City approves TIF district, Crafts & Drafts event

Published 8:04 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

A development incentive is nearing reality for Elizabethton and Carter County.

City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve the implementation of a tax-increment financing (TIF) district for the Watauga River Development Area to attract industry and assist with environmental issues within the roughly 135.3 acres of land.

The development area spans from behind Wal-Mart to property near Cherokee Park Drive. With the County Commission and City Council approving the measure, the last piece of local passage will come during this month’s Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency meeting. If approved there, it will go before the state for a sign-off, then go into effect.

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According to information provided by the city’s Planning and Development office, the city is estimating $218,000-plus annually in additional property tax revenue over the course of 30 years. Once a TIF district is implemented, the city and county would ultimately “freeze” property taxes they would collect on the property while the property owner would continue to pay taxes on the full amount of the assessed value of their property. According to information from the planning development office, “the difference between what the city and county collect and what the property owner pays is set aside into a special TIF fund.” The money gathered would then be reinvested back into the properties receiving the TIF.


Following baseball season, citizens can expect some foot traffic at Joe O’Brien Field.

Council approved a measure for the newly created Go Betsy, Inc. nonprofit organization to host the inaugural Crafts and Drafts Festival inside the facility on Oct. 13-14.

Chris Little, Go Betsy and IDEAS Group member, told Council that the “crafts” portion of the event – featuring local artists – will take place both days from noon to 5 p.m. while the “drafts” portion will take place on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The drafts will be held near the home side of the field while the vendors will set up in center field with separation between both areas. Proceeds raised from the event will go toward projects being spearheaded by the IDEAS Group and to assist other organizations within the community.


Over 30 Students from Elizabethton High School are receiving some help from the city for a trip of a lifetime.

EHS Choir Director Deborah Gouge was on hand during Thursday’s meeting to give officials an update about the school’s men and women ensemble groups being selected to perform inside the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during the National Memorial Day Choral Festival. EHS was the only school in the United States to perform during the event.

Council was quick to praise the efforts of Gouge and her continual support of students looking to pursue their dreams in the arts.

Councilman Kim Birchfield made the motion, seconded by Richard Tester, to have the city contribute $10,000 to the ensemble groups to assist with costs – roughly estimated at $30,000 for the trip, including travel, food and other amenities.

Funding is reportedly available to be pulled from the general fund balance.


Council approved unanimously to pay $15,116,92 for the 2018 Appalachian League dues for the Elizabethton Twins minor league baseball team. Preparation is underway for the upcoming season with the team expected to arrive in Elizabethton in June, but uncertainty continues to linger as far as the longevity of the team’s future in the community. No public comment was issued following the city and team’s plans for future play at Joe O’Brien after the 2018 season.