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Johnson County tallies economic growth

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The phrases “shop local” or “support local” are commonplace to people in small communities. Few see the direct impact of following through. Now, according to Director of Accounts and Budgets Russell Robinson, recent numbers show a “phenomenal growth” in city sales tax this fiscal year, projecting around $50,000 more than the original budget. That number goes through multiple splits determined by law, but a portion will stay with the county and city. Along with this positive news, industry and local education seem to be growing as well.

Johnson County is one of nine counties in Tennessee to show increased enrollment, which puts Johnson County into slightly less than 9.5 percent of Tennessee. Along with bragging rights, this comes with additional BEP (Basic Education Program) government funding. According to Johnson County School Finance Director Tina Lipford, a significant portion is from the online learning program that schools joined forces with this past April, Pearson Connections Academy. It connects homeschool students with the local school system so both can benefit. There was some in-person growth also, according to Lipford.

“This is very good and not something that happens very often,” said Robinson. “Schools are actually in a situation where they’re showing some growth funds. Around $360,000.”

Local industry seems to be blossoming. Several new businesses are scoping the area and making plans to take root. That includes the Dollar Tree/Family Dollar combo, a new coffee shop, and others yet to be determined. Several business fronts show signs of changes but no confirmation on whether something new is coming. Other businesses are expanding. At the time of this article Farmers State Bank is expanding its Church Street office into the building next door.

As locals become more active about what they want, the area will most likely continue to grow and improve. Situations like the litter issue are proof that the community has the power to come together and make a positive change, which in turn could trigger another change. Anyone with an issue to bring before the city or county can sign up to speak before the respective entity’s meeting. Keep an eye on The Tomahawk’s community announcements for meeting days and times.