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Talking with City Mayor Randy Carroll

Nov. marks year 1

By DAWN HANKINS dawn@t-g.com
Posted 10/26/23

City of Shelbyville Mayor Randy Carroll learned by example as a child growing up here how to serve his community.

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Talking with City Mayor Randy Carroll

Nov. marks year 1


City of Shelbyville Mayor Randy Carroll learned by example as a child growing up here how to serve his community.
“My parents would have been proud . . . little ole Randy Carroll becomes mayor.”
That’s why he placed his name on the City ballot for mayor last year.
“It wasn’t for the salary,” he recently told the T-G. (That’s about $18,000 a year.)
Carroll is retired from Duck River Electric. He sold his home on the lake and bought property in the city
Though part-time mayor, he works full-time at City Hall.
“That’s OK. We’ve had a lot to do.”
MTSU Aviation
“We had issues like the MTSU [aviation] campus moving to Shelbyville. That took us about 6 months to work through,” Carroll explained Thursday.
The City now has a legal contract with the estimated $67 million project.
“We had to make sure how it was going to affect the public, especially County people, as well as City,” said Carroll.
The City is under a 40-year contract or lease agreement with Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro for the Shelbyville Municipal Airport area property. The City stands to gain significant financial dollars, according to Carroll.
Duksan Electera
Duksan Electera America, Inc., located in the City/County industrial park, will soon manufacture battery electrolytes and additives. A spring opening is anticipated.
TCAT Campus
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville (TCAT) is another new City-involved project. The project is estimated to cost around $47 million.
The mayor added that as a result of such progress, residents in areas like Candlewood Estates, those near Fair Haven Church and Northpoint off Highway 231 North are now looking at City sewer line availability.
“Hopefully we can annex those into the City.”

New retail
Carroll revealed that the new owners/operators of Shelbyville’s first Chik-fil-A, which is currently under construction off North Main Street, called him one evening, expressing an interest in planting a local restaurant.
Not only are the chain’s famous chicken biscuits coming soon to Shelbyville, the City has also earned a new family of residents as the owners have moved here.
“The walls are going up,” said Carroll. “We [the City] did make a $300,000 investment to the developer. We did not take that from taxpayer funds. We took that from Hotel-Motel funds. That’s economic development.”

Tourism efforts
Carroll said the City has funded a lot of tourism. “If it is going to be a certain number of days . . . bring in a certain number of people, we have guidelines on how many dollars we can give.”
“We’re trying to bring tourists in. That fills up the hotels and motels.”
A second McDonald’s restaurant is planned at North Main Street and Hickory Drive.
“There will be some traffic situations at Chik-fil-A and McDonald’s, Carroll said. “There’s no left turn.”

Traffic issues
Carroll said he explains quite frequently to residents that Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) makes those traffic decisions off Highway 231-North, since it is a state highway.
“They are going right in and right out. Then you’ll have to go on Hickory Drive to do a left out from that facility.”
Carroll said City officials and TDOT representatives have discussed at length traffic regulations there.
Why is everything being located on Highway 231 North?
“I think people who own property out 231 North are seeing the availability with MTSU, north business park . . . seeing the value of that property up, so they’re more actively trying to sell their property. That’s why it’s developing faster.”
The mayor said the City is trying to secure land off Highway 41A South and Highway 64 East for potential development.

Homes going up!
Carroll advised that the construction of about 300 homes at Jennings Lane off Highway 41A North is anticipated.
He said homes are going up as fast in several other areas of the City.

The future
Carroll said Shelbyville Fire Department has about 50 employees and Shelbyville Police Department has currently about 60.
The departments are also potentially going to expand into new spaces. “We looking at maybe a substation or maybe a new location for the police department out where we’re building the new two-story Cartwright Elementary School at Fairfield Pike.”
There is a substation for the fire department at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport off Highway 231. However, Carroll said that station is still short three firemen.
“All of those things are very important when you’re developing.”
City taxes
Carroll said there was an opportunity with the sales tax up-about $600,000-to reduce the property tax burden.
Council reduced City property taxes this fiscal year by 11 cents from $1.59 to $1.48 per $100 assessed value. This tax rate is effective through June.
“We may do it again,” Carroll advised. “We will just have to see how things go.”

City-County issue
Right now, we’ve got an issue with the County about sales tax,” Carroll said.
It’s a sales tax issue which goes all way back when the City and County school systems were combined, forming what is now Bedford County School System.
There was debt service on the city schools, he recalled. There was a 1 percent increase on sales tax at that time.
“They made an agreement to reduce that debt service or pay that debt service off. The City agreed to give them [County] a portion of that sales tax.”
Mayor Carroll said there was no termination date set in it. So, it has been going on about 50 plus years now.
“The City needs that sales tax back.”
Carroll stated how the City continues to legally “do its part” to support the local school system.
The mayor added that same sales tax revenue issue has grown from approximately $10,000 annually to $2 million dollars last year.
“That’s how much the City has lost, by giving it to the County,” said Carroll.
He said he’s worked with Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham and the County Commission and City Council on this issue.
The mayor said the City is not asking for any retroactive sales tax money it lost to the County.
An equitable agreement is in the works, Carroll said.
He said that 75 percent of that 1 percent, if you get into all the mathematics, goes to the County.
“All of the money state-wide mandated goes to the county anyway,” the mayor advised. “It is suppose to be split down the middle-- that 2.75%. Part of it goes to education, automatically, then the rest of it is divided equally between the County and the City.”
Carroll said it’s not that way. That extra 1% is still being received by the County.

City growth
Carroll looks at each day he serves the community, along with the city administration and Council, as “a privilege.”
“I really take the job seriously about the growth, the poorer citizens . . . people who’ve lived here forever that’s paid property taxes. We want to protect them from the development . . . when they can’t get out on the highway because they’ve got all these houses built next to them. All of these things are so important.”
Being a part of new and exciting events is something Carroll has always enjoyed. He’s been a member of several nonprofits for years.
Mayor Carroll recently took his first hot air balloon ride during a festival at Nearest Green Distillery off Highway 231-North.
“I thought my head was on fire,” he said with a laugh. “I was in Naval aviation, but I’ve never been in a hot air balloon.”
Now in his 70s, this life-long Shelbyville resident says he has no plans of slowing down. And if this year is any indication, neither is his hometown.