“It’s not just about jobs but quality of life,” said Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton at Monday’s announcement of the county’s elevated status according to the Tennessee Economic and Community Development (TECD) website

  Campbell County is now categorized as an “at risk” county by TECD.  It had been listed as a “distressed” county since 2011.  In comparison, neighboring Claiborne County is also “at risk” with Scott County labeled as “distressed” while Anderson County is “transitional.”

Morton (C) is flanked by Caryville Elementary School student Isaac Jones and Elaine Morton, the mayor’s wife

In a prepared statement read yesterday to a group of community leaders and media, Morton said, “I welcome every attendee here today and thank you for taking time to be here for this momentous occasion.  I am thankful for the efforts of so many that have worked so hard to improve our County.  Governor Haslam led the way with a Drive to 55 and a goal to eliminate distressed counties in Tennessee and Campbell County stood up and toed the mark and crossed into the land of the possible.  County Commissioners, City Mayors and Councils from Caryville, Jacksboro, Jellico and LaFollette toed the mark too. Our Industrial Development Board, our Chamber and Tourism leadership and board, School Board, Teachers, Janitors, Cooks, Bus drivers, office staff, Principals, counselors, students and parents, Elected Officials, our Planning Commission, business owners, Utility Boards and staffs, state officials, child advocates, social workers, law enforcement officers at city, county and state levels, Judges, Clerks, counselors and probation officers at county, state and federal levels, Deputy Mayor Andy Wallace, Olivia Robbins and Keisha Howard from my team and most importantly, the Campbell County, Tennessee Citizen and tax payer toed the mark and stepped forward.  Each one of them have put a shoulder to the wheel of growth, job attraction, vision, hope and peace for our collective benefit in a county that is better than it was in 2012 when we were identified as a distressed county.  This county and these hard working people are at a point of no return and we are not looking back.  Because we have overcome a designation, we are owed nothing.  But because we have overcome this designation, we can now see the path ahead.  It is a path of more hard work, but also a path with a vision and God’s richest blessings for our people and our future.  Today we celebrate and today we resolve to build the future we collectively envision.  We are owed nothing, but we can earn our every dream, just like this county has earned 605 jobs since the dark day when A&S and Trail Manor closed and took 179 jobs between them.  We have collectively fought and scratched and clawed to get to here.  We know what it takes.  Without raising taxes this year, we pushed schools funding from $300K to $388K above state minimums so we can have a future where our students exceed a score of 21 on the ACT, where we work here at home for a living wage, where we earn college degrees and certificates that lead to $50K/yr jobs.  We can reach a new standard for investment like bringing over $65M in capital investments from companies like BSH, Matix, BMT and Telos which vaults our growth potential even higher and causes at least three candidates for Governor to support a $100M investment in the Rocky Top project inside Campbell County.  We can earn a life where opioids are used in moderation and addiction is prevented and recovery is real for those who suffer today.  We can earn activities for our children and produce high performance workers who can change the world with Campbell County values. Today we continue to move forward into a bright new future.”

Campbell County’s  snapshot detailed by TECD has an Index Value Rank of 2,800 (of 3,113 counties in the U-S, 1 is the best) compared to Anderson County’s 1,728, Claiborne’s 2,709, and Scott’s 3,038.

Per Capita Market Income  is $19,816 for Campbell versus $29,326 for Anderson, Claiborne $20,490, and $16,232 for Scott.

Poverty Rate for Campbell County is 22.4% to Anderson’s 17.2%, 22.3% for Claiborne, and Scott County’s 27.7%.

Three Year Average Unemployment Rate is 8% for Campbell compared to Anderson County’s 5.8%, Claiborne’s 7.4%, and 9.5% for Scott County.

Of the categories for 2019 listed by TECD, there are 15 distressed counties, 29 at risk, 48 transitional, two competitive (Wilson and Sumner Counties), and Williamson is the lone county in the top category of attainable.

Williamson County is 14th in the Index Value Rank, has a Per Capita Market Income of $85,918, a Poverty Rate of 5.2%, and a Three Year Average Unemployment Rate of 4%.

It is worth noting that Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Shelby, and Washington Counties are all transitional counties which is the next step for Campbell County. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/24/2018-6AM)