34% Drop In East Ridge Budget Includes Shifting Some Funds To Other Pots

Thursday, May 1, 2014
City Treasurer Thad Jablonski
City Treasurer Thad Jablonski

East Ridge Council members were told Thursday night that there will be no tax increase or garbage fee rise and the budget has dropped by 34 percent.

New City Treasurer Thad Jablonski explained that this sleight of hand includes moving some funds out of the general budget into separate funds. That includes $1.5 million in the sewer fund that normally would be a drag to the regular budget. It is included in a solid waste management fund.

There will also be a state street aid fund, a drug enforcement fund and a Department of Justice asset forfeiture fund. Other funds include debt service and capital projects.

The budget for fiscal year 2015 is listed at $10,883,613.

There was no mention of a pay increase for city employees. Councilman Denny Manning brought up the subject, and Mr. Jablonski said a two-percent rise would cost just under $100,000. For each higher percent, he said to add $50,000.

A realignment includes doing away with city services director and office manager. Freida Wheeler and Evelyn Keith have retired.

City Manager Andrew Hyatt said the city expects a property tax revenue decrease of one percent, but he said the local sales tax should rise 2.5 percent and the state sales tax go up 4.1 percent.

He outlined a three-year capital equipment replacement program, including $450,000 in police vehicles, a $185,000 sanitation truck and $600,000 in fire department apparatus.

A public hearing and first reading on the budget is set for May 22 with the final reading on June 12.

In other action, the council took a revote on members of the Industrial Development Board due to questions about the earlier method using a secret ballot. It had the same result - with former interim City Manager and Public Safety Commissioner Eddie Phillips the odd man out. Voting against him were Vice Mayor Jim Bethune and Councilmen Denny Manning and Marc Gravitt.

Five appointees by individual council members are Ruth Braly, James Citty, Estes Cocke, Barton Burns and Kelley Steele. Additional members are Curtis Baker and Mac Pendley.

The panel is being revived as one of the requirements for developers moving forward with Jordan Crossing at the entrance to Camp Jordan Park under the Border Region legislation.  

Chattanooga Railroad Book Now Due Out About Oct. 20

The new book on Chattanooga area railroads being published by Chattanoogan.com had an unexpected delay and will now be out around Oct. 20, author John Wilson said. Railroads In and Around Chattanooga , with many photos by Chattanoogan.com photographer Wes Schultz, will have 568 pages and 1,546 photos and maps. It will be in the same softcover, 11 1/2 x 8 format as the ... (click for more)

Judge Greenholtz Picks Up Papers To Seek Election To Criminal Court Post

Tom Greenholtz, who was recently sworn in as judge of Criminal Court, Division II, has picked up papers to run in the March 3, 2016, election. He was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam after Rebecca Stern stepped down in the middle of her term. Those picking up papers earlier were Assistant Public Defender Mike Little, Soddy Daisy Judge Marty Lasley and Assistant Public Defender ... (click for more)

The Facts About Jail

Since Roy had such a positive reaction to Jeffrey Cross's wonderful (and wonderfully civil--how refreshing) email response to his column on the bike lanes, allow me to speak on the subject of the jail.  First off, Roy's right about some things:  It is overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.  This is no secret, it's in the Grand Jury report every term.  Here's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffle bag full of automatic attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)

Healthy Silverdale Takes Down Grace For 5-1A Volleyball Title

With season-long injuries healed and a full contingent of players available, Silverdale Baptist Academy completed a run for the District 5-1A volleyball tournament championship by sweeping Grace Baptist Academy, 3-0, on Thursday. The game scores were 25-22, 25-20 and 25-18. The host Lady Seahawks advance to the Region 3-1A tournament on Monday at Sale Creek and will play ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Wins 7-AA Volleyball Over Notre Dame

Notre Dame and Signal Mountain seem to bring out the best in each other, at least when the sport is volleyball. These were the top two teams in District 7-AA this fall.  Signal got the top seed based on its 3-0 win at Notre Dame after the Lady Irish had taken a 3-1 match at Signal early in the season. But with all the chips on the line for the 7-AA tournament championship, ... (click for more)