Men wearing nicely pressed suites and a musical intermission.
No, this wasn’t some fancy Hollywood affair, this was Thursday night’s East Ridge City Council meeting. The star of the evening was certainly Councilman Denny Manning.
Councilmen Manning arrived to the dais walking with the help of an assistance device. He informed the Council and those in attendance that he had recently undergone heart surgery and then had a stroke, which according to the councilman, left his arms unable to move and his eyes unable to open.
While the councilman may have been left a little weak from the prior week’s events, Manning was in great spirits.
“God’s been real good to me. I had a two, three percent chance of still being alive. I know God can heal,” Manning said. “It’s great to be here.”
Councilman Manning was joined by his wife, Shirley, and together they sang the song “It is No Secret: (What God Can Do).” Of his wife, the councilman said, “I thank the Lord for her, she’s really stood by me.”
Once the meeting started, a citizen spoke to the council with his concern over the amount of litter being found on his street, including packages of hamburger meat and bacon. He suggested that the council consider putting up banners reminding people to not litter and keep East Ridge beautiful. Councilman Marc Gravitt said he loved the idea and it was put to a motion and passed.
Interim City Manager Mike Williams called upon Police Chief J.R. Reed to inform the council that he had recently received a letter from the Department of Justice giving the city $10,571 for the purchase of computer mounting kits for police vehicles.
The Interim City Manager then informed the council that Police Officer Bruce Ross was retiring with 22 years on the force. He stated that in those 22 years he believed there had been zero complaints against Officer Ross, and that he was an excellent member of the force who was eager to step up and step in wherever he was needed to serve his city. He asked that if any citizens see Officer Ross to congratulate him on a job well done. His last day on the job will be this Saturday.
Retail Strategies made a presentation to the council where they discussed in detail what went into their data gathering, and items they presented to prospective retail establishments to recruit them to East Ridge. The Retail Strategies representative stated “there has been some really exciting traction.” However, she said she could not disclose the nature of the traction or the businesses which are interested in coming to East Ridge in a public meeting.
Ordinance 944, a budget amendment providing for State Street Aid Fund revenue to be used to help finance road construction at the Jordan Crossing development, was tabled on second reading at Councilman Jackie Cagle’s request. The councilman noted that the ordinance had changed between first and second readings, and that while 99 percent of it would be voted on a second time, one portion of it would only be present for the first time. He requested the question be given to the City Attorney to address just to make sure that a commonly-used practice of members of the council is in fact legal.
Resolution 2504 was unanimously passed authorizing the expenditure of $48,000 that had been budgeted to purchase eight new air packs for the fire department. This is the first purchase of air packs in what will be annual purchases for the next three years to switch out the remaining supply of the department’s air packs.
Resolution 2505 and 2506 were also subsequently passed which authorized the purchase of 10 radios for the fire department and 15 radios for the police department. These are also the first of a multi-year purchase to change out and update the city’s radio equipment. A similar number of units will be purchased each year for the next five years in order to complete the change out.
The Council discussed the proposed Camp Jordan Parkway Project and the fact that the bids for the first phase came in way over budget. The two bids received were for approximately $2.6 million each, which would leave only $400,000 to complete the second phase of the project.
Councilman Gravitt made a motion to reject the bid, and to make sure every Tennessee highway road builder was notified of the request for a quote. Mayor Brent Lambert further amended the motion to have the city’s Codes Department officials and Interim City Manager Williams go over the bids to strip out any items that were not required to build a road, like light fixtures or landscaping. The Mayor felt that if there was money left over they could bid those things out later. The amendment and motion were then unanimously passed.
City Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin then spoke to the council about the proposed advisory committee for the park. He stated that he had put together a “Blue Ribbon Recreation Committee.” He had a list of 20 names to make up the committee which will, according to the director, help to provide guidance and recommendations on how to make Camp Jordan better both now and in the future. The committee will not have any voting power but would simply be making recommendations to Martin to present to the Council.
The Council scheduled a Called Meeting for September 3 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss employee compensation packages. Topics include the leave buy-back program, updates to the employee handbook and other matters.
The Council also approved waving fees for the Optimist Club to use the Community Center for there 9/11 banquet. They also approved a request from East Ridge Elementary to re-designate a $5000 city donation to the school last fiscal year to be used for the school’s Leadership Program. The money was donated for the school’s art program, which has been eliminated. The school is forbidden by state law from using donated funds for a purpose other than that of the intended donation.
Finally, the Council approved an request to hang banners promoting Jones Memorial’s Annual Bar-B-Que.