On Thursday evening during a community meeting at the East Ridge Community Center, Commissioner Tim Boyd told those gathered that he supported adding two commission seats to the Hamilton County Commission and is satisfied with the way the districts have been drawn.
“I’m comfortable with it,” said Boyd who represents all of East Ridge on the board. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the short time frame we’ve had.”
Boyd said he was “95 percent” sure that the commission would adopt the new 11-member board with a new district being added in Ooltewah and Lookout Valley/Lookout Mountain area.
“It might take a little massaging,” he added.
The county commission has until Jan. 1, 2022 to adopt any redistricting plan.
Boyd said he didn’t want people to get “distressed” about lack of public input. He is holding another community meeting scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25 at the Justice Center located at Eastgate next to the Brainerd Mission Cemetery.
Boyd said any accusations of disenfranchisement by those critical of the new plan are mistaken. It is his belief that the redrawn lines keeping all municipalities (accepting Chattanooga) in one district is valid and that no districts are split by the Tennessee River.
Boyd’s district 8 will contract and he will no longer represent residents in the Belvoir area of Brainerd. He said currently each commissioner represents about 44,000 residents. In the new plan District 8 will consist of about 34,000 residents.
When Boyd opened up the meeting to questions, the eight people gathered wanted to talk more about the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority and the escalating cost of housing in and around East Ridge.
Boyd said rate increases from the WWTA are being driven by the necessity of all sewage being pumped then treated at the Moccasin Bend treatment plant that is owned by Chattanooga. He said adding pumping stations to get sewage to Moccasin Bend is not the answer, and that the real solution is the WWTA building additional treatment plants in Hamilton County.
As far as real estate prices, Boyd referenced the recent reassessment of all properties in the county. He said East Ridge property values have increased more than other areas of town. He said that East Ridge’s municipal government had done a good job in making the city a more desirable place to live.