East Ridge Foregoes Slightly Higher "Certified Tax Rate"; Keeps Same Charge

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The East Ridge City Council on Thursday night voted to forego a slightly-higher "certified property tax rate" and stay with the 2012 tax levy.

Diane Qualls, city finance director, said setting the higher rate would have brought in about $30,000 more for East Ridge.

She said at the higher rate, it would have cost the owner of a $150,000 house about $2 for the year.

The rate stays at $1.4227 per $100 of assessed valuation rather than moving to $1.4295 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County took similar actions after the recent reappraisal - unlike in past years - showed many values down.

The council was without Councilman Denny Manning, who had to undergo two separate heart procedures.

Council members said they hope he will be able to return for a special budget session next Thursday. It will only be held if all five council members can attend.

The council confirmed Freida Wheeler as interim city manager and agreed to pay her $1,000 per month extra. That is the same amount that Eddie Phillips was getting for interim duties. He recently retired.

Two council members balked at approving minutes of the last council meeting in which Mr. Phillips agreed not to read his speech but to have it placed in the minutes. Vice Mayor Jim Bethune and Councilman Marc Gravitt said they took issue with a couple of statements in the letter. One referred to the East Ridge Police Department accreditation and another to the animal shelter being one of the first no kill facilities in the state. Councilman Gravitt said the East Ridge Police Department is not accredited and that the shelter is not a no kill.

Councilman Gravitt proposed a reorganization that would have separate fire chiefs and police chiefs. Mr. Phillips was public safety director and headed both departments. He was also over animal services and codes.

He said he would like some minimum requirements for the chief posts, including at least 15 years of experience.

Councilman Gravitt recommended putting animal control under police and codes under the fire department. 

He also recommended setting up the position of city treasurer, who would be over all city financial matters.

The council will discuss the reorganization later.

Mike Flynn now heads the fire department and Steve Mize, with 30 years of service, is over police.

The council delayed action on a request to open up the wrecker rotation. Mayor Brent Lambert said he wants all the council members present for that discussion.

A grant of over $80,000 was accepted toward setting up a second canoe launch at Camp Jordan Park. Stump Martin, recreation director, said it is possible to paddle two miles from the initial launch.

The city agreed to switch all its phone service to EPB at a monthly cost of around $4,000. Ms. Qualls said the city is paying that amount now, but it is split between EPB, AT&T and Centurylink.

Ms. Wheeler said that makes for a situation where often calls have to be switched from one line to another. She said it would be "much easier on our citizens to have one system."

After the regular meeting, the council interviewed three city manager candidates.




1 Person In Critical Condition After Wreck On Jones Gap Road

One person is in critical condition after a wreck on Jones Gap Road. Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies, along with HCEMS and fire personnel, were on the scene of the accident near the 13,300 block of Jones Gap Road. Due to the crash, north and southbound Jones Gap Road was closed between the gas station (at the corner of Jones Gap Road and Highway 111) through to the ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Man Charged In Shooting

A Signal Mountain has been charged after a shooting near the 3100 block of Highway 127 in Sequatchie County on Friday night. Stewart Luttrell, 31, was charged with aggravated assault. Deputies found a man who was shot in the side. Luttrell was then located in a wooded area. The shooting victim was in stable condition. Luttrell was taken to the Sequatchie ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (16)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Boyd-Buchanan Wins Hixson Invitational

The Upperman Bees came to Chattanooga on Saturday, hoping to improve on their second-place finish from a year ago in the Hixson Invitational volleyball tournament. The Bees were again the best in their pool as they defeated teams from Hixson, Grace, McEwen and Notre Dame. They got a note of revenge in the Gold division semifinal with a 25-13, 25-17 win over defending champ ... (click for more)

Baylor Wins Showdown At The Sunsphere Volleyball

The Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team got its season off to a great start this weekend by winning eight straight matches and claiming the championship hardware in the Gold division of the Showdown at the Sunsphere tournament in Knoxville. Baylor had wins over King's Academy, Farragut, Heritage, Siegel, Oak Ridge, Brentwood and Hardin Valley with another win over Heritage. ... (click for more)