What do the people of East Ridge really need from its city government?
It’s a relatively simple question with pretty simple answers and seemingly easy solutions.
Could we all agree we need to be safe in our homes? That would entail a fully-funded and equipped police and fire department.
Could we all agree we need our trash reliably and predictably collected?
Could we all agree we need our roads to be in good shape so we don’t have to negotiate a minefield while driving through our city?
Let’s talk about public safety. The cops – I believe we have 45 sworn officers – do a creditable job policing our eight-square-mile city with its 21,000 inhabitants. But, looking at “pass along reports” which are published most every day in East Ridge News Online, it appears a disproportionate amount of time and effort is spent by East Ridge’s finest at the city’s crappy motels.
At these places the cops are dealing with drugs, domestic violence, and silly civil issues. This takes time and effort. Time and effort that is not spent patrolling our neighborhoods where people who are invested in the city of East Ridge are victims of burglaries, car break-ins, and a laundry list of other criminal behavior.
At first glance, it appears that the focus of ERPD (when not tied up at the Budgetel or Motel 6) is Ringgold Road where officers are pulling over people with a tail light out and discovering the driver is drunk, has an open container, has a crack pipe in their possession along with a firearm, and a blunt. For good measure, additional charges are tacked on for no license, no insurance, and their tag is expired.
I don’t know about you, but I feel much safer knowing these crooks are locked up for 30 minutes before making bond and then going before Judge Helton in Municipal Court, where he delivers not-so-swift justice. Hypothetically, the crook gets 11/29 suspended, assessed a fine that’s hard to collect, and charged a couple hundred bucks in court costs.
The ERPD established a “traffic division” within patrol some years ago. Do you realize we do not have a “narcotics division?” I think the priority here is all wrong.
Let’s hire more cops with all the money the city is making from the economic boon that is the Border Region Act, instead of building more and more soccer fields and parking lots in Camp Jordan Park.
Everybody loves firefighters. What’s there not to love? Those guys are super.
Just don’t catch the chief asking the council for a fire truck, specifically, a big, tall million-dollar ladder truck that’s necessary to protect the multi-story buildings going up in Jordan Crossing. Or for that matter, a new engine to replace one built in the last century.
The City Manager and the City Council told Fire Chief Mike Williams a couple years ago that the ladder truck would be in a future budget. Didn’t happen. No money.
But, the City Manager and Council had the money ($2.3 million) to go forward with more soccer fields, including irrigation (odd, I thought there was a flooding problem) and a couple hundred asphalt parking spaces in Camp Jordan.
Seems like the priority is wrong, doesn’t it? Spend money on a fire truck and other equipment and stop spending it like urine out of a boot on recreation. How about that? Simple, right?
My garbage gets picked up every Wednesday like clockwork. Every other Friday my recycling gets collected. Can’t say the same for brush, leaves, or the odd piece of junk hauled out of the shed to the street.
Sanitation trucks, including that big quarter-million dollar truck with the boom, run up and down my street constantly. They constantly pass by all manner of stuff my neighbors want picked up.
Why? Here’s why: specialization.
We’ve got sanitation equipment and crews devoted – and I mean devoted – to picking up only brush; picking up only leaves; picking up only big, bulky items; picking up only limbs that are sawed precisely in two-foot intervals; twigs no more than one-inch in diameter; desk chairs with three legs; living room sectionals that are truly “sectionals.”
OK, I went overboard, but you get the picture. I’m sure you do because you, dear reader, have lived it.
Here’s the solution: please, become more generalized. If there’s trash at the street pick it up. Don’t let it sit there for a month before getting around to the unpleasant job of picking up whatever has been cast off. Thousands of residence will be overjoyed. Of that, I’m certain.
Most every day an 18-wheeler from Walmart runs down my residential street. Every day, I mean every day, large, heavy Rooter Man trucks, some hauling backhoes, run down my street. These trucks are not-so-slowly taking their toll on the patched and re-patched asphalt that is Marlboro Avenue. I’m told my street is not as bad as others.
When city fathers pave the way (pun intended) for more development all they seem to see is one side of the ledger … the revenue side. Sales tax and property tax goes up.
Well, what about the expenditure side? All this commerce comes with supply issues, right? Got to get the goods or the equipment in to do the job, correct?
What suffers? Among other things, the roads.
Last time I checked, there was an anticipated $1.8 million in revenue from the state of Tennessee in the city’s “street aid fund.” How about spending most of that as it was intended, to pave city streets.
Our city government is there to serve the residents of this city. If you don’t think your service is up to snuff, it’s not like you are at a restaurant and have the option of tipping your server accordingly. No, you, dear neighbor and taxpayer, pay the full freight.
I don’t know about you, but I expect to get what I pay for.