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News- November-December 2008

 

Winners announced in BBS Holiday Decorating Contest

While activities were happening on the square and spectators were enjoying this year’s Christmas parade Saturday, December 6, 10 local businesses were competing in the Brownsville Business Association (BBA) Holiday Decorating Contest. Three merchants have been chosen to receive a cash award for their efforts in conveying the holiday spirit through window and storefront displays of lights and merchandise.

Merle Norman, 17 South Lafayette, is the winner of the $100 first place prize. Using the traditional Christmas colors and dressing up the window with special holiday merchandise, the display invites window shoppers inside for a look at festive gifts and home décor items perfect for the holidays.

Second place and $75 goes to Rayz Tanning Salon and Boutique, 19 South Lafayette. Rayz appeals to the child in all of us with the symbols of childhood spread out below a picture perfect Christmas tree. A frame of snow encircles the windows and draws the eye in for a closer look at all the fun stuff under the tree.

Lock, Stock and Barrel, 26 South Court, spared no expenses when it came to making Santa feel at home in a lighted wonderland of trees and reindeer. The whimsical scene, which won third place and $50, stretches throughout the store’s interior and invites those passing by to come inside and browse.

The BBA invites you to drive around this holiday season and enjoy the colorful and festive window displays. For a complete list of the businesses that participated in this year’s contest, visit www.allaboutbrownsville.net/bba. (Article and pictures are courtesy of Sonia Outlaw-Clark.)

(1st Place) Merle Norman is the first place winner of the BBA holiday Decorating Contest. Red, white and green dominate the window display and invites everyone to be of good cheer.

(2nd Place) Gazing through the snow-covered windows of Rayz Tanning Salon and Boutique lays the answer to any child’s dream - spread out underneath the Christmas tree. The traditional scene wins second place in this year’s BBA Holiday Decorating Contest.

(3rd Place) Traveling around the square, it’s easy to see Santa nestled among the lighted trees and reindeer at Lock Stock and Barrel, third-place winner in the BBA Holiday Decorating Contest.


City gets bigger

It was a virtual certainty that aldermen would approve the annexation of property south of I-40 at Exit 56 when they met this week — and they did.

Mayor Webb Banks has wanted to annex south of the interstate for years. He believes city services crossing I-40 will mean economic development. He’s mentioned a “strip mall” a number of times.

Tuesday night, aldermen approved the final reading of the ordinances that make the measure law.

The annexation also takes in a small tract north of I-40.


City to lower health insurance costs
Employees benefit, too

December 1, 2008

Talk about having your cake and eating it, too, a new healthcare insurance plan being adopted by city government means annual savings to taxpayers of 27%, and it actually increases benefits to employees. City Clerk Jerry Taylor and Mayor Webb Banks unveiled the new plan to aldermen during a special city board meeting Monday.

The new plan comes as the result of a request for bids for the city’s health insurance that expires at the end of this month.

Under the current plan employees pay a co-pay and are liable for a $750 annual deductible. Under the new plan employees must pay only a $250 annual deductible. While the policy actually provides a deductible of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families, the city picks up the difference between the employee’s portion ($250) and the actual deductible.

The current policy costs about $53,000 monthly. The new premium, beginning January 1, will be $39,099.85.


Unemployment rate unchanged
December 1, 2008

While in double-digits, Haywood County’s unemployment rate didn’t rise from September to October, according to the latest statistics published by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Haywood County’s unemployment rate stands at 11.2 percent.
Other area unemployment rates: Fayette County - 8.3 percent, Crockett County- 8.4 percent, Hardeman County 8.4 percent, Tipton County - 8.9 percent, and Lauderdale County - 14.5 percent.

Lauderdale County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state, bested only by Perry County where 17.4 percent of the workforce is jobless.

Williamson County has the lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent.


Land option cash to flow soon

State and local governments are about to write checks for $1.8 million to 19 landowner groups in Haywood County. County Mayor Franklin Smith reported during Monday night’s county commission meeting that almost all of the landowners in the so-called megasite territory near Exit 42 have signed on to the deal. Landowners with tracts in the “core” of the megasite will get 5% of the total purchase amount and transportation corridor owners will receive 2%. The options state the land will be purchased for $10,000 per acre.

This will be the second time government has purchased options on the land.

Mayor Smith says about $9,000 of the funds will come from local taxpayers; state government will fund the remainder.

Haywood County may soon have the only megasite left in Tennessee, according to Mayor Smith. He told county commissioners that an “announcement is forthcoming before Thanksgiving” about the megasite certified near Clarksville. He did not elaborate.

Criminal Justice Complex budget may be on target

Very preliminary figures are starting to become available from last week’s bid opening for the construction of the new criminal justice complex.

County Mayor Franklin Smith told county commissioners that “if I didn’t miss anything big” bid totals appear to be just over $8 million dollars. Add to that $1.8 million for the building and other fees including demolition and management fees, and, Smith believes, the project could come in under the $12 million budget.

The county’s building management company is analyzing bids developed from a 53-page bid document. Smith said Tuesday night that at least 100 contractors reviewed the bids, though not all provided bids.

The county has appropriated $15 million for the project. In addition to the criminal justice complex funds will be needed for renovation of the courthouse and the old jail. Smith says some of the money has also been used to fund the new construction at Memorial Field.

During Monday night’s county commission meeting Mayor Smith said he and lawyers are in the final stages of completing the acquisition of the old Wal-Mart property where the complex will be located.

Zoning appeals member reappointed

Emma Covington, a current member of the Board of Zoning Appeals has been reappointed. County Commissioners confirmed the appointment during their meeting Monday night. Covington will serve another four year term.


First “Holiday in Haywood” draws large crowd

Over 1,000 shoppers passed through the doors of the Wyatt-Duke National Guard Armory during the Holiday in Haywood event held November 14-16.

In the first of what is sure to become an annual event, Holiday in Haywood steadily attracted shoppers throughout the three-day market while local and area retailers showcased this year’s best gift items and ideas.

“We are very pleased with the turnout,” says coordinator Monica Bivens. “The community’s support has been tremendous and the vendors are already talking about next year.”

Children received a special treat Saturday afternoon when Santa made a guest appearance. In his first trip to Brownsville this year, Santa listened to requests and posed for pictures during his visit.

The Brownsville Business Association (BBA) sponsored the Holiday in Haywood event. For more information about the BBA, visit online at www.allaboutbrownsville.net/bba  or call 731-780-5144.


City to move border south of I-40

It’s no surprise that aldermen agreed with Mayor Webb Banks to annex a small but expensive tract south of I-40’s Exit 56. Aldermen gave the mayor approval during a city board meeting Tuesday, November 11.

Banks has dreamed of annexing south of the interstate for years. His hope is that city services, mostly utilities, will help entice more economic development at the already busy intersection.

The annexation also takes in the Shell gas station and convenience store on the north side of I-40. The station has been carved out of the city for years because it is licensed to sell beer. Since package beer is legal in the city now, aldermen agreed to take it in, too.

Now the mayor estimates it’ll cost $800,000 to run utilities under I-40, and the city is required to do the work in three to five years. Banks says he doesn’t know where the cash will come from, but hopes he’ll get help from state or federal grant funds.

The annexation requires two readings. It’s expected to be on the agenda for final meeting in December.

Other area development

Banks also said this week that developer David Hunt is moving forward with his plans to build a Hampton Inn north of Exit 56. The mayor says Perkins Restaurant is considering building near the Hampton Inn.

Local governments cut through industrial red tape

County and city governments have received a Certificate of Need (CON) for the new Windrow Road industrial park. The issuance means development can press forward and governments can borrow up to $15 million to create the needed infrastructure.

Mayor Webb Banks has commented numerous times, and did so again this week, that he doesn’t have plans to use the line of credit, but it is required for the CON.

Banks hopes governments can develop the park in stages as parcels are sold to new manufacturers.

Utility has charity idea

The Brownsville Energy Authority wants to Round Up — and that has nothing to do with weed control. At this week’s city board meeting, aldermen heard that BEA wants to offer its customers the option to round up to the next dollar their utility bills. The BEA will then contribute the money to charity.

It’s believed the program, called Round Up, will generate as much as $30,000 annually. It was suggested Tuesday night the money might be contributed to a local charity like the Mustard Seed. BEA will give the money to the city. City government will be in charge of disbursement to a charity.


School board to offer Director’s job to Marlon King

The Haywood County School Board met in special session Monday night, November 3, to select their top two candidates to fill the Director of Schools position vacated by George Chapman in August. But in a second vote, board members voted 4 to 1 to offer the position to Marlon King, a principal in Fayette County.

This action follows a week of scheduled visits with each candidate, meetings with school employees, public officials and with the public before their interviews each night.

Interviewed were Dr. Cedric Gray of Memphis, Dr. Brenda King of Nashville, Mr. Marlon King and Interim Director of Schools Doris Battle. On Saturday the board also held a community forum in which the public was invited to speak.

At the meeting Monday, Chairman Harold Garrett asked for discussion, then directors voted on their top two candidates. Dr. Gray received four votes, Mr. King four votes, and Mrs. Battle, two votes. Following another discussion, each board member voted for their number one candidate, and Mr. King received four votes to Mrs. Battle’s one vote.

The board also voted to authorize Mr. Garrett to offer the position and a compensation package to Mr. King.


Haywood County unemployment up in September

The Tennessee Department of Labor recently released the unemployment statistics for September, and Haywood’s rate increased from 10.4 percent in August to 11.3 in September. The county’s rate in September 2007 was 7.8 percent.

Across the state, rates increased in 84 counties, decreased in seven counties and remained the same in four counties.

In six neighboring counties, one rate remained the same, five increased. Crockett County held steady at 8.8 percent, and Fayette County saw an increase from 7.6 percent to 8.1. Lauderdale County’s rate went from 12.4 in August to 13.1 percent in September, and Tipton County’s rate increased from 7.8 percent to 8.2 percent. In Madison County, unemployment increased from 6.8 percent to 7.2 percent, and Shelby County’s rate went from 7.1 to 7.4 percent.

The state’s rate is 7.2 percent, up from 6.6 percent in August, and the national rate remained the same at 6.1 percent.


Two local Volunteers receive recognition

Carolyn Flagg and Xavier Cole came together for a photo session with Commissioner Jim Fyke who was the presenter of the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards in Nashville Monday, October 27. Carolyn Flagg was selected as Haywood County’s adult Volunteer of the Year and Xavier Cole, a ninth-grade student at Haywood High School, was the youth Volunteer of the Year


County receives recycling equipment grant

Governor Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke announced recently that 19 recycling equipment grants have been awarded for projects to help reduce landfill waste across Tennessee. These grants total more than $417,000, and Haywood County will receive one of them for $25,000.

The funds, along with a $7,178 match from the county, will be used to purchase a mobile shredding unit and replace a sorting conveyor belt that was destroyed in a previous fire. Clinton Neal is the Haywood County Solid Waste Department Director.

“I’m please we have a mechanism to help support waste reduction efforts for our counties,” Bredesen said. “This program plays an important role in our state’s strategy to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of solid waste that goes into landfills in Tennessee.”

Recycling equipment grants may be used to purchase equipment for new recycling programs, improve and expand the operation of an existing site or prepare recyclable materials for transport and marketing.


County Commission meets - dumpsters to stay

Haywood County will remain the only county in Tennessee using dumpsters as the primary collection point for garbage in rural parts of the county. According to County Mayor Franklin Smith there are about 100 dumpster locations.

Public opinion apparently swayed commissioners who voted Monday night, October 20, at the October County Commission meeting to keep the system.

The county commission’s solid waste committee sent a proposal to the commission recommending the system be replaced with house-to-house pickup.

Though only a handful of people showed up for a public hearing last week, the commission’s meeting room was packed Monday night with people mostly opposed to the recommendation.

Commissioners voted 11 to 7 to leave the system as is.

Criminal justice complex property issues settled

County Mayor Franklin Smith says issues that snarled progress on the new criminal justice complex have apparently been resolved.

The complex will be constructed within the old Wal-Mart building near the east city limits.

Transferring the property from the present owners to county government became problematic, but Mayor Smith says lawyers have worked out the issues and are providing documents allowing a four-year lease/purchase plan assuring taxpayers eventually get the deed. Smith said Monday night that plans are to open construction bids November 12 for the project estimated to cost about $15 million.

Highway department to expand

The Haywood County Highway Department will dip into its fund balance to pay $60,000 for a little over 11 acres located just north of its Dupree Street location.

The property will be used, according to discussion held Monday night, for the highway department’s cold-mix asphalt operation. The cold-mix operation is presently on property located near the old Kleer-Vu building.

TVA plant expanding-county gets funds

A gas-fired electricity-generating plant owned by TVA located near Nutbush is undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion.

Mayor Franklin Smith says Haywood County’s bank account will swell by a half-million dollars this fiscal year as a result.

TVA will pay the county “impact” fees during the construction. Smith says his understanding is that the county will receive $500,000 this year, next year and a “partial payment” in the following fiscal year. TVA pays the impact fees during the construction period expected to take 22 months.

Smith also said TVA has purchased from a private company another gas-fired generating plant located in Haywood County. Originally built by Enron and most recently owned by Duke Power, the Beech Grove Road plant is Haywood County’s largest property taxpayer. Smith said that under the terms of the purchase TVA, normally exempt from property taxes, will continue to pay the tax.

County wins CON

Haywood County and Brownsville have won the Certificate of Necessity needed to go forward with the new industrial park at Windrow Road and the bypass.

The CON was needed to properly fund the new park.


City board approves adding recruiting partner

Brownsville’s leaders at the October 14 city board meeting approved the addition of Ripley and Lauderdale County to a now-three county industrial recruiting organization. Ripley and Lauderdale County and its utilities will help fund the Southwest Tennessee Economic Development Authority originally organized by governments in Tipton and Haywood County.

The recruiting organization has hired Duane Laverty as its executive director. The focus is to bring jobs via industry to the territory. Lauderdale County, Ripley and utilities there will contribute $115,000 annually to the Authority’s budget.

King wants patrols increased

Brownsville Alderman Leon King, a retired state trooper, believes increasing police patrols in certain neighborhoods will help reduce crime. King’s comments came at Tuesday night’s city board meeting during a discussion about a shooting incident between police and an unknown gunman.

Mayor Webb Banks says he has viewed patrol car video of the incident and said it “makes me think even more of these young officers.” Nobody was hurt though up to 20 shots were fired.

King says there are several streets in his Ward, including those involved in the weekend shooting that would benefit from increased patrols. He says he’d like to see hourly patrols on select streets.

Mayor Webb Banks said he would study the recommendation.

City passes final reading of noise ordinance

Language in a new ordinance should give City Judge Jim Haywood greater ability to penalize those producing loud noise – mostly music, according to discussion held at recent city board meetings. Aldermen passed on final reading the ordinance making it more clear the definition of illegal noise. Mayor Banks says the city will strictly enforce this ordinance.

City will pay fees for Heritage Center expansion

Checks totaling about $15,000 will be sent to an engineering firm and the state for planning the expansion of the Delta Heritage Center. Aldermen approved a budget amendment this week making the cash available.

The Center is scheduled for a $300,000 expansion next year. Most of the funding will come from a grant.

County public hearing outlines new waste proposal

A handful of county residents and county commissioners showed up for a public hearing Tuesday night for a discussion about a proposal that could eliminate the “green box” system of waste collection in rural Haywood County. County commissioners will vote on the proposal when they meet next Monday night.

County Mayor Franklin Smith, who endorses the proposal, presented by a 4 to 2 vote by the solid waste committee, hosted Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith outlined the proposal

  • Eliminate the green boxes or dumpsters.
  • Smith outlined the proposal
  • Eliminate the green boxes or dumpsters.
  • Initiate house-to-house garbage pick up. Each rural address will get pick up one time weekly.
  • Each home will be provided a 96-gallon rolling garbage container that must be placed at the end of driveways on designated days.
  • “Two or three” crews will be employed by the county to do the work.
  • Garbage must be “bagged.”
  • At least until in the end of calendar 2009, charges will remain unchanged for rural garbage service.

Smith says Haywood County is the last county in the state still relying on the green boxes he calls “unsightly” and “uncontrolled.”

Start-up costs, which include the expense of the containers and machinery needed to accomplish the pick-up, will be paid for with a state grant and loan of about $350,000 and a county taxpayer match of $20,000. At Tuesday’s meeting response was mixed with some attendees, including county commissioners, expressing unhappiness with the proposal.

School board agrees to interview four candidates for director position

Four candidates will interview for the Haywood County Director of Schools position. The Haywood County Board of Education met Tuesday night, October 14, and received a final report from Dr. Tammy Grissom, Executive Director of the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA). The TSBA was hired by the board to do the preliminary search for the director position, and the board approved the report and recommendations presented by Dr. Grissom. Candidates recommended by the TSBA are Dr. Cedrick Gray, Principal of Lester Demonstration School in Memphis; Dr. Brenda King, Director, Human Resources Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools; Dr. Timothy Setterlund, principal Collierville High School; and Mrs. Doris Battle, Haywood County Interim Director of Schools.

The board also approved a schedule for the interview process that will run from October 27 through October 30. Each candidate will spend the day in Brownsville, touring the schools, meeting with principals and central office staff members, community leaders, faculty and staff members before the interview process begins at 5:45 each evening. Dr. Gray is scheduled for October 27; Dr. King, October 28; Dr. Setterlund, October 29; and Mrs. Battle, October 30. The candidates will also be available to meet the public at 5 p.m. each day until the interview session starts.

Following the interviews, board members set a called meeting on Monday, November 3, at 6 p.m. to consider and discuss each candidate before choosing the top two candidates. The board’s plans are to begin negotiations with their selected candidate on or before December 1, in order to fill the position by their target date of January 1, 2009.