Over the last year and a half, the city has been on the move and much good has been accomplished. Here is a partial listing of things accomplished and current initiatives.
We have returned the General Fund to surplus territory and are operating all services within a balanced budget.
We paid off $1.5 million in debt and put city on a course to be debt free in 2024, just 12 years away.
The city kept tax rate significantly below the city of Chattanooga and well below the state average for a full-service city in Tennessee.
Instituted one of the most progressive single-stream, easy to use, recycle programs in the nation, helping to protect our environment and lead the area in green initiatives. We recycled about 395 tons of material the first year.
The city obtained Border Region Tourism Development District designation from the state. This allows the city to be in a position to attract positive investment and receive 75 percent of the state sales tax generated in our community as a rebate to the city to pay off any infrastructure costs or development incentives we may want to offer in the future. East Ridge is only one of four areas in the state to receive this coveted designation.
The city maintained an ISO 3 rating for the ERFD, saving lives and property and saving property owners thousands on insurance rates.
The ERPD held overall crime rates to statistically the same average as they were a decade ago and prevented the influx of gang activity experienced in neighboring Chattanooga from spilling over into East Ridge in any great numbers.
East Ridge was first in the state to institute the Administrative Hearing Officer Program to help enforce property maintenance codes and improve the health, safety and appearance of our community. This program has already resulted in over 40 compliance successes and directly resulted in the Thrippence Apartments being torn down, which were a danger to public health and safety.
The city instituted a new Parks and Recreation Program that has resulted in better facilities and athletic programs and more money coming back into the city to help off-set more of our parks and recreation operating costs, saving taxpayer money.
Arranged to purchase excess property from the state and sell the same property to a developer in order to make possible the development of a new shopping center near exit one and attract new investment to our community. This program recovers all cost incurred by the city.
Created a more active pro-business environment that has resulted in a significant overall sales tax revenue increases for the city when many cities still have declining sales tax revenue. This strong sales tax revenue performance allows the city to operate all services and still keep residential property tax rates among the lowest in the state.
Joined the area blue way initiative to connect area waterways with a series of canoe launches to promote outdoor activities and tourism in our area. We are also engaged in a study on how best to connect East Ridge neighborhoods, businesses, parks and schools with area multi-use trails to take future advantage of alternative forms of transportation, such as bikes and electric golf carts to save fuel consumption and save people money in the future.
Installed a new disc golf course at Camp Jordan that is already attracting hundreds of participants and will soon host tournaments that will bring in thousands like our soccer, baseball and softball programs are already doing and generating income for area hotels and restaurants.
Installed a new workout room for police, fire and other city employees to reduce sick time, improve job performance and work to save money on future cost of health insurance and workers comp premiums.
The city cleaned up record amounts of brush and debris in record time from two major storms in our area.
Through exceptional management of resources we have provided a sanitation program that includes weekly garbage pickup, every other week recycle pickup, every other week brush and bulk item pickup for a cost that is significantly less than any private-sector company can do it.
We completed a major street resurfacing project on the west side of the city that included S. Seminole and a number of area surface streets.
This is just a partial listing, but enough to clearly show East Ridge is a city on the move and headed forward in a positive direction. Thanks to all citizens and the council for supporting good government in East Ridge and being pioneers of progress for a better future.