Thursday, April 17, 2014 · 2:43 a.m.
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The Chattanooga City Council will take up legislation to block the annexation of 606 acres around Hixson Pike and Middle Valley Road.

District 3 Councilman Ken Smith. (Photo: Contributed)

Residents there sued the city in 2009 when the annexation was first proposed by former Mayor Ron Littlefield. A settlement was eventually reached, and the previous City Council approved a plan that was scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year.

Nearly all of the area’s homeowners signed a petition last month opposing the pending annexation. The ordinance, submitted by Councilman Ken Smith, is up for first reading Tuesday.

"This goes back a long way. When I campaigned, I stated I was against forced annexation," Smith said. "There are certain areas where there's potential for commercial and industrial development.

"But in this case, you're looking at taking in a majority of residential areas," he said. "The cost of providing services is less than the property taxes it would bring in."

City officials estimate that annexing the suburban area would bring in $935,800 in property tax revenue.

Local
• Sen. Bob Corker appeared on CBS’ "Face the Nation" Sunday to discuss the Affordable Care Act and an agreement that temporarily halts Iran’s nuclear program.

• Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency has until Tuesday to gather enough signatures to advance a referendum on domestic partnership benefits. An announcement over the weekend indicates that the conservative group is within striking distance of its goal of about 4,500 signatures.

• Chattanooga is seeking two state grants for alternative modes of transportation. One would make room for bicycle lanes from the 100 to 900 blocks of Broad Street by reducing the number of automobile lanes from six to four. The second would add a greenway to connect Virginia Avenue to a proposed Riverwalk extension near St. Elmo.

• A federal grant to fund eight new school resource officers goes before the Hamilton County Commission Wednesday. The $1 million grant will cover the SROs’ salaries and benefits for four years.

• The Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Board plans to discuss the status of the pension fund Thursday. The mayor’s task force has until Dec. 31 to reach an agreement on the public safety retirement system.

• Christmas at the Courthouse begins today. There will be choirs singing and honorary awards given for the next two weeks at the courthouse on Georgia Avenue.

• The Electric Power Board’s downtown holiday window display will be up until Jan. 2. Photos are here.

Elsewhere
• The White House announced Sunday that Healthcare.gov is now working more smoothly than when the site launched Oct. 1. The New York Times has an inside look at how the political and technical crises have been managed so far.

• Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray have until the middle of December to negotiate a federal budget agreement. But if those talks fall apart, a bipartisan group of senators is waiting in the wings to stave off another government shutdown, according to Politico.

Rural hospitals in Tennessee are losing millions of dollars in federal grants as a result of the state not expanding its Medicaid program. The hospitals have laid off workers and reduced services, The Tennessean reported.

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