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Collins appointed as economic developer

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 9:05 am


Serving as a city manager can be challenging enough having to deal with telephone calls about garbage issues, potholes, loud and roaming dogs, and a myriad of other complaints from citizens.

This month, the Shelbyville City Council added economic development for the City of Shelbyville to the duties of City Manager Scott Collins. Ending months of discussions, council members voted 5-0 to rescind a three-part motion that would have authorized the city to hire an economic developer, and that person would have been hired by the City Council with Mayor Randy Carroll supervising the application process and the scheduling of interviews. Council member Stephanie Isaacs was not present for the March regular meeting.

“I am excited,” Collins said. “I am a member of the Tennessee City Managers Association, and when we all come together, the major topic is always economic development. I went through the certified public manager’s program and my thesis was on economic development.

“We need to generate more revenue to provide more and better services. The best way to do that is economic development and ease the burden on property taxes.”

Collins admits he is in charge, but he points to a team surrounding him that will make this part of his job much easier.

“I am kind of overseeing it, but I cannot stress enough the great people we have working on this,” Collins said. “It is not all on me by any means.”

He joined City Recorder Lisa Smith and City Planner Tom Batchelor as a representative and as one of the cities analyzed during a Retail Strategies’ Retail Academy in January in Birmingham, Alabama. They have been meeting every two weeks since the academy. Other city departments have also been represented including Shelbyville Fire Chief Matt Doak, City Director of Planning and Community Development Waleed Albakry, and Jason Reese and Tom Jarrett of the Shelbyville Power and Water System.

“The main thing is we have such a phenomenal team together,” Collins said. “Our department heads and other employees all have great ideas.

“We are brainstorming. We are taking information from Retail Strategies on top targets that would be a great fit for Shelbyville. They have matched our demographics with retailers that have expansion plans. They are coaching us on how to approach them and put a plan together to get them located here.”

Just how the city’s plans to attract retail coincide with the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership remains to be seen.

“We are not formally a part of the partnership,” Collins said. “However, if the partnership approaches us and asks for assistance in locating a retail or commercial interest we will work together to make it happen.

“We have worked together on a couple of projects. Whatever benefits Shelbyville we will be glad to work together with them.”