Mayor Berke explains his goals for the coming year

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke gave his annual State of the City presentation last Thursday.

Today we asked him to explain some of the areas he wants the city to focus on, during this next year.

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News 12’s Ashley Henderson has more in our Top Local Story.

Mayor Andy Berke wants the city to focus on several areas this next year: school safety, economic mobility, ending homelessness, and regional resiliency.

But there are other issues which are also important as well, such as the recent discussions between the city and Hamilton County on consolidation with the WWTA.

“A big piece of that is cooperating with the WWTA, so that we can save expenses for ratepayers, whenever possible, and over the last couple of months we’ve made some really good progress about joining together on some projects, that we think will be good for the system, and because we’re doing it together will lower the costs.”

But does that mean full consolidation?

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re combining the whole system, or combining the two authorities, it’s really important where we can, it makes sense on this project for us to do it together.”

Mayor Berke has created a Regional Resiliency Council of 19 area Mayors in S. E. Tn. and N. W. Ga., to help respond to and recover from disasters. Part of that is allowing the Chattanooga Fire Department to respond to mutual aid requests outside the city.

“One of the biggest things that we have right now for resiliency is EPB, when a storm happens, the power comes back quicker in Chattanooga than it comes back anywhere in the world, that’s a great resiliency piece.”

The Mayor also noted that there has been a significant reduction in gang related gun violence, with 72 incidents in 2015, but 27 last year. He says that’s partly due to the investments in technology such as the CPD security cameras.

“Part of the reason that our numbers have gone down is that we are solving more crimes, that creates trust in the community and people tell us more stuff so we can stop it before it happens.”

In Chattanooga, Ashley Henderson, News 12 Now.

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