By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Well, the people of Trousdale County have spoken.

Stephen Chambers was elected as the new county mayor last week, unseating Carroll Carman. It was a good, clean race between the two candidates even if the war of words on social media wasn’t always so.

I want to congratulate Mayor Carman on his accomplishments in four years. The downtown area looks dramatically different in many ways, from a new fire hall to a new community center to a new justice center. The planned Streetscape grant (whenever TDOT gets around to it – they’re rather busy with IMPROVE Act projects right now and it’s been delayed) will do even more to spruce up a part of our town that frankly, has been neglected for far too long.

RELATED LINK: Chambers elected as Trousdale County mayor

Chris Gregory

Trousdale County has see tremendous growth in business and in population over he last four years, with the arrival of CoreCivic and ARC Automotive and a BIG spike in building in the county. Yes, those almost certainly would have been the case no matter who was in the mayor’s office, but I do credit Mr. Carman with managing the growth pretty well.

Yet there are many in the county who feel we’ve done too much too quickly. Perhaps they’re right. People don’t like change, and when things have been neglected for a long time it’s easy just to let the old status quo continue.

As Mayor-elect Chambers prepares to take office, I hope he will be able to continue the momentum Trousdale County has achieved. I also look forward to seeing what vision he has for our county and how he wants to make that vision into reality. He will probably face some difficult choices early on in his administration.

Yes, we are booming, but that boom will not last forever. There will have to be some tightening of the county’s financial belt. Raises for teachers, county employees and the sheriff’s department have eaten away a significant amount of the increased tax revenue from the prison.

Will we continue sidewalk projects under Mayor Chambers? Personally, I hope so. It’s a little thing that just makes the community look better and I would hate to see it cut.

I hope the Streetscape project continues; it’s something I’ve heard questioned in recent days (to be clear, not by Chambers). Again, sprucing up the downtown Hartsville area is something LONG overdue and needs to continue under the new administration.

Chambers spoke during the campaign on the need to continue to draw industry and businesses into Trousdale County. This is absolutely a need and I hope he is able to succeed in that regard. Jobs do more for a community than anything I can think of.

I hope Mayor Chambers has a good of a working relationship with the County Commission as Mayor Carman has had. With 10 new faces that weren’t there four years ago and a new mayor, there will be a leadership vacuum in county government – especially early on. Several experienced commissioners chose not to seek re-election and they will definitely be missed.

Thank you, Mayor Carman. Good luck, Mayor Chambers.

Chris Gregory is managing editor of The Hartsville Vidette. Reach him at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.