East Ridge City Council members got their first look at next year’s budget Thursday evening at its regular meeting at City Hall.
City Manager Scott Miller is proposing a $13.6 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2018-19 that keeps the current tax rate of $1.33 and would not require the raising of any fees. Miller pointed out that 68 percent of the general fund budget expenditures, more than $9 million, goes to pay the city’s 139 full-time employees.
“The reason for that is that the city is in the service business,” Miller said. “We provide services. We don’t build widgets.”
Thursday’s power point presentation was an overview of the budget. A formal vote to adopt the budget is anticipated in coming weeks.
During the “Communications from Citizens” portion of the meeting, John Burns told the council that he has been begging the City to repair the street he lives on for more than four years. As of yet, nothing has been done.
“I can’t get anybody to do anything,” said Burns, who lives on Barry Street. “I keep paying taxes but you won’t help me and do my road.”
Councilman Jacky Cagle said Barry Road looks more like an alley way than a street. It’s extremely narrow and houses with fences close to the right of way has bushes arching out into the street.
Mayor Brent Lambert said he would have codes enforcement officers visit the street to enforce the trimming of bushes and have members of the street department look at the road to “find the best remedy.”
During the “Communications from Council” portion of the meeting, council members lamented the passing of Marvin “Stump” Martin, the city’s Director of Parks of Recreation, and offered condolences to his family.
Vice Mayor Larry Sewell said that in the passing of Martin that “he had lost a good friend and that (Stump) would be missed.”
“I echo what everyone else has said about Stump,” Lambert said. “He was a wonderful person and valuable employee of the city. He will be missed, greatly.”
Under Old Business, the council approved without discussion the rezoning of two lots on Boyd Street to allow for the construction of four townhouses. The project by developers Bobby Hudgens and James Anderson was met with opposition in recent months by neighbors who were opposed. Neighbors claim the area floods during light rains and there would be inadequate parking on the narrow street for the townhouses.
The council approved on second reading an ordinance regarding extended stay motels. The new ordinance establishes penalties to hotels/motels that do not comply with the regulations, an appeals process for business owners who have been cited, and prohibits outdoor storage by guests at motels.
Under New Business, The council passed a resolution hiring CTI to serve as the engineer of record for East Ridge. City Manager Miller said CTI’s services would be used for design review for construction, land development projects, reviewing city’s design standards, and services pertinent to the City’s infrastructure. The five-year contract has a ceiling of $50,000 per year.
The council approved a resolution allowing the city manager to enter into an agreement with Artech Design Group for architectural services pertaining to the design of new restrooms and concessions at Camp Jordan Park. Cost of services will be $65,000.
The council approved waiving the fee for the use of Raymond James Stadium on June 8 for an all-star football game between a team from Georgia and Tennessee. Mayor Lambert noted that proceeds from the game will go to benefit the family of Stump Martin.
City Manager Miller told the council that recent rainfall has delayed the completion of paving the Ringgold Road overpass over Interstate 75. The work was originally scheduled to be completed by May 15 but the finish line has been pushed back to June 15. The work has caused traffic headaches for motorists in recent days.
“Bear with us,” Miller told those in attendance. “We need a couple weeks of no rain to get it resurfaced.”