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.  

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