Leon Humphrey was first elected as Carter County, Tennessee Mayor on August 5, 2010 and re-elected to serve a second term on August 7, 2014. Mayor Humphrey’s past record and future plans as Mayor include:
Cut Spending, Save Money
In one term, Mayor Humphrey saved the county $1,154,087:
- Saved $187,967 in three years: cut $32,483 from the Mayor and County building budgets in 2011; cut another $45,259 in 2012, resulting in savings of $77,742 every year.
- Collected $754,120 in grant funding for the County.
- Negotiated $150,000 in savings on the Jail water line project.
- Implemented an Excess Property Sale Plan to sell 36 surplus County properties. First phase resulted in the sale of two properties, bringing in $30,600.
- In 2011, initiated smart business practices to save over $10,000 ever year.
- In 2011, contracted with a local firm for landfill sampling and analysis, saving $9500 every year.
- Secured $3500 funding for Inmate Garden expansion.
- Strongly opposed the Commissioners’ tax hikes.
Clean House, Small Government
- Established a private sector audit committee of legal and financial professionals to increase accountability.
- Initiated an Open Door Policy – residents are encouraged to stop by and share their thoughts on County business.
- Knows Carter County residents want a smaller Commission. Worked to reduce the Commission from 24 to 9 members.
- Stood his ground with the Commission but always kept it civil.
- Took ZERO campaign contributions in 2010; never obligated the office for political favors.
Embrace the Future, Celebrate our Past
- Advocate for both short-term and long-term planning as opposed to knee-jerk reactions.
- Believes young professionals and their families need a greater say in County government.
- Negotiated to make CarterCountyTn.gov interactive. Citizens can now pay property taxes, fines and court fees from the privacy of their homes.
- Initiated filming and posting of monthly commission meetings online, so citizens can watch at their convenience.
- Negotiated the installation of a fiber optic network between the courthouse, jail, and annex. Instant data sharing streamlines government operations at ZERO additional cost.
- Initiated and directed renovation of the Veterans Monument.
- Helped secure funding for the new animal shelter. Co-developed protocols to improve shelter management.
- Assisted a corporate relocation to Carter County and worked to secure funding for the expansion of an existing industry’s production facility; these efforts resulted in 100+ new jobs. Note: Carter County Unemployment rate in October 2013 was 8.3% vs. 9.7% in October 2010.
- Initiated filming and posting of monthly commission meetings online.
Mayor Humphrey’s priorities in his second term are to:
- Create a single stream recycling program. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lzQL9l2YLU) This could generate revenues of $500,000 a year – up from $70,000 – and reduce landfill waste by as much as 60%.
- Initiate elements of infrastructure that are necessary for continued economic development; high speed communications, highways, water and sewer projects.
- Launch planning for a downtown hotel, so Elizabethton does not lose business conferences and over-night tourists to Johnson City.
- Establish an Environmental Law Court to enforce litter and zoning ordinances. Right now it can take years to process these violations.
- Create a Historical Documents Department and Archives, where historical records are preserved, digitally duplicated, and open to the public. Archives would complement Elizabethton’s rich heritage, attract historical tourists and genealogical researchers.
- Continue to use sound business practices, expand constituent services and work diligently to keep property taxes low.
- Implement new technologies and systems to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.
On March 18, 2016, Mayor Humphrey attended the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Legislative Breakfast and shared Carter County Government’s Focus for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year which is below. The Elizabethton Star published the Plan on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 so that the Citizens of Carter County would also be informed.
Focus on “Changes for the Better” for our Citizens
Carter County Government’s Focus for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year is as follows:
The County Government PLANS TO:
- Focus on Audit/Compliance/Transparency – The focus over the past year has been legal, regulatory, financial auditing, compliance and transparency. Going forward the focus will continue to be legal, regulatory, financial auditing, compliance and transparency. The County Government will work even harder this coming fiscal year to uphold the Constitutions of the United States, Tennessee and local laws that all elected officials took an oath to uphold. We will hold organizations that the government does business with accountable. If they are non-compliant we will cease doing businesses with them.
- Focus on Establishing a New Interlocal Agreement to create a New Joint Economic and Community Development Board that will be compliant with Public Chapter 1101. According to the State of Tennessee ECD, “These Boards…were conceived as providing a mechanism and forum for promoting ongoing cooperation and planning among the local governments in each county. The purpose of these boards is to foster communication among governmental entities, industry, and private citizens on economic and community development.” Carter County Government discovered only recently that it has not had a compliant Board since 2007 when the Elizabethton / Carter County Economic Development Commission was dissolved without the County Commission’s approval.
- Focus on joining a New Regional Economic Development Organization – The International Economic Development Council completed an Economic Growth Study of the Northeast Tennessee Region last year. That report indicated that the only way the Counties in the Northeast Region would be able to be successful in their economic development efforts would be to create a regional economic development organization. Carter County is currently in discussions with the Washington Economic Development Council and the NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership about Carter County partnering with one of them to handle Carter County’s economic development needs going forward. These organizations have the certified, degreed, highly trained, skilled and experienced staff to take economic development promotion to a new level that Carter County has never had before to help ensure the best potential for success for Carter County and its Citizens in the future.
- Focus on New Jobs Creation and Retention – The State of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission “is to develop strategies which help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Team Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.” Carter County Government is committed to supporting the State of Tennessee’s mission and is committed to working closely with the State going forward to do everything it can to ensure that Carter County is a team member on Team Tennessee. Carter County Government is soon to have its “first ever” University of Tennessee Certified Economic Developer on staff who will be working with the State of Tennessee to work on grant applications and economic development projects for Carter County.
- Focus will be on New Growth – Carter County Government will be focusing on “new ways” to promote Carter County and Northeast Tennessee and the absolutely beautiful area that we are all so fortunate to call home. We will be promoting all the wonderful natural resources that we have in order to encourage families to relocate to the area and promote more tourism to the area.
- Focus will be on New Community Development – We are currently working on several Community Development Projects that will continue to help develop Carter County’s infrastructure to help support new Community Growth and Development.
- Focus will be on New Partnerships (Public and Private) – Carter County Government plans on creating new partnerships that will help Carter County create a network to promote growth and development to support Team Tennessee’s mission. We will be partnering with Local, State and Federal agencies as well as with private organizations and citizens to help bring about changes for the better for Carter County and its citizens.
- Focus will be on New Ideas and Innovative and Out-of-the-Box Thinking – Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Carter County cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again with regard to economic development promotion. It has been doing the same things since 1985 with no different results. This is a new day and a new era of technology and competition. Carter County has not been able to keep up and areas that cannot keep up with changes in technology and economic development simply cannot compete. We have to focus on new and innovative ideas and out of the box thinking if we are going to survive and thrive. If we don’t change the same old way that we have been doing things, our children will continue to have to move away from the area to find jobs. Without new people moving into the area and new jobs, the population will continue to decline, taxes will rise, and home values will fall with declining or no new construction (commercial or residential).
- And most importantly the FOCUS will be on New Participation and Involvement by Citizens – It will take everyone working together, participating and getting involved to make changes for the better for Carter County. It will require a commitment by the Citizens of Carter County “to care” about what goes on in the County and to let their voices and opinions be heard. It will also require a commitment on their part, not only to voice their opinions, but to also make the effort to become involved to help make changes for the better. We aren’t looking for armchair quarterbacks. We need team players for Team Tennessee who can and will help make a difference and help make changes for the better.
The Focus for Carter County for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 requires Federal Government, State Government, Local Government and Community (Citizens) cooperation and support to achieve success! It is time for Carter County and the region to come together as one to make changes for the better for everyone!