RINGGOLD, Ga. — Bill Clark and James Emberson are leaving the Catoosa County Commission, but they say they are not leaving public service after their terms expire in January.
Commission Chairman Clark and District 3 Commissioner Emberson will be honored tonight following their last regularly scheduled commission meeting. A reception is in the county administration building on LaFayette Street after the meeting that begins at 6 p.m.
The men were appointed to the county economic development board, beginning in January. They join the board as officials seek to poise the county for economic development.
“While I won’t be on the commission any longer, I think it is going to be more pro-active than it has been,” Mr. Emberson said. “I am looking forward to their pro-active work with the economic development board.”
The commission and the development board will work to recruit the supply companies that will follow the $1 billion VW plant, scheduled to begin production in Chattanooga in early 2011.
County officials want to develop a county-owned industrial park and one of the last official acts of Mr. Clark and Mr. Emberson will be a vote on acquisition of property.
Among their accomplishments is overseeing the growth of budget surplus over five years from about $2 million to $8.5 million. During that time, the landfill came out of a federal court order and the methane migration problem was controlled, the officials said.
“We also passed at $54 million SPLOST referendum and managed to lower property taxes a little bit this year,” Mr. Clark said. “And in spite of that, it looks like we will have a good reserve to take us through what looks like a tough time.”
Mr. Emberson points to a tax increase passed several years ago the reason for the growth in the reserve funds.
“It was very controversial, nobody wants increased taxes, but we narrowly squeaked through a millage increase,” he said. “If we had to start cutting staff and services now because we did not have that (cushion), I’d hate to think of what it would be like,” he said.