About two dozen interested people attended a Town Hall meeting held by Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd, Thursday evening at the East Ridge Community Center.
A number of voters in attendance discussed with Boyd their questions and concerns about issues in District 8. Boyd focused on development in the district since he was first elected in 2010.
According to Boyd there has been more than $250 million in building permits issued in the district during his tenure on the commission. He said that $50 million has been spent in East Ridge for construction of the Life Care Center and the development at Exit 1.
District 8 is the only area where two new elementary schools have been built in the last eight years (East Ridge in 2010 and East Brainerd 2016).
There is now a Family Justice Center at Eastgate. The FJC serves residents of Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga by co-locating services in a trauma-informed environment to -address intimate partner and family violence, abuse of older adults through elder justice services, and the problem of human trafficking.
Commissioner Boyd talked to the voters about his efforts to lobby for $1 million of county money to go toward the reconfiguration of Exit 1 on Interstate 75 and Camp Jordan.
Boyd also expressed pleasure with the new East Ridge High School’s football stadium field house.
Boyd said that $75 million will be spent on the Interstate 24/75 split in the near future. “That is a big deal for East Ridge interchange safety,” he said.
The district has recorded 4,000 new residents and over 20 new restaurants in the past eight years.
Last October, East Ridge Middle School was recognized by the State as a “Reward School.” Commissioner Boyd attributes this in large measure to Principal Angela Cass.
Boyd said District 8 is the the second highest property tax revenue producing district in Hamilton County, trailing only District 6, which includes Downtown Chattanooga.
Commissioner Boyd’s conversation then addressed the worries residents might have after the recent gun violence in a public school in Florida. Boyd stated that “no student should be in fear of going to school. The SRO’s in our area are all former Deputies of Hamilton County. This insures if a shooter is present, the officer will run to the violence, not run away.”
Boyd said District 8 has the third highest per student spending in the State of Tennessee. He advocated that incentives be given to keep good teachers in the classrooms and not transfer them to the administrative department in the school system.
The Commissioner closed with some insight into the last Hamilton County tax increase and how it did not increase school spending in any way. Boyd said he did not vote for this tax increase, instead advocating for more responsible spending to prevent tax increases.
_ Laura Mathis