The Ringgold City Council met on Monday, May 11, a meeting which was live-streamed for the public on its website (cityofringgoldga.gov) due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

The council briefly met online for a special called meeting before the regularly scheduled meeting in which they unanimously approved a variance of the city’s zoning ordinance at the request of Goosepond Properties Inc.

Robby Robertson of Noon Developments in Chattanooga addressed the council, speaking on behalf of Goosepond Properties Inc. Robertson had previously spoke during a Ringgold Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on May 7.

The request was for a variance of the zoning ordinance of the city of Ringgold of the required side setback of 20 feet in a C-2 zoned property to a side setback of zero feet for the eastern boundary of their property.

The variance is for a new medical building at 4632 Battlefield Parkway next to one that they had already developed. The property is owned by Battlefield Parkway MOB, LLC.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had unanimously approved the variance during its May 7 meeting and the City Council followed in its May 11 meeting by giving it unanimous approval.

In old business during the May 11 regularly scheduled meeting, the council unanimously approved an agreement to continue to employ USI Consulting Group for the next two years.

Financial Director Jama House explained that in addition to a yearly financial audit, the city was now required by the government to have an actuary review post-employment benefits as the city offers health insurance coverage to city employee retirees.

She said that the city had used USI Consulting for the past two years and that the city used two-year contracts because of the way accounting guidelines are structured. In the first year, full information is reported and that information is updated and renewed during the second year of the contract. House also explained that USI makes its calculations based on in-depth city statistics, assumptions and demographics.

She quoted the price from USI at $4,500, to be paid in 2020, and $1,500, to be paid in 2021 for the updating and renewal, which she explained was by far the best price compared to other consultants she had researched.

The council also unanimously agreed to accept a payment of $3,750 to the city from Goosepond Properties Inc. in lieu of them installing a sidewalk on their new development since a new sidewalk would not be connected to Battlefield Parkway. The council had previously approved a similar payment from Goosepond for their adjacent developed property.

City Manager Dan Wright and the council asked House to look into setting up a special fund to hold these types of payments, from future developers in lieu of sidewalks, to possibly fund other city sidewalk projects in the future.

The council also unanimously approved authorization for CTI Engineers of Chattanooga to provide professional services and extend the sewer along US Highway 41 and the council also approved awarding a contract for repair of two water tanks in the city.

A new coating method for the 500,000-gallon tank on Peters Lane and the 200,000-gallon tank on Clearview Drive will help protect the existing tanks for another 15 years.

The council also agreed to further look into increasing the amount of medical premiums paid for family members of city employees once they have a better idea of the city tax revenues at the end of the month and a better idea of how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect those revenues.

The city currently pays 100% of employee’s health premiums and 50% of premiums for family members.

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