By Ashley Rader
2012 proved to be an eventful year for Elizabethton.
The city government continued to fine-tune its services to residents, and improved testing results in the city’s schools were recognized by the state.
After a liquor store referendum passed in the November election, council worked to set guidelines for the new stores.
Council eventually voted to limit the number of stores to three. Applicants would be approved by council in the same way beer permit applicants are approved by the beverage board.
City Manager Fred Edens announced he would step down as Elizabethton city manager effective Jan. 4, 2013.
Edens, who became city manager in April 2008, said he is retiring to help care for his mother and to take some time to take care of himself, as well.
The city of Elizabethton’s property tax rate remained the same at $1.78 per $100 of assessed value as the rate set in 2011, which was the first property tax increase in 19 years. The solid waste fee remained the same at $10 and the capital surcharge on the water bill remained the same at $6.
The main difference in the 2012 fiscal year budget over the 2011 budget was a pay increase for city employees. Employees were given an inverted pay raise, which meant the lowest-paid employees received the highest percentage increase and the highest-paid employees received the lowest percentage of pay raise.
City council voted to reinstate bulk trash pickup after hearing multiple requests from citizens to return the service. Council voted in February 2010 to end bulk trash pickup due to concerns over the cost to operate the program and because trash waiting for pickup on the sidewalks had become an eyesore for the city.