Carlotta Harrell brings diverse and extensive professional experience in her Consulting Services that she provides for her clients.
She currently, serves on the Henry County Water Authority Board for the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) which services over 55,000 customers. The Board just approved the 2015-2016 budget of $61 million dollars and we are proud to have been selected by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) as having the Best Tasting Drinking Water in Georgia. Carlotta also serves as Chief of Staff for Henry County Commissioner Bruce Holmes, District V. Acting as a strategic advisor, individually managing the day to day tasks and assigned duties and overseeing various projects on behalf of Commissioner Holmes. She was also the appointee to the SPLOST Committee which allocated funds for numerous projects countywide.
She provides Consulting Services to the Georgia Conference of Mayors, on various economic development projects including business and community development, housing initiatives, strategic organization and planning, budgeting and finance, infrastructure needs which has included water & sewer as well as road projects securing over $50 million in funding through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act. Since that time she has continued to assist rural and small urban communities with identifying funding resources and public private partnerships opportunities, utilizing relationships with federal agencies and corporate partners.
My top two policy priorities are Fully Funding Public Safety and Smart Quality Economic Development Growth with Transportation.
Public Safety:In addressing this issue the first thing I would do is meet with the Public Safety Department Heads and get their input and review any public safety studies that have been complied reference to this matter and start to prioritize how current county funds can be redirected to address high priority needs. The one plan that I have already put on the table is for Henry County to consider a one or two cent beer and wine tax that will be specifically utilized for Public Safety similar to a SPLOST or a Public Safety Tax.
Smart Quality Economic Development with Transportation Options:When homes, offices, stores, and civic buildings are near transit stations and close to each other, it is convenient to walk, bicycle, or take transit. This expanded transportation choice makes it easier to incorporate physical activity into daily routines, reduces transportation costs, and gives more freedom and mobility to our citizens.Transportation options have the power to shape development, influence property values, and determine a neighborhood's character and quality of life. In addition, transportation investments have important consequences for the environment, including air and water quality, climate change, and open space preservation. My plan is to work with the entities to create live, work, play, and stay communities in designate areas.
The biggest budget issue facing our county is revenue. The revenue issue can be addressed by having quality developments; attracting good businesses; improving the revenue and tax digest by balancing the residential and commercial tax base, currently 75% of revenue is based on residential and 25% on commercial that needs to chance to a 50% margin for both residential and commercial this will reduce what the county has to pay in services allowing that generated income to be utilized for fully funding other projects including public safety; working with state and federal agencies to assure allocated funding for infrastructure improvements; working in collaboration with the Atlanta Regional Commission and making sure we have a voice at the table representing Henry County's vision to move forward; make necessary improvements to the airport so that it can be utilized as an economic driver for Henry County while continuing to work with our partners in the area like the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In Georgia, there is no doubt that immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators play an important role. Immigrant entrepreneurs bring in additional revenue, create jobs, and contribute significantly to the state and local economy. Highly skilled immigrants are vital to the state’s innovation industries and to local governments, helping to boost local economies. Furthermore, local government, business, and non-profit leaders recognize the importance of immigrants in their communities. I would support immigration through local “welcoming” and integration initiatives working in collaboration with our One Henry Alliance Initiative and the Henry County Development Authority. Immigrants contribute to Georgia’s economic growth and competitiveness by earning degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields from the state’s research universities. Almost half of STEM graduates from the state’s research-intensive universities were foreign-born, and around 60 percent of graduates earning PhDs in engineering in Georgia were not born in the U.S. Georgia is home to many successful companies with at least one founder who was an immigrant or child of an immigrant, including well-known companies such as Home Depot and United Parcel Service. Those two companies together employ almost 730,000 people and bring in $125 billion in revenue each year.
We know we can reduce emissions of carbon pollution by cutting down on energy waste and developing cleaner, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. We can make our buildings much more energy efficient so that they’re demanding less energy from coal-fired power plants and continue our efforts on public transportation options so that more people can get where they’re going without using their cars at all. And we must reject new dirty energy projects that will make the problem even worse. Therefore, I would continue to work with and support initiatives that are in place on the State and Federal levels following the Clean Power Plan and put initiatives in place to address solutions from a county perspective.
I am a Civil Engineer and retired from Georgia Power as an External Affair Manager with more than 21 years of proven leadership and management experience. I am a proven fiscal agent of Operation & Maintenance Budgets up to approximately $100M and Capital Budgets up to $80M. I am noted for my great people skills, ability to adapt to diverse environments and personal responsibility for results. I am recognized as a community leader. Over the last 10 years, I have served on the Henry County Chamber of Commerce's (HCCC) Executive Board & am currently the Past Chair of the HCCC Board of Directors. I co-led the Henry County Economics & Education Task Force which secured funding for Henry County's Southern Crescent Technical College and College & Career Academy. I chaired the Southern Crescent Technical College Board of Directors and served as a Board Member of Piedmont Henry Hospital Board. I was one of the original Board Members of Communities In Schools of Henry and also served on the United Way Advisory Board for Henry County.
I was inspired to run for Chair of the Henry County Board of Commissioners from a profound message at church which challenged Christians to utilize their influence, leadership and other skills in top forms of government to bring about positive change in our communities.
If elected, the two top policy priorities that I would work to achieve results for are: 1) actively engage with District Commissioners, Municipal Representatives and other Henry County Intergovernmental Agencies to develop a short and long range Vision for Henry County to grow our tax digests, enhance our public safety and strengthen our traffic and fiber optics infrastructure. 2) Enhance any current policies, procedure and guidelines so that Henry County will be rated as one of the best counties for businesses based on our workforce, infrastructure, collaborative leadership and quality of life.
The biggest budget issue facing our county is the need to increase our General Fund (Budget) and Fund Balance (Reserves) to adequately provide the full range of services for now and over the next four years+ for public safety, infrastructure construction & maintenance and other general administrative and support departments and activities.
I would address these budget issues by working with the District Commissioners & County Manager to re-assess the county's assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, prioritize the current and future needs of the county and develop a future growth strategy. The strategy will be make Henry County the most admired to place to live, work, play and pray by increasing the General Fund through quality Community & Economic Development.
According to the 2008 Census estimates, Henry County is the 9th most populous county in Georgia with ever-changing demographics and a growing population. Henry County is also in a prime position considering our proximity to the largest airport in the world and to the Savannah Port. I will work within all of my power to collaborate with our Henry County Stakeholders for more economic prosperity and wellness to the county via professional services, high tech/high paying jobs, and high quality businesses. To achieve this strategy, Henry County must continue to include elected & appointed officials, business leaders and other stakeholders in the initiatives to move Henry County in a positive direction. I am in favor of quality businesses that will contribute to our local economy and compliment our quality of life. I am also a proponent of inclusive participation for common goals.
As a retired utility employee, I am an ambassador for cleaner air via reduction of power plant emissions, increased use of electric vehicles and more consumer energy efficiency.
In Henry County, I believe our biggest opportunity to reduce air pollution is to address our local traffic congestion and reduce vehicle idling. By seeking even more funding for road widening, traffic signalization and other transportation opportunities, Henry County will contribute to the the reduction of carbon pollution.
I am also in support of cost effective energy efficiency in new buildings and retrofits that could reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. These are considerations that would have to be considered as we also balance the county's general fund (budget).
Some of our Henry County communities already recognize Earth Day. Henry County has an opportunity to raise more awareness and develop more aggressive goals for clean air and other environmental improvement opportunities by creating more bike friendly and walking paths for our constituents and businesses.