Letter: Chamber board lists spending priorities

Note: This is a copy of a June 8 letter from the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors to Mayor Warren Gooch and members of City Council, and Chairman Keys Fillauer and the Board of Education.

Mayor Gooch and Chairman Fillauer:

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted, following the recommendation of our Advocacy Committee, to request the following be given serious consideration as discussions and voting occurs for your respective Fiscal Year 2016 budgets.

Spending Priorities:

  • Development and funding of a prioritized capital improvement plan for infrastructure improvements such as city/school buildings, streets, utilities, etc.
  • Pay increase for Oak Ridge Schools teachers and staff and City of Oak Ridge staff.
  • Waterfront improvements.

While we understand that the city is faced with adjusting the tax rate to reconcile with lower property appraisals, we do feel strongly that the city needs to prioritize spending around these three areas in order to position Oak Ridge as a community of choice for new and expanding businesses and residents.


Melinda Hillman

Chairman of the Board


Parker Hardy


Free workshop on accounting for small businesses

A free workshop on accounting for small businesses is being offered Friday, June 26.

The workshop is for small businesses, and it’s being offered by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Roane State Community College, in partnership with Pugh CPAs.

It’s scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, June 26, at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike. [Read more…]

Construction on ORNL FCU branch on Rutgers could start this month

ORNL FCU Colin Anderson and Marcy Catron

Colin Anderson, ORNL Federal Credit Union senior vice president and chief financial officer, discusses the new Oak Ridge branch on South Rutgers Avenue during a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday. Also pictured is board chair Marcy Catron.


Construction could start this month on an ORNL Federal Credit Union branch on South Rutgers Avenue, and the building could be complete by the end of the year, officials said.

The new branch will at the same site as the original main Oak Ridge branch. The branch will move from its current location next door at the ORNL Federal Credit Union headquarters building, which is also on Rutgers Avenue.

The estimated cost of the 5,000-square-foot branch at 215 South Rutgers Avenue is $4.5 million. Some materials from the original office will be used in the new building.

“This branch represents a multi-million-dollar vote of confidence in Oak Ridge,” said acting chief executive officer Colin Anderson, ORNL FCU senior vice president and chief financial officer. [Read more…]

City proposes one-cent tax rate increase; schools’ request would add seven

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Note: This story was last updated at 3:18 a.m. June 2.

The budget proposed by the Oak Ridge city staff on Monday includes a one-cent increase in the property tax rate. It would help maintain city services and allow for a 2 percent pay raise for city employees, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson told City Council members.

Meanwhile, the budget proposed by Oak Ridge Schools asks for the equivalent of a seven-cent tax increase. It would help cover a deficit and add money for salaries and staff, including a 3 percent pay raise. That budget has already been approved by the Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The two requests total eight cents. They were presented to the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday.

It’s not clear yet if the seven-member City Council will agree to any increases for the city or schools. The Council will consider the budget in the first of two readings on Monday, June 8, and on second and final reading on Monday, June 15. [Read more…]

Small business seminars offered in June

TSBDC and Roane State

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center will offer five free seminars in June.

The first is titled “Business Planning/Get ready to see a lender.”

It’s scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, at the Roane County Chamber of Commerce in Kingston.

“This workshop covers the fundamentals of writing a business plan, and is designed for individuals who want to increase their chances for successful self-employment,” organizers said.

The second is titled “How to do business with the government.” [Read more…]

Land Bank has first housing strategy meeting on Thursday

Oak Ridge Land Bank Housing Strategy

The Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation will host its first housing strategy meeting on Thursday. The goal is to address the city’s housing situation while building partnerships in a collaborative effort to promote the city “as the place to live and work by improving our community’s neighborhoods,” a press release said.

The work session is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

Agenda items including the state of housing, a mobile tour, and partner presentations by ADFAC (Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties), Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County, Oak Ridge Housing Authority, and Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. [Read more…]

World-renowned leaders to be featured at New Hope Center

Community and business leaders can access the knowledge and experience of world-renowned leaders by attending Leadercast at New Hope Center in Oak Ridge on May 8. The Oak Ridge event is sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Community Development, part of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

The Leadercast event is broadcast live from Atlanta, Georgia, to hundreds of sites around the world, including Oak Ridge. This year’s speaker lineup includes: [Read more…]

Small business seminars this week

There are two more small business seminars in Oak Ridge this month, and both are scheduled for this week.

The first is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. It’s free.

The seminar is titled “Inside the DCAA Audit—What are they looking for?” The speaker is Laura Davis, president of Strategic Consulting Solutions. [Read more…]

Bradshaw, Whitson to be honored at Oak Ridge Chamber Luncheon on Thursday

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

Stephen Whitson

Stephen Whitson

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will honor two area businessmen—David Bradshaw and Stephen Whitson—at its annual program of work kickoff luncheon to be held on Thursday, March 19, at the Riverside Grille.

Bradshaw and Whitson will receive the Chamber’s most prestigious awards at the event, the One Voice—One Vision Luncheon, a press release said.

Bradshaw, president of the Oak Ridge branch of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, will receive the Eugene L. Joyce Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to a nominee who has truly distinguished himself or herself and embodies the essential values of volunteerism, community service, and dedication to the economic vitality of our community. It is the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s preeminent award given to honor the memory of the late Eugene L. Joyce. [Read more…]

Hargett, president of CVMR-USA, to speak at Oak Ridge Chamber Luncheon

Michael Hargett and Kamran Khoza of CVMR USA

CVMR President Michael Hargett, left, and Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer, joined local, state, and federal officials on Friday to announce they’re moving company headquarters from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.


Michael Hargett, president of CVMR-USA, which announced Friday that it’s moving from Toronto to Oak Ridge, will be the keynote speaker at an Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, March 19.

The One Voice—One Vision Luncheon will be at noon Thursday, March 19, at the Riverside Grille in Oak Ridge.

CVMR announced at a special event on Friday that the company will be locating its international headquarters in Oak Ridge. The company plans to invest $313 million and will bring 620 new jobs to the city. [Read more…]

Snow: Oak Ridge Schools closed, city opens late, Discovery Ed Livestream postponed

Snow Sweeper at Oak Ridge High School

A tractor with sweeping equipment helps remove snow from the Oak Ridge High School parking lot. (Photo by Julio Culiat) 


Note: This story was last updated at 12:52 p.m. Some of these announcements continue to change. We will update this story as we can.

Oak Ridge Schools are closed today (Tuesday, February 24), and the City of Oak Ridge offices will open at 10 a.m.

Oak Ridge Schools said the Discovery Ed Livestream that had been scheduled for today has been postponed until May.

Anderson County Courthouse is closed due to weather. So is Roane State Community College. [Read more…]

Closings: City Hall, ORAU, Chamber, OSTI, DOE-ORO, Y-12; no trash pickup

Note: This story was last updated at 11:39 a.m.

Here are more closings announced for Tuesday, as well as a few that were announced previously. Some previous announcements have been revised, mostly changing from a late opening to a closing.

The City of Oak Ridge offices will be closed today, Tuesday, February 17, due to icy roads. The Oak Ridge City Council work session scheduled for tonight has also be canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Waste Connections will not be conducting trash pick up today and will be on a one-day delay.

The U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office (the Federal Building) and DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information will be closed due to hazardous weather conditions. Employees with situational telework agreements in place are expected to telework. [Read more…]