Advisory Roundtable Recap: Henry County’s Carlotta Harrell

Henry County Advisory Roundtable Recap
September 20th, 2023
Speaker: Chairwoman Carlotta Harrell, Henry County Board of Commissioners

On Wednesday, September 20th, 2023, The Council welcomed Chairwoman Carlotta Harrell to September’s Advisory Roundtable for Henry County.

Rather than update today’s full house on the County’s current policies, Chairwoman Harrell highlighted their focuses for the future. Henry County’s financial picture is very strong: their bonds are rated AAA, their debt burden is very low, their FY23 fund balance recently added another $7mm, and their FY24 balance is on track to add another $7mm. As population growth expands the County’s tax base, the Board of Commissioners will further investments in its Housing Taskforce, mental health initiatives, and public safety.

Henry County’s Housing Taskforce was created to address problems in workforce housing, affordability, and homelessness. Having grown through industrial and manufacturing development, the community has many members that work in Henry County but cannot afford to live in it. Housing and rent supply remains low and limits affordability. To address this, County officials have changed ordinances to provide cluster housing and smaller lot sizes where manufacturing facilities or larger properties were previously zoned. Funding through Mighty Hero Homes and A Friend’s House will also help provide housing for veterans lacking resources and children aging out of foster care.

Mental health, another priority of the Board, is being addressed by the “Stepping Up” initiative. This resolution received unanimous approval and has established partnerships, but is seeking more funding. “Putting people in jail for an illness is not the answer,” said Chairwoman Harrell. A new Behavioral Health Program will be a key part of public safety efforts. The Board has also proposed a new Public Safety Complex to house a 911/EMA facility and real time crime center.

Thank you Carlotta for discussing your county’s development priorities, and thank you Falcon Design Consultants for sponsoring today’s event.