On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the Council for Quality Growth, along with Cherokee County and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, hosted the 10th annual State of Cherokee County lunch, presented by Northside Hospital. The in-person event sold out its 240 seats with another 200+ views online. Chairman Harry B. Johnston delivered his State of the County Address, focusing on the successes of the past year among public safety, schools, parks, and healthcare. He addressed the need for infrastructure improvements and expansion among roads and water facilities. Cherokee County boasts the lowest tax burden per capita in the metro Atlanta region and the fourth lowest debt burden per capita. Chair Johnston has accredited much of the County’s success to the leveled population growth rate that has allowed for the economy, roads, schools, etc. to keep up and maintain the high quality of life for residents.
Johnston’s priorities for 2022 include finding a way to fund the much needed road improvements without going into great borrowed debt, creating good local job diversity, making housing attainable for the County’s workforce, and full collaboration between Cities and the County. “I truly believe we’re on the cusp of unified, all-cooperative management of the growth and development of this County,” said Chair Johnston, “it’ll be a ‘hallelujah’ moment for us when we can achieve that.”
Attendees also heard updates from the County’s School Superintendent, Dr. Brian Hightower, and President of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, Misti Martin. Dr. Hightower reported great numbers among students and teachers, with both graduation rates and teacher retention rates for the County over 90%. According to Hightower, the school district has made great progress paying off long-term debts, and the recent ESPLOST passed with 75% approval to fund the new Cherokee High School. Misti Martin continued the positive numbers, reporting a 23% growth rate in Cherokee County over the last year, including 142 million in new capital investments and 518 new jobs. Cherokee County is “emerging into a place you don’t have to leave anymore,” Martin said, referencing the decreased commuting workforce and addition of co-working spaces throughout the County.
Re-watch the full recording of the 2022 State of Cherokee here:
[Pictured: Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside Hospital Cherokee; Dr. Brian Hightower,
Superintendent of Cherokee County Schools; Misti Martin, President of the Cherokee
Office of Economic Development; Chairman Harry B. Johnston of the Cherokee County
Board of Commissioners; and Michael E. Paris, President & CEO of the Council for
[Chairman Harry B. Johnston delivering his State of Cherokee County Address]