East Ridge Welcomes New City Manager; Settles WWTA Lawsuit; Gravitt To Stay On Council To End Of Term If He Wins State House Race

Friday, November 15, 2013 - by Gail Perry
Judge Arvin Reingold and Rep. Vince Dean honor Mary Lou Whaley
Judge Arvin Reingold and Rep. Vince Dean honor Mary Lou Whaley
- photo by Gail Perry

Mayor Brent Lambert welcomed new City Manager Andrew Hyatt to his first city council meeting with East Ridge Thursday night, saying “We’re glad he’s here and we look forward to a prosperous future.” Mr. Hyatt said he was excited to be here. He told the audience that he hopes to run an efficient government, taking the best practices from other successful cities. He wants East Ridge to serve as a model for other municipalities.

In his first report to the council members, he gave them the appraisal of the old pool property they had requested as being $180,000. He referred to a resolution the council passed in 2010 to create an economic advisory committee, and said he would like to pursue this matter by January. 

Mr. Hyatt also presented the Tennessee Three-Star Award that Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger had bestowed upon East Ridge in recognition of the Governor’s award for performance, accountability and efficiency.

City Attorney Hal North told the board and citizens that were present that the city of East Ridge gave an update on litigation with the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) that is contesting the city’s right to charge for street cuts. Currently, East Ridge charges the WWTA $200 for every cut it makes while repairing the sewer system. There also is a requirement that after a certain number of cuts in an area, the street must be repaved. At a meeting Thursday night, council members voted to settle the dispute and accept the terms of an agreement that resulted from mediation.

Among conditions in the settlement, East Ridge will reduce the amount charged for road cuts from $200 to $20 which will cover out of pocket fees. The city will not have to reimburse WWTA for the charges already collected. In the future there will be mutual cooperation in any new road damage, with the WWTA complying with the city codes about road cuts and patching. And, a moratorium on hooking up to the sewer system in East Ridge will be lifted as soon as is reasonably possible. Attorney North recommended a change to the offer of only allowing a right of way on the road to a pumping station at Camp Jordan, which would revert to city ownership if the land is not used by WWTA. The motion to accept the agreement was approved on a vote of three to two with Councilman Denny Manning and Mayor Lambert voting no.

In old business, seven ordinances pertaining to updating city codes were approved on first reading. The council voted to adopt the International Codes pertaining to building, fire and safety, fuel gas, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and property maintenance. The purpose of assuming the revised codes is to protect the citizens by creating standards to meet and oversight to new construction. It was noted that the state would enforce the International Code, even if the city had not voted to accept it.

In new business, the council voted to accept a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office for $5,000 to purchase motorcycle radar units for the police department. Authorization was given to license the playing of copyrighted music at any event sponsored by the city.

The purchase of a new HVAC unit to replace one that no longer is working at Camp Jordan Arena was approved as was buying a new trailer with five dumpsters and a tarping system. This equipment would be available if a disaster strikes the city again, such as a flood, and for events such as a citywide “clean-up” day. There are also plans to rent individual dumpsters to city residents to help recoup the cost.

Officials not that the city hall was built 23 years ago and still has the original interior paint and carpet. The city council Thursday night approved a contract with Williams Painting Company to re-paint the inside of the building. Of the bid requests sent out by the city, only one was sent back for replacing carpet in the building. Councilman Marc Gravitt requested to re-bid replacement of the carpet hoping to include more businesses in the bidding process.

All contracts made by East Ridge coincide with the fiscal year that starts July 1 with the exception of the concessions contract with Fun Time Foods for events at Camp Jordan, and the photography contract with Colorcraft for sporting events. The council voted to extend the current contracts with these companies for six months, at which time they will be re-bid. This will put the two contracts on the same yearly renewal schedule as all the others.

Interest bearing capital outlay notes will be issued for an amount not to exceed $200,000. Proceeds will be used to purchase police cars and an SUV for the police department.

Concrete work for a canoe launch at Camp Jordan was put out to bid and only one was submitted. It was decided to reject that single proposal and re-bid the project.

In his report, Councilman Gravitt told the council that the city attorney had researched the matter and found that it would be legal to hold a municipal position concurrently with a state position. Mr. Gravitt announced last week that he is planning to run for a seat being vacated by State Rep.Vince Dean who represents East Ridge and District 30 in Nashville. He told the council that if he won that seat, he planned on serving the full four year city council term that he was elected to, but that he would not re-run.  

Rep. Dean came to the meeting Thursday night along with Judge Arvin Reingold, to present a proclamation for 32 years of service as court clerk for East Ridge, to Mary Lou Whaley. And an award from the city was given by Mayor Brent Lambert.

A vote to cancel the Dec. 26 city council meeting was unanimous.

A presentation was made to the city council members by Jeff Broughton, management consultant with the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS). East Ridge is one of three cities in the state that has qualified to participate in a state program known as the Review of Border Region Retail Tourism Development District Act. It is an opportunity to create a commercial development using money derived from state income taxes. He said that 75 percent of all state sales tax would be returned to reimburse the city for eligible costs. In turn, the development will generate a tax base as well as jobs. 

City Manager Andrew Hyatt
City Manager Andrew Hyatt
- Photo2 by Gail Perry

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: (None) VI. Ordinances – First Reading: PLANNING a. 2016-024 Belle Investment Company/Third Street Partners/Jimmy & Molly Seal (R-4 ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For May 12-19

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for May 12-19: Samuel Reynolds Ledford, 26, of 1204 McBrien Road, Chattanooga was arrested May 12 on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, open container and violation of Georgia’s controlled substance act. Jessica Davain Brock, 28, of 406 Fargo Lane, Fort Oglethorpe was arrested May 12 on charges of driving while license ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Judge's Night Behind Bars

There is very little doubt that retired Army Sergeant Joe Serna has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving three tours as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. Once he barely avoided being blown up by a hidden IED and then there was another terrifying brush with a suicide bomber. But the worst was when a truck he was in slid off the roadway into a canal. “It was like ... (click for more)

Peterson's Emotional Race Helps Signal Mountain Win

MURFREESBORO – It’s one thing to win one state championship in track.  It becomes a tougher challenge to repeat and at times impossible to even think about a three-peat. But that’s what the Signal Mountain Lady Eagles did here at the Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University early Thursday evening. Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Baylor Rocks GPS, 8-2, For Shot At 10th State Softball Championship

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The magic number Baylor’s softball team has in mind now is 10. After polishing off bitter rival Girls Preparatory School – a seemingly constant opponent at TSSAA’s Spring Fling – by 8-2 Thursday in the Division II-AA winner’s bracket final, the Lady Red Raiders are zeroed in on a game that could produce their 10 th  state championship.  “It ... (click for more)