Archive: January 2008
Senator Wilder hands out checks in the county
State Senator John Wilder visited Brownsville January 18 with grant checks that totaled $35,000 for city and county organizations. Pictured (from left) are Lt. Barry Diebold, Brownsville Police Department; Nancy Cates, Brownsville/Haywood County Parks and Recreation; County Mayor Franklin Smith; Senator John Wilder; Joe Taylor, City Alderman and Vice Mayor; and Bishop Will F. Boyd, representing the Brownsville-Haywood County Community Action Organization.
State Senator John Wilder was in Brownsville in January handing out state grant funds for operations within the county. The funds are to be used by county and local governments, as well as local non-profit organizations for much-needed improvements to operations. Senator Wilder presented the grants in a ceremony on Friday, January 18, at the Haywood County Courthouse.
“Our communities are filled with hardworking people that are dedicated to improving our community,” Wilder said. “I’m happy that I can do my part to provide them with the resources they need in order to expand their services.”
The grant comes as part of the Community Enhancement Grant Program, a $20-million program initiated by the Tennessee General Assembly during its last session. CEG grants are intended to provide financial assistance to worthy community and non-profit organizations.
In Haywood County, Wilder has secured a grant in the amount of $20,000 for the city of Brownsville Police Department and a $5,000 grant for the Brownsville/Haywood County Parks and Recreation. Another grant of $5,000 will also go to Brownsville-Haywood County Community Action Organization, and the Town of Stanton will receive $5,000.
“These groups all do good work for our communities,” Wilder said. “The least State government can do is give them some help to ensure they continue providing quality services.”
More discussion on criminal justice complex site selection
When the county commission met January 22, Jail Committee Chairman Brad Bishop reported what most attending the meeting already knew. The committee hasn’t made a decision on where to locate the proposed criminal justice complex. Complicating the committee’s work is new information and at least one protest.
Old jail site
Lawyers with the County Technical Advisory Service, CTAS, have written County Mayor Franklin Smith saying that locating the courts outside the city limits at the old jail location is illegal. CTAS lawyers state the selection will make Haywood County a “test case.” Smith also reported that CTAS doesn’t believe a Private Act, as has been discussed, will solve the problem. The mayor told commissioners, “Its not legal unless the city annexes.”
Old Wal-Mart and further south on the bypass
Jail Committee Chairman Brad Bishop says the 15-plus million price tag for the old Wal-Mart location is, in his opinion, “not feasible.”
Church leaders at Mercer Baptist Church don’t like a third option for location on the bypass near their church and the county highway department. Rev. Wilbert Atkins says his congregation opposes the site. He says having a jail across the street from his church projects a “bad image.”
Jail committee’s power reduced
Last fall county commissioners passed a measure allowing the jail committee to make the final site selection for the new criminal justice complex. Though there was no vote rescinding that power when the commission met January 22, there seemed to be agreement that the committee will now recommend and not actually select the site.
New court costs
Get in serious trouble – plan on paying additional court cost in Haywood County. The county commission tacked on an extra $45 court cost that will apply to select criminal cases heard in General Sessions court. The commission took the action during a meeting January 22. The money will go directly to help fund the child advocacy services for the Carl Perkins Center. There was no estimate of how much money the new fee may raise.
Rural water could get new tank
The county applied for funds that could build a $700,000- plus water tank north of Brownsville. The tank is needed for the growing rural water system.
A CDBG grant of a half million dollars could fund part of the cost. A $200,000-plus grant and loan from USDA could fund the balance. County commissioners, when they met January 22, authorized county leaders to apply for the money.
County taxpayers to help Stanton
County commissioners, during their January meeting, agreed to provide up to $40,000 to the city of Stanton. The city is asking for the money to fund a welcome center at Stanton.
City Alderman Allan Sterbinsky said the center is part of Stanton’s efforts at revitalization and critical, Stanton leaders believe, to help lure a company to the mega-site.
WILDER, NAIFEH, BREDESEN ANNOUNCE CDBG GRANT FOR BROWNSVILLE
State Senator John Wilder, State House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, Governor Phil Bredesen, and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber recently approved a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to improve both wastewater treatment facilities in Brownsville in Haywood County.
“I’m very pleased the state of Tennessee can offer this financial assistance to Brownsville for the improvement of their wastewater treatment facilities,” Bredesen said. “The types of infrastructure repair and modernization projects funded by Community Development Block Grants benefit and boost development at the local level and lead to the continued improvement of our state’s economic health.”
“Our community deserves congratulations for working together to secure this grant,” Wilder said. “Community development is impossible without teamwork, and this award is evidence that Brownsville understands that need for cooperation.”
Funding for the $575,000 project will include $75,000 in local funds. The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. The grants were approved by the ECD Loan and Grant Committee following an application by each county.
“CDBG grants offer needed support to communities at the most basic levels of infrastructure, including well-kept roads and effective water and sewer facilities,” Kisber said. “ECD is pleased to lend its support to this program that is so essential to the progress of communities across the state.”
The grant was approved following an application by the City of Brownsville and has the support of Wilder, Naifeh, and Mayor Webb F. Banks. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Bob Corker and Congressman John Tanner aided in securing the funds.
“To see the fruits of a concerted effort toward development in Brownsville is truly encouraging,” Naifeh said. “This CDBG grant represents a significant step of progress in the economic potential of our community.”
Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Mayors list goals and priorities for 2008
Mayor Webb Banks
Mayor Franklin Smith
Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith and Brownsville Mayor Webb Banks have each set their goals for 2008, and many are joint ventures that both county and city governments will share.
Goals and Priorities for Haywood County
- The selection of a site and design for the criminal justice center and the beginning of construction.
- Name a metro government study committee so they can begin their work
- Continue with efforts to develop the mega site and locate industry
- Create a master plan for the development of the newly purchased industrial park site
- Continue to make county government more responsive to the citizen’s needs
- Continue working with the medical community, including local medical providers and Haywood Park Community Hospital, to strengthen hospital operations in the community.
Goals and Priorities for Brownsville
- Make law enforcement more proactive in order to reduce crime rate
- Develop the new industrial park
- Continue to recruit industry for area industrial sites, including the old industrial park, the new park on the bypass, the distribution center on Anderson Avenue, and the mega site, in order to provide more and better paying jobs in the community
- Intensify efforts to bring new retail to the area
- Implement regional industrial recruitment efforts
- Conduct a study to determine the feasibility of a large lake
- Institute new safety programs in the city and county workplace
- Establish a program to do major renovation of city streets (Banks noted that the city is anticipating a $320,000 grant with a city match of $80,000 to meet this goal)
- Continue the city’s Crash Reduction Program
- Work with builders to construct more single-family affordable homes
- Work with the study group to determine the feasibility of a metro government
- Strengthen Haywood Park Community Hospital’s operation to insure its continuation of service in this community
City joins SWTDA
Tuesday night, January 8, Brownsville’s Board of Mayor and Alderman authorized Mayor Webb Banks to sign an Interlocal Agreement that paves the way for a high-powered industrial recruiting effort.
The action is the final step in formation of the Southwest Tennessee Development Authority, a joint industrial recruiting operation funded by Brownsville, Haywood and Tipton County, Covington’s city government and three utilities, including Brownsville Utility and Southwest.
Mayor Banks said the other entities have already signed the agreement. Next the group will be hiring an executive who will spearhead the drive for new industry. In focus is the megasite, which is positioned near the Haywood/Tipton and Fayette County Lines.
“Governor Bredesen and Matt Kisber are tickled to death with this plan,” Mayor Webb Banks said. Banks said the Authority might be the first of its type in the state.
Development begins on new industrial park
Aldermen also completed the annexation and rezoning of tracts that will become the community’s new industrial park. The 500-acre tract is located at Windrow Road and the bypass.
Mayor Banks said planners will now begin the process of developing the park which includes widening Windrow Road, building roads within the park and laying off 25-acre blocks.
Codes adoption ensures low fire insurance rates
Moving to preserve the city’s low fire insurance rates, aldermen adopted the 2006 International Building Codes. The adoption, city officials say, comes at the insistence of the Insurance Services Offices. ISO regulates insurance rates in Tennessee.
In other business, Aldermen passed final reading of an ordinance that significantly hikes sewer and water rates. The rate increase is needed, according to utility managers, because of capital expenditures for planned infrastructure improvement. Utility department executives say the rate increase won’t be seriously felt because of the lowering of rates on electricity.
Aldermen and the mayor avoided hot-button issues related to proposed new ordinances regulating vicious dogs and the number of pets Brownsvillians may own but the mayor said he is nearing completion of new language that he’s likely to introduce next month.
Haywood continues to enjoy low unemployment
The Tennessee Department of Employment Security December 27 released November 2007 unemployment statistics.
Seven-point-eight percent of workers were unemployed in Haywood County. That compares to 7.1percent a month ago and 7.5 percent a year ago. Other counties of interest include Tipton at 5.1 percent, Crockett at 6 percent, Fayette at 7.9 percent and Hardeman at 8.1 percent.
In Tennessee 4.9 percent of workers are out of work. The national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.