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End in sight for Carter County Tomorrow

John Thompson • Jun 5, 2019 at 10:47 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Tomorrow, the organization that provided economic development direction for Carter County and the city of Elizabethton, is on its way out of existence.

The Board of Directors of the organization met at noon Wednesday and listened to board member and Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett as he discussed the future of Carter County Tomorrow’s replacement. That replacement is the Carter County Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

“Everything is done,” Barnett told the board. He was referring to request a nonprofit tax exemption (501-c-3) from the federal Internal Revenue Service. That classification will allow the board to handle funds. When the board was originally created, it was designed to use other agencies to handle money, eliminating a requirement for an audit.

Carter County Tomorrow was created more than a dozen years ago and was set up to be the county’s Economic development organization under Tennessee’s Public Chapter 1101. It placed an earlier organization called the Carter County Economic Development Commission.

When it was set up, the county took the $40,000 it was contributing to the Economic Development Commission and transferred it to Carter County Tomorrow. At the same time, the city of Elizabethton also switched $40,000 from EDC to CCT and the Elizabethton Electric System also transferred the $40,000 it was contributing from EDC to CCT.

When the joint economic board was set up a couple of years ago to replace Carter County Tomorrow as the county’s economic development group, the city and county took the $40,000 each was contributing to Carter County Tomorrow and instead contributed those funds to a new regional partnership, the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.

Next fiscal year, with Carter County’s joint board able to handle funds, Barnett told the board that the county’s proposed budget now indicates that the regional economic partnership will have its contribution from the county halved to $20,000. The joint board would receive the other $20,000. Barnett said that was still subject to change.

At the time it was created, Carter County Tomorrow was conceived as an umbrella organization, with its manager also overseeing the operation of the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, Carter County Tourism Council and management of the county-owned Workforce Development Complex, with the Elizabethton campus of Northeast State Community College as its principal tenant.

That umbrella organization has largely gone away when the County Commission failed to appoint a replacement director for Carter County Tomorrow.

Carter County Tomorrow Board Chairman Sam LaPorte said following the meeting that the directors will be making a final decision in the next few months on the disposition of the organization, including the transfer of the management of the Workforce Development Complex back to its owner, the Carter County government.

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