The East Ridge City Council approved the purchase of a new engine for one of the city’s sanitation vehicles, Thursday night during its last regular meeting of the month. However, more taxpayer money will have to be dumped into the fleet, officials said.
City Manager Chris Dorsey told the council that he “had been fielding quite a few calls” from citizens inquiring about their sanitation service. Dorsey said that last week only one of the sanitation fleet’s five automated trucks (commonly called one-armed bandits) was operational. Those trucks require one employee to get the job done.
Dorsey said semi-automated trucks that require three employees were pressed into service. The additional staff on the daily garbage runs precluded regular brush pick-up, he said.
“We’ve got one (sanitation) truck in the budget this year,” Dorsey said. “Now we may have to buy two trucks.”
Robert Parker, the supervisor of the sanitation department, told the council that the city received three bids to replace the engine in one automated truck that recently caught fire. The $30,000 low bid from Lee Smith was recommended and the council gave its approval for the purchase.
Mayor Brian Williams and Vice Mayor Esther Helton presented proclamations to Liz Snyder, the widow of Charley Snyder, who passed away unexpectedly last month. Snyder served the city for 22 years as a police officer and after retirement as a member of the East Ridge Beer Board.
The council also approved two resolutions dealing with the city’s parks.
One resolution officially adopted the five-year recreation plan for the years 2018 to 2023. Amanda Bowers, the city’s Community Involvement Coordinator, told the council that it had adopted the plan last year. However, the state requires the plan to be adopted by the city’s planning commission first. That was done at last month’s meeting. Now the council needed to once again put its stamp of approval on the plan.
The second resolution dealt with the state’s Local Parks and Recreation Fund Grant of $500,000, one that the city would have to match. Bowers again told the council that this measure had already been approved by council, but needed to be revisited because of state requirements that the planning commission must first give its blessing.
The council voted unanimously to approve both measures.
The council approved a measure authorizing the mayor to execute a contract with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) regarding the “conversion” of seven acres of property in Camp Jordan Park.
City Manager Dorsey rehashed the city’s commitment in working with the Chattanooga Red Wolves to build a practice facility inside the park adjacent to the existing soccer stadium. He said that decades ago Camp Jordan was acquired with a Federal Land and Water Conservation Grant money, requiring the land to stay under city ownership in perpetuity.
Under state and federal law, if the city carves out a portion of the park land acquired with the federal money, it must replace it with other property to be used for similar purposes. This resolution, Dorsey said, would start that process. He also noted that the Red Wolves organization is footing the bill for the application fee.
The council approved a resolution approving the extension of a Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Multimodal Access Grant (about $950K) for improvements along Ringgold Road.
Bowers explained to the council that the grant, first awarded in 2015, was combined with two Transportation Alternative Grants in September of 2017. The current contract for the project will expire in 2019 and must be extended.
Officials said the three grants will be used to build sidewalks along the North side of Ringgold Road from McBrien Road to Kingwood Drive. It also provides for a 10-foot wide “multimodal” path on the South side of the commercial corridor.
Bowers said the delay in construction was caused by acquiring rights-of-way for 77 different parcels of land from businesses along Ringgold Road. The cost of the land acquisition is more than $1 million, records show.
Officials said groundbreaking on the two-phase project is expected to take place next spring.