Five Questions - Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes

John Thompson • Jan 18, 2019 at 5:17 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Daniel Estes’ biggest first-year challenge as city manager of Elizabethton may be just ahead, as he leads city staff and the City Council through the annual budgeting process.

The City Council chose Estes as city manager back in May, when the Council had pretty much completed the hard work on setting the budget for 2018-19. Council was led in that effort by now-retired City Manager Jerome Kitchens.

But this year, Estes will be in charge of the process and will be making the recommendations to City Council.

While Estes has become a familiar person in Elizabethton, the Johnson City Press has asked him five questions to help shed more light on the man who will take that important role in the budget process for Elizabethton.

What aspect of Elizabethton makes you proud to be its city manager?

“I would say it is our employees. Good people work for this city.”

He said these employees not only work for the city, but they are directly responsible for the efficient way in which the city operates on a day-to-day basis.

Name some things you would like to accomplish as city manager.

“I am not one to worry about my own personal legacy. I am concerned with following the policies and procedures of the Elizabethton City Council and to see that its instructions are accomplished effectively and efficiently.”

The city has several major projects that have been identified to be completed in the next few years. What are your thoughts on these projects?

“I see that the city has several projects identified.” He said these include the renovations to the police department; renovations to 1926-era Bonnie Kate movie theater; the proposed improvements to the Covered Bridge Park; and renovations to Joe O’Brien Stadium, home field of the Elizabethton Twins minor league baseball team. These are projects that will be discussed during the City Council’s budget considerations this year. Estes said it was important “to see what approval may be there” for the various projects.

Estes said one of the considerations that nearly all cities face is to decide how much of a city’s limited resources should be devoted to such projects.

In the past few years there has been more emphasis placed on regional cooperation, to the point that new regional boards and commissions have been created in the past couple of years. What are your thoughts on regional cooperation between governments?

Since he became city manager, regional cooperation has been improving, especially between the city and county governments in Carter, Washington and Unicoi. The Elizabethton City Council has also shown its willingness to cooperate on a regional basis and has joined the new regional boards.

Estes narrowed the scope and talked about cooperation between Elizabethton and Carter County. He has already demonstrated this focus by attending several County Commission meetings during the months he has been here.

What about the relationship between Elizabethton and Johnson City?

“I have a positive working relationship with the leaders in Johnson City, including City Manager Pete Peterson, and assistant city managers Charlie Stahl and Bob Wilson. They have been a resource for me. I appreciate the positive relationship we have together.”

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