By BRIAN GRAVES
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis held his 10th annual biennial dinner Saturday night focusing on God, patriotism and low tax rates.The dinner, held at Cleveland High School, was a precursor to …
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis held his 10th annual biennial dinner Saturday night focusing on God, patriotism and low tax rates.
The dinner, held at Cleveland High School, was a precursor to Davis’ run for another term in office in the 2018 county general elections.
“There have been lots of things going on in Bradley County over the last few years ,” Davis said. “There have been many projects and it’s all been done without a tax increase, and that should be something you’re very proud of.”
He said every time a “pet peeve” project is passed, “We just grew government.”
“We have proven, with 17 years without a tax increase, without a doubt you can continue to grow and move forward and government can live within its means,” Davis said. “Look at the revenue 17 years ago. Look at the expenditures 17 years ago. We’re just not raising your taxes. We have proven we can do that.”
He noted the White House budget director has referred to “a compassionate, conservative budget.”
“We’ve been doing that for 17 years in Bradley County,” Davis said. “It’s a compassionate budget for the departments. There is not a single department that is not continuing to provide the same level of services we were providing last year or the year before. Those budgets have been compassionate for the taxpayers of Bradley County who we all work for. That’s very important to me.”
Davis said just when he thought he had worked with every possible issue, the recent fire at the county courthouse occurred.
“Those people that work in that courthouse, those lives were turned upside down,” he said. “I have preached to my department heads that we need to be more like a family. I can say after all of these years, we have a group of department heads that think and work together like a family.”
“Sometimes, adversity is what makes a family come closer,” Davis said. “This last week, we became more of a family than we have ever been. None of us were there to take credit for anything. We were there to get locations and get services up and running for the people of Bradley County.”
Davis said the next election is six months away, and he refers to it as “evaluation time.”
County office holders in attendance were Court Clerk Gayla Miller, County Clerk Donna Simpson, Register of Deeds Dina Swafford, and Trustee Mike Smith. County Commissioners Louie Alford, Charlotte Peak, Jeff Hall, Bill Winters, Howard Thompson, Thomas Crye, and Robert Rominger were also in attendance.
Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg was also in attendance with his wife, Crystal, who serves as county attorney.
“If people will just sit back and give us elected officials an evaluation, we’re due one,” he said. “The elected officials who are here tonight are the best group of elected officials you could ever possibly want to work with.”
Davis said he has “fought the fight and kept the faith, but I’m not about to end the story there.”
“I want to continue to fight that fight and I will continue to keep the faith,” he said. “Seventeen years without a tax increase – and we can make it 18, 19, 20 and 21. Working together, we will do that.”
Music for the evening was provided by the Bowers Quartet and the Voices of Lee.
Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, who recently announced she would seek the office of governor next year, was the guest speaker, and praised Davis’ leadership as well as the county’s fiscal conservatism.
Harwell was introduced by state Rep. Dan Howell, who was joined by state Sen. Mike Bell to represent the county’s state legislative delegation.
“Mayor Gary Davis has been sort of a hero for me for quite some time,” Harwell said. “I hold him up on a pedestal as I think you should, too.”
“He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t seek the spotlight, but his good deeds do not go unnoticed,” she said. “When I look around Bradley County and see the progress, the solid management and the community you have been blessed to live in, I know you are proud of him.”
“He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t seek the spotlight, but his good deeds do not go unnoticed. When I look around Bradley County and see the progress, the solid management and the community you have been blessed to live in, I know you are proud of him.” — House Speaker Beth Harwell
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