Archive: June 2007
Mayoral salary likely to attract better candidates
Brownsville’s next mayor isn’t likely to be Webb Banks. And the next mayor is going to be paid a lot more than Webb Banks.
Mayor Banks won approval for a hefty mayor pay increase when the city board met June 12.
Banks proposed that when the next mayor’s term begins in July 2010 the office-holder be paid $75,000 per year. The current salary is $55,000.
Banks was quick to point out that he’s not setting the salary for himself because he says, “I do not plan on running … it’s certainly not for me.”
The city charter only allows mayoral pay hikes at the beginning of a mayor’s term.
Banks says higher pay is more likely to bring out better candidates.
Leaders want residents happy with name change
Aldermen delayed a recommendation from the Brownsville Planning Commission that Elizabeth Street be renamed. The action came when the city board met June 12.
Elizabeth Street property owners, led by Mark and Margaret Dyer, want the name changed to Lincoln Street and Madison Avenue.
The Dyers told the board changing the name will help improve the neighborhood’s not-so-favorable reputation.
The Dyers say huge capital improvements to property on the streets have made the difference.
Aldermen expressed concern about the costs and hassles associated with the name change, especially for residents. Alderman John Simmons, who is the elected official for the ward Elizabeth Street is in, and Alderman Leon King said they will visit the neighborhood and talk to residents before voting on the issue.
The name change is likely to be revisited at the July meeting of the city board.
County unemployment historically low
The April 2007 unemployment statistics released by the Tennessee Department of Employment Security report Haywood County’s unemployment at historical lows.
In Haywood County the unemployment rate is 5.1%. That’s down from 6.2% a month earlier.
Neighboring counties also reported similarly good employment news, including Fayette at 4.5%, Tipton at 4.7% and Crockett and Hardeman counties at 5.4%.
According to the state, the unemployment rate increased in just one Tennessee county in April, remained the same in one and decreased in the remaining 93.
For a complete look at the state’s unemployment figures, go to http://www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/news/april2007county.htm.
Haywood County Commission meets May 29
Jail decision growing closer
County government’s timeline for deciding what to do with our jail is running on schedule. Jail committee chairman Brad Bishop reported to the Haywood County Commission when they met May 29.
Bishop said the committee plans to make a recommendation to commissioners next month after a public hearing scheduled a week earlier.
Because the state says fix the aging facility or risk decertification, leaders have only three real choices; a $5.9 million renovation to the existing building, a $7.2 million dollar new jail or a $12 million-plus criminal justice complex.
County Mayor Franklin Smith says there is new pressure, too. The jail inspector who, in August of 2004, first threatened to decertify our jail, has just issued a three-page report – finding more problems than ever. Right now, Smith says, the jail remains certified.
The mayor told commissioners that the cost of the jail almost certainly means a tax increase, “This means an increase in the property tax or wheel tax or a combination…”
The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 June 11. The county commission will hear the committee’s recommendation June 18, and they’ll be asked to vote on the recommendation when they meet in July.
Commissioners adopt ethics policy
Like Brownsville’s government, county government has adopted an ethics policy. A new state law requires the policy and, May 29, the commission adopted the County Technical Advisory Services model policy. Among other things the policy requires the county to appoint a five-member ethics panel.
Mayor reports on mega-site
Mayor Franklin Smith told county commissioners that there are companies looking for megasites, but there are no “hot” prospects for our mega-site at the moment.
Smith says he has appealed to the Fayette County Commission, asking for support of the project.
The Haywood County’s mega-site is certified by TVA and encompasses about 5,000 acres near I-40’s Exit 42. (See more information by clicking on the mega-site link found on our home page.)
Anti-litter grant application
County commissioners have authorized Mayor Franklin Smith to apply for a $27,000 anti-litter grant. The grant funds come from the state.
Smith says the grant is awarded annually and “pays for about half” what it costs to clean up around rural green boxes.
The solid waste department spends about $4,000 of the cash annually on education and advertising.