City wins TML governing award   

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

ÊÊ  By cutting government spending and avoiding property tax increases in the face of lost industries, the city of Elizabethton earned the 2004 overall Excellence of Governing from the Tennessee Municipal League (TML).
  "The award is really representative of the City Council working together during adverse circumstances," said Charles Stahl, Elizabethton's city manager. "It is a tribute to the council to work together in financially challenging times."
  City officials were presented with the award at TML's annual conference held in Chattanooga June 13.
  TML honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments.
  "Elizabethton is one of the best run cities I have ever worked with and it's been this way for a number of years," said Pat Hardy, a municipal management consultant with the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service.
  Hardy, an Elizabethton resident, praised the decision-making of the City Council and the ability of city staff to carry out council policies. He works in an advisory capacity with Elizabethton as well as other city governments in the region.
  The TML recognized the city's commitments to preserving community heritage and reducing government expenditures to balance its fiscal year budgets for the last two years.
  "The result is a team-operated city with nearly seamless interaction between the policy-making and administrative components of governing," Hardy said.
  The city has dealt with a series of setbacks in recent years. Manufacturer Alcoa Extrusions ceased operations at its Elizabethton plant over two years ago. The Inland Paperboard and Packaging plant on West Elk Avenue shut down last year costing the city another corporate citizen. Alcoa represented the largest utility user and biggest property taxpayer in the city. The closures resulted in over 400 workers losing their jobs.
  Other cities and towns honored by TML for 2004 include: Brownsville, for Excellence in Community and Economic Development; Clarksville, for Excellence in Police Operations; Farragut, for Excellence in Community Planning; Fayetteville, for Excellence in Fiscal Management; Jasper, for Excellence in Parks and Recreation; Maryville, for Excellence in Fire Safety; Tullahoma, for Excellence in Animal Control; and White Pine, for Small Town Progress.