The Jefferson County Standard Banner headline on December 29, 2009, reads: County Should Align Itself with Knox Area.
Jefferson County's Industrial Development Board hired an Atlanta consultant, Jay Garner, to assemble information and statistics about local economic development and to recommend ways to improve how county handles business recruitment and growth.
Garner's study notes that almost as many Jefferson Countians commute to Knoxville for work (5000) as Jefferson Countians who stay in the county for work (5353). Based on this greater "synergy" with Knoxville, Garner recommends that Jefferson County should try to be removed from the Morristown MSA (metropolitan statistical area) and seek to be included in the Knoxville MSA.
Garner also suggests that Jefferson County be a part of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley as an effort to bring high-tech jobs with good salaries to Jefferson County. According to Garner, Jefferson County's per capita income is currently $25,200---$8,000 below the state average.
Garner's 72-page report will be reviewed at the Industrial Board's January meeting.