(April 16, 4 p.m.) – A NewsChannel 9 story that aired last night presented Friends of Hamilton (FOH) in an unfavorable light and highlighted the Chattanooga city administration’s point of view to counter our citizen-driven effort to incorporate the new city of Hamilton.
Last week, FOH released a tool to provide residents with side-by-side comparison of costs to residents living in Chattanooga with those of the proposed city of Hamilton. The information compares seven different measures of costs residents face in taxes or fees. NewsChannel 9 cited mistakes in two of the less costly measures: the vehicle sticker fee was shown by FOH to be $5-$25 range versus the $5 per car the city claims and the pet registration fee was shown to be $50 while it is $50 for unaltered pets and $10 for altered pets. Friends of Hamilton has since made corrections to the information that the NewsChannel 9 story brought up.
From our beginnings last fall, Friends of Hamilton (FOH), as a volunteer citizen-run organization, strived to honestly present information to the community via our website, FriendsOfHamilton.org, as well as via our YouTube and Facebook channels. We asked residents to validate and check information for themselves and let us know if there were any errors or omissions.
In last night’s story, the City’s communications representative and a long-time city councilman, Jack Benson, spent a considerable amount of time discussing the accuracy of FOH’s information. Chattanooga’s PR spokesperson also indicated that the target area for incorporating the new city is not within Chattanooga’s urban growth boundaries, suggesting the city has no interest in the territory. If Chattanooga has no designs on northeastern Hamilton County, why did they initiate this obvious PR effort in the first place? Certainly not because of their sense of altruism.
How short must our memories be to forget that last fall, Chattanooga attempted to extend its urban growth boundaries north to Mahan Gap Road – the southern boundary for the proposed city of Hamilton? And the city just this week quietly voted to rezone property in Ooltewah for a major apartment complex only two years after a similar decision sparked a near revolt by citizens that forced the city to back down.
Our FriendsOfHamilton.org website consistently links to supporting online documentation. However, it wasn’t mentioned in the story that the City of Chattanooga recently revamped their website (at a taxpayer cost to an outside firm of $128,000; FOH maintains its website through volunteer efforts) and our links to their documented information disappeared.
Chattanooga is attempting to mislead voters by restating the current urban growth plan from 2002, not their evident future intentions. The City of Chattanooga is interested in the area, and they have said so in previous statements shown in this news story(A), this story(b) and this story(c). They understand the community is rallying to place the option on the ballot so area residents can decide for themselves. We ask residents in our affected area to remain steadfast and determined.
Original NewsChannel 9 News Story http://www.newschannel9.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_1165.shtml