By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – The Joint Economic Community Development Board met Thursday evening, approving the operating budget for the 2024-2025 year. 

The total budget approved was for $104,180.

This includes several contributions such as $10,000 to the East Tennessee Foundation, among others. The total contribution line item is for $39,000. Board and committee expenses are listed at $12,320, while dues and memberships expenses are listed at $5,700.

Insurance is $2,000, while legal fees and the audit is projected to be about $10,000. Office supplies and expenses were budgeted at $3,000 and support staff was budgeted at $6,200. 

Travel and expenses were listed at $7,000 and the budget also includes funding $5,000 for the Brandon Card Fishing tournament and $10,000 for the Morristown Marina Fishing tournament. Other contract services are budgeted at $4,960, with $14,000 budgeted for “other charges.”

According to JECDB chair Jay Willougby this budget is matched with JECDB’s projected income of $104,180.

“It has to be presented to the county government and city government by April 1,” Willoughby said.

The JECDB also discussed the need for additional industrial property, especially with the expected influx of growth after United Rare Earths is up and running with its first phase of building a magnet recycling facility.

“It looks like we’ve cleared the hurdles to develop the 195 acres through Mike Malicoat,” Willoughby said. The 195 acres sits next to the Hershal Collins Industrial Park in Caryville and has multiple sites that would be good for industrial development, according to Willoughby.

Currently an environmental impact study is underway and a survey on the new industrial site was completed. JECDB members looked at maps of the new industrial site before the close of Thursday’s meeting.

“What United Rare Earths is doing is enormous. What results of this is going to be a huge impact for our area, we’re going to need the property to support that,” Willoughby said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/09/2024-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)