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Dandridge, Tennessee

November 7, 2011

County Sales Tax Revenue on the Rise
Jefferson County Among Few with Increase

The 2011 calendar year is coming to a swift close and Jefferson County residents, along with the rest of the Nation, are questioning what economic relief 2012 may bring. Analysts are cautioning that there may be no real upturn in the economy for the new year. Consumer confidence is high enough to keep a second recession at bay, however the unemployment rate and wages earned will put a damper on any drastic resurgence to pre recession status. The gross domestic product, which is the total of goods and services that the Country produced in a one year time frame, is expected to have a relatively small bump of 2%. This is the same rate of growth as was seen in 2011. Interest rates are expected to remain at status quo until the second half of 2012. 

Staff Photo / Miss Ritchie performs Star Spangled Banner for Veterans gathering

Jefferson County residents experienced an increase in unemployment, which is already hovering over a point higher than National projections. According to information provided by the State of Tennessee, Jefferson County is lagging behind both the State and the Nation in wage increases, as well. Interestingly, though the economic situation appears to be tough in the County, the sales tax revenue is on the up swing. Jefferson County is one of a few Counties in the State that have enjoyed a boom in sales tax revenue. Though the County is just four months into the fiscal year, the trend for increase is not only continuing but flourishing.

Jefferson City is the highest sales tax revenue producer in Jefferson County, followed by Dandridge, the County, White Pine and New Market. Big Box retail in Jefferson City, such as Wal-Mart and Goodyís are heavy sales tax contributors. Other Big Box stores, such as Lowes, 84 Lumber and Tractor 

Supply are generally also large contributors, however until the recent weather related construction work became available building projects, both locally and Nationally, we put on virtual hold.

Dandridge Finance Director Bryan McCarter has been carefully monitoring the sales tax increase in the Dandridge area and stated that a more than 30% jump in July 2011 ( compared to July 2010 ) could be contributed, in part, to the Bass Tournament. McCarter said that both August and September showed a significant increase of around 15% over last year. Dandridge had been name a Destination Location and has actively been seeking tourist traffic and it does have a thriving interstate exit that brings in travelers off of the road, as well as tournaments at the Field of Dreams.

Monica Myers, the Jefferson City Recorder, stated that the City is running about 8%, on a three month average, above last year. She said that back to school sales and the Holidays always bring in higher sales tax, however there has been an increase over last year. Myers expects the numbers to slow a bit after Christmas but says that the economy may actually be helping drive the sales tax revenue up in the County. Jefferson County residents may be shopping closer to home, especially in light of the ups and downs of gas prices. Local shopping translates to increased sales tax revenue. 

McCarter stated that Dandridge is pleased with the increased revenue, especially when the housing market is facing such challenges and property tax collection is not as easy as it was during pre recession times. Dandridge has shown steady increases since 2006, which is unusual in a down economy. 

Jefferson County is also fairing well with sales tax revenue and is, in fact, one of the few Counties in the State that has shown a consistent increase in sales tax. One half of the sales tax that is collected inside the City limits goes to Jefferson County. Sales tax revenue in Jefferson County is committed to Education.

Veterans Day

November 11, 2011

Veteranís Day is celebrated in the United States on November 11. Previously known as Armistice Day, it garnered its Nov 11 date because that was the official end of World War I. 1918 saw the completion of the war and in 1938 the day was set to celebrate world peace and honor the men and women who contributed to achieving peace through service during the war. By 1954 the United States had been involved in two more wars, World War II and Korea, and the government officially changed the name from Armistice to Veteranís Day. It is one of two days that honor servicemen for their commitment to their County in times of war. Memorial Day is a time to honor fallen soldiers who gave their lives during war, however, Veteranís Day was created to pay tribute to all who have served in war. For a brief time in the early 1970ís Veterans Day was observed on the last Monday in October but many States did not like the change. In September of 1975 President Ford declared that November 11 would be deemed Veteranís Day, returning it to its original date. It is an unfortunate fact that there are Veteranís in nearly every generation, beginning with World War I and continuing through Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans. The Day is celebrated with parades, ceremonies and programs. It is a time for every American to show their appreciation for the sacrifices of many for the freedoms and convictions of the Nation.

Staff Photo
Ground Broken for New JCHS Freshman Academy

The Jefferson County Department of Education broke ground on the new freshman academy on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. Members of the School Board, the Department of Education, the Contractors and Architectural Firm and the local government were present at the opening ceremony. Entertainment was provided by Jefferson County High School Music Department. The new freshman academy will house around 700 ninth grade students. Crews were hard at work on Thursday, trying to make headway on the project before rainy weather set in. The new fresh man academy and the new elementary are located on opposites ends of Dumplin Valley Road. The elementary school project is already beginning to take shape, despite some wet days. The School Board had planned to tour the grounds and access the progress before the last School Board meeting, however the tour was postponed due to rain.


No Change in Intermodal Location
Jefferson City Site Not Suitable for Intermodal Facility

Norfolk Southern has not changed the location of the proposed Intermodal, according to information released on November 3,2011 by Susan Terpay - Director of Public Relations for Norfolk Southern. Terpay communicated Thursday that Norfolk Southern had evaluated a Jefferson City site that was under consideration by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Board for an Industrial Park. The IDB had received information that Norfolk Southern might consider the site as an alternative location for the Intermodal that has been proposed for New Market. The proposed Quaker Valley location has met with some opposition from locals and the IDB had taken the location off of the table for an Industrial Park. The owner of the Jefferson City property had hoped that his site would meet the needs of Norfolk Southern and that they would consider locating the proposed Intermodal adjacent to an Industrial Park in Jefferson City.

Terpay communicated that, while Norfolk Southern had determined that rail access could be provided for an Industrial Rail Project, the Jefferson City site was not suitable for an Intermodal Facility. Norfolk Southern will continue in their efforts to purchase property in the footprint of the proposed Intermodal location ( New Market ), according to Terpay. She would not comment on any specific real estate bids or purchases in the area. 

Norfolk Southern is in the process of completing and accessing a new Intermodal Facility in Memphis, as well as other areas. Terpay stated that 2014 was the target year for determinations regarding the New Market location, though the various facets of the project are tied to a larger project.

The Jefferson County Industrial Development Board is currently in flux as they are experiencing a shift in seated members. The Jefferson County Nominating Committee has not yet made a recommendation for the open seats on the Board, though they have taken applications for the seats. Any committee or board placement requires the vote of the Full Commission. It is unclear, at this time, if the decision of Norfolk Southern will alter the IDBís decision to remove New Market from consideration for an Industrial Park. 

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