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“Friends of Hamilton” Speed-Up Their Efforts to Incorporate

Lawsuits have slowed down the plans to annex unincorporated areas like Ooltewah, Harrison and Birchwood.

Now, all the bickering between local leaders has spawned a new movement..

This one would create a new city to avoid the higher taxes.

But will it work?

Its really a novel idea. County residents who live the good like…..on some of the most beautiful land in the country….and who don’t pay city taxes…want to build a barrier to keep the city out. The new municipality would be called Hamilton, Tennessee. Entrepreneur Chris Mathews and some others residents came up with the idea a couple of years ago, but Mayor Littlefield’s insistence that annexation move ahead…pushed it ahead.

CHRIS MATHEWS, FRIENDS OF HAMILTON COUNTY “We want to have a much lower tax rate than the city of Chattanooga’s going to have, we’re looking at about 1 to 1 and a half percent is the estimate, just to cover operational services in the new city of Hamilton.”

But, veterans within city government, like councilman Jack Benson, have their doubts.

JACK BENSON, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER “Idealistically, it sounds pretty enticing, but practically, the cost of it would be out of this world.” CHRIS MATHEWS “Wwe’re hoping that once the city is incorporated, that we have additional communities that have already said they want to be self-annexed into the new community.”

JACK BENSON “The taxes they would have to pay to start an infrastructure..from square one, would be tremendous.” UTC professor Brendan Jennings, thinks the idea of creating a whole new city, with lower taxes

, makes perfect sense. BRENDAN JENNINGS, FRIENDS OF HAMILTON COUNTY “There are residents in different areas around Hixson and different parts of the city that were previously annexed and haven’t seen any appreciable benefits from that annexation.”

“Friends of Hamilton” are holding weekly meetings to organize the campaign.

In order for the idea to work, Friends of Hamilton are looking to start a petition campaign.

With a third of the residents in the effected area signing up, the matter could be placed on the November 2012 ballot.

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