Estes ‘excited’ for future of Elizabethton

Published 4:29 pm Friday, June 8, 2018

After a busy first week, Daniel Estes couldn’t help but to crack a smile when talking about the future of Elizabethton.

Estes has hit the ground running since taking over the position of city manager on June 1. A week filled with meetings and talking with the public has Estes looking forward to what’s ahead for the progress of the city.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my first week in Elizabethton,” said Estes, who took time out of his busy schedule to speak with the Elizabethton Star Friday morning. “Everyone has been very welcoming and I appreciate all the hospitality. A great deal of my time this week has been about listening and learning. I’ve been out meeting with department heads and touring their operations. I’ve been trying to meet every staff person across the city and getting to know everyone. It’s been a great experience.”

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Fostering the partnerships and going into the public is nothing new to Estes. Prior to coming to Elizabethton, the city manager worked as a town administrator of Collierville, Tenn., from October 2016 until April of this year. Estes’ extensive background also includes being an attorney and municipal finance officer.

With the past experience, Estes said the goal is to keep working to move Elizabethton forward and have the interest of the public in mind when making decisions.

“I want to see that every citizen is treated fairly,” he said. “It’s only fair for me to listen and learn and that’s my role in the beginning. This isn’t about my personal opinion, it’s about understanding what our community and our City Council can do and being the steward to move that vision forward.”

Estes added the talks have been fruitful and that there have been different ideas being tossed around for what Elizabethton can do for the future.

“The most exciting thing about this past week has been listening about the different opportunities that are out there,” he said. “Everything from Surf Betsy to a potential sports complex, and I know there’s ongoing work with the (Elizabethton) Twins to stay here. There are a lot of opportunities and potential for the city. It’s been great to hear all the ideas and my goal is to work with City Council and the public to see how we want to move forward on different projects.

“Elizabethton has a lot going for it,” he continued. “It’s good to see a community that is continuing to find a unique niche, and find what makes the community different and interesting.”

Estes will be part of his first City Council meeting Thursday as officials look to vote on the second and final reading of the 2018-19 fiscal year budget, which includes various projects and other items, with no tax increase for the public.

“It’s definitely a unique time to be coming in with a budget being finalized,” Estes said. “The city is going to be in a good position with the budget. Council has been reviewing the final tweaks. The tax rate is also staying the same. We’re going to look at all the necessary steps to keep Elizabethton moving forward in its good, financial shape.”

Estes added that he and his family have also enjoyed getting into the new routine of being in the city.

“My wife was able to transfer and is able to do the same job she was doing,” he said. “She’s already back to work. Our daughter is already enrolled in daycare and we have two children on the way. We’re still unboxing but we’ve been able to find our new routine, and that’s been a great thing.”

And part of the new routine looks to include the annual Covered Bridge Celebration.

“I can take in some good bluegrass,” Estes with a smile talking about the weekend musical lineup at the festival. “It’ll be great to get to know the city by taking in the Covered Bridge Celebration.”