published Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

East Ridge Council warms up to Commissioner Tim Boyd

A load of new recycling bins isn't exactly an olive branch, but for County Commissioner Tim Boyd, it may be a good start in an effort to rekindle a relationship with the East Ridge City Council.

All of East Ridge lies within District 8, which Boyd represents on the Hamilton County Commission, but he and the city's municipal body have not always had the best working relationship.

During Boyd's first year in office in 2011, he opposed legislation to allow fireworks sales in the city, an idea largely supported by East Ridge's council, and there was also disagreement over a mural Boyd wanted painted on the Bachman Tubes.

Since then, the council has gained a new member, and on Thursday accepted the resignation of its city manager, Tim Gobble.

With the recent changes, Boyd says he wants to repair a few charred bridges with the city's leadership.

Councilman Larry Sewell praised Boyd on Tuesday for recently using nearly $10,000 of his $100,000-per-year county discretionary fund to kick-start a recycling service in the city.

Saying East Ridge worked well with Boyd's predecessor, former Commissioner Curtis Adams, Sewell said the relationship with Boyd just needed some getting used to.

"I've never had anything against Mr. Boyd. We used to work really well with Mr. Adams. Tim's been a little different," Sewell said. "He helped us get our first recycling bins. I'd like to work with him. I think it would be good for us to work with him."

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert, who has said Boyd needed better understanding of the division of authority between the City Council and the county, said Tuesday he would work with Boyd.

"I am always interested in working with any other government body to improve East Ridge. If we improve areas beyond East Ridge, that's good, too," Lambert said. "I, personally, am willing to work with the commissioner. If he has some specific plans to help our city, I would be willing to sit down with him and discuss those."

Councilman Denny Manning, who has served the council for nine years, said early in Boyd's term he "needs to get a different personality." But Tuesday, Manning was open to working with the commissioner.

"I've always been good with Mr. Boyd, because he's a good man," Manning said.

Marc Gravitt, who joined the council after the November election, said he was not involved in previous disputes with Boyd but he looked forward to working with him.

"East Ridge is not an island. East Ridge is a part of Hamilton County, and it needs Hamilton County," Gravitt said.

Boyd has lived in East Ridge more than 40 years, and he said his desire to work with the city is more than political.

"I've got ideas as a citizen, because I pay taxes there, how we could increase our revenues -- outside of property taxes -- that I'd like to share with them," Boyd said. "I have ideas about where to go get grants that they haven't heard about. Certainly, the discretionary funds I have could help affect those kinds of things," Boyd said.

East Ridge Vice Mayor Jim Bethune did not return a phone call for an interview Tuesday afternoon.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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