Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Gail Perry of Chattanoogan.com.
The city of East Ridge would like to build a new animal shelter and was planning to do it using money received from the border region district designation. At the city council meeting Thursday night, City Manager Scott Miller said that Mark Mamantov, the attorney for the city’s Industrial Development Board, spoke with state officials who said that border region money could not be used to construct a new animal shelter. Miller said that an animal shelter does not increase sales taxes, economic development or tourism, all conditions that must be met in order to use the money. Building a dog park that was part of the original plan, would be allowed since that would bring people into the city.
A new animal shelter is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $600,000, said Mr. Miller. Now the only option will be to take money from the general fund, he said, adding that he is not in favor of doing that. He said that state-wide, sales taxes in 2016-2017 generated five to six percent but that number decreased to only 1.7 percent in 2017-2018. He advised the board that too many more projects could not be taken on until more money is generated.
Another project that has been discussed, is using money from the city’s fund balance to construct a field house at the East Ridge High School football stadium. No decision has been made while waiting until the city manager receives some figures and facts regarding a new building. Councilman Jacky Cagle said that the city does not have the money to move forward with the animal shelter or this plan. He also said it would not be for all the people of East Ridge. He was the only council person wanting to take the project “off the table,” in order to end consideration of building the field house. With no second, the building will be discussed again at a later date.
The council gave approval to issue interest-bearing general obligation capital outlay notes in an amount not to exceed $725,000, for building a new communications tower for the police department. It has long been recognized that the topography of the city causes spotty-coverage for portable radios used by the East Ridge police, and the proposed 180 foot tower would improve coverage to 95 percent, said Police Chief J.R. Reed.
A new tower would be good for 20 years, said Chief Reed. But, in the end, the cost will be much more than $725,000. The cost of monthly coverage by AT&T will be $850 and some old equipment will need to be replaced. At the Thursday night meeting, the council approved the purchase of four portable radios with accessories for the police department at a cost of $17,783.
A development of houses to be built at 503 Frawley Road had been approved by the council previously. Thursday night, the developer requested a reduction of lot width from 65 feet to 45 feet that will allow an additional 31 homes to be built. On first reading the request that will allow 130 homes in the new development was passed. .
A zoning ordinance was amended to rezone property at 1509 East Ridge Avenue from R-1 residential to C-2 General Commercial District. The property is located next door to a real estate office. The realtor asked for the zoning change in order to rent the house to customers that may run into delays in closing a sale. The rezoning passed with the condition that the property cannot be used for short term rentals other than the company’s clients.
The purchase of soccer uniform shirts for the 2018-2019 indoor soccer season was authorized from Crown U.S.A. which had the lowest bid.
Applications for three grants were approved at the council meeting. The State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Company grant for 2019 will be used to revitalize neighborhoods, hopefully with volunteers from the community. America Walks Community Change Grant, if received, would provide $1,500 for the community center to encourage walking and other healthy activities. A Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters grant would be used for the purchase of turn-out gear, other equipment and training.
Councilman Brian Williams reminded citizens that the “Trunk-or-Treat” event at East Ridge Elementary School has been moved from Friday night to Monday because of the weather.
Councilman Cagle said he has heard complaints about bikers not yielding to walkers at Camp Jordan. Mr. Miller said there are signs at both ends of the trail, but more along the path may be added as reminders.
Stan Allen, assistant police chief told the council that next month is “No Shave November.” Officers will not have to be clean shaven, but in order to participate a donation must be made to the Needy Child Fund. Each officer who is taking part has written a check, with the combined total of $625. Thursday night, the donation was given to the fund representative Mimi Lowrey.