native plants for plant hardiness, drought-resistance, and to provide pollinator-friendly options. The shop also limits carbon emissions by focussing on plants grown within a two-hour radius of the shop. 🌺 (Chattanoogan.com) ○ The Tennessee Aquarium, Medal of Honor Heritage Center, and the Chattanooga River Market announced expanded business hours for the fourth of July weekend. You can also find a full list of restaurants operating in the downtown area here. ○ East Ridge’s Topgolf location is beginning its hiring process for front-of-house and heart of house positions + facility and porter team members. Interviews begin today and will last through July 3. If you are interested in applying for a position, click here. ○ Chattanooga-based moving company Bellhop is now on the lookout for workers across the country. You can click here to find open job positions at Chattanooga and Atlanta locations. 🏌️
TheBuy ○ The Dwell Hotelis closing, and owner Sonja Ojanpera is selling the inventory from the hotel. The online sale of the mid-century modern + Danish decor is running now until Monday, June 29. You can shop the sale here. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
State ○ The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to block the ruling that requires the state to allow Tennesseans to vote via absentee ballotduring COVID-19. This ruling means that you can continue to request + vote absentee while the appeal is pending.
TryThis ○ TheLeague of Women Votersis partnering with other local organizations to inspire hundreds of prospective voters to go to the polls by reaching them through their places of worship for online voter registration efforts. Over 120 churches, mosques + other groups have been reached and encouraged to register to vote at GoVoteTN.gov. Any faith group leaders or members who would also like to share this information should email [email protected]. ○ This week’s virtual Nightfall show on Friday will feature soulful sets from opener NuBreed Bandand main act Roosevelt Collier. The show was recorded at the Mountain Arts Community Center in Signal Mountain and will be streamed from 7-8 p.m. on the NightfallFacebook pageand YouTube page. 🎸
Ranked ○ WalletHub recently released a report on States Whose Unemployment Claims are Recovering the Quickest. Tennessee ranks 42 for states that have recovered the most since last week, and 31 for states that have recovered most since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. You can read the full reporthere.
Naternal’s “Trust the Dose System” allows consumers the chance to personalize their CBD experience | Photo via Root Bioscience
Trying a new self-care product or treatment shouldn’t bankrupt you. NC-made Naternal is cutting through the often confusing – and expensive – world of CBD with a line of high-quality products at prices that make sense; starting at $15.
Every human (and pet) is different, so Naternal’s product line + dosing system allows each customer to fully personalize their CBD experience. They even created this quiz to help customers find the product that best suits their needs. Ⓟ