Archive: September 2008

Archive: September 2008

Archive: September 2008

Unemployment down in August

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, released its August unemployment report in late September, and Haywood County’s rate dropped from 13.7 percent in July to 10.4 percent in August. In August 2007, the local unemployment rate was 8.2 percent.

Likewise, Tennessee’s rate dropped to 6.6 percent in August from 6.8 percent in July. The national unemployment rate is 6.1 percent.

All neighboring counties also saw decreases in unemployment rates. Crockett County’s rate went from 9.0 in July to 8.8 in August. Lauderdale County’s rate was 12.5 in August, down from 14.7 in July. Madison County dropped a tenth of a point in August to 6.8 percent, and Tipton County’s rate went from 8.0 in July to 7.8 in August. Shelby County’s rate also dropped only a tenth of a point to 7.2 percent. The only neighboring county that saw an increase was Fayette County. Its rate went from 7.5 in July to 7.6 in August.


To the voters of Haywood County, Tennessee:

Early Voting will be held October 15 – October 30
in the lobby of the Haywood County Courthouse

MONDAY – SATURDAY 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Thursday, October 16 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, October 18 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, October 21 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 23 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Requests to vote absentee by mail are due no later than
4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28.

Haywood County Election Commission
Courthouse – Lower Level
1 N. Washington Ave.
Brownsville, TN 38012

Ida Ruth Bradford, Chairperson Joan Banks, Secretary

Aubrey Bond Gene Campbell Andrea Smothers, Administrator of Elections Susan Ellis


Stanton receives historical marker

Stanton leaders on Sunday, September 28, accepted a historical sign for its community from members of the 2008 Leadership Haywood County class and the Brownsville-Haywood County Historical Society. Leadership class members raised the funds to purchase the sign, and Lynn Shaw of the historical society took care of the details and ordered the sign to match other historical markers in the county. The sign was erected in front of the town’s new library on Main Street. Pictured are (from left) Leadership Class members Rita Hathcock and Bob Scifres, Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith, Stanton Aldermen Alan Sterbinsky and Emma Delk.

Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards announced

Governor’s Volunteer Stars of the Year from Haywood County are Carolyn Flagg and Xavier Cole.

Recipients of the First Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars of the Year Awards have been announced for Haywood County. One youth and one adult from Haywood County have been selected to receive this prestigious award. The adult recipient is Carolyn Flagg, and the youth recipient is Xavier Cole.

According to a press release from Executive Director Jim Snell’s office, “Each exceptional Volunteer Star was chosen by their fellow county residents or county mayor for their innovative approach and generous commitment to improving their community.”

The awards celebrate the efforts of volunteers who strive to improve their communities through service. Nominees were judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.

Flagg and Cole will be honored and recognized at the First Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony on Monday, October 27, along with other Volunteer Stars from across the state. The ceremony will take place in the Tennessee Room of the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower in Nashville. Each recipient will receive an award and certificate of recognition from Governor Phil Bredesen proceeded by refreshments and photographs with the Governor. They will also be honored at the Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce banquet and during the Hatchie Fall Fest.

Local judge to serve on state commission

Judge J. Roland Reid

Judge J. Roland Reid, General Sessions and Juvenile Judge in Haywood County, was recently appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth as a member from the Southwest Region.

While making the announcement, Governor Bredesen said regarding Judge Reid, “In the thorough, aggressive search for candidates, your individual characteristics and professional qualifications were exceptional among the number of nominees who expressed interest. It is very important to me that our state boards and commissions are filled with the most dedicated citizens. I believe that your participation is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and its achievements.”

The appointment was effective July 23 and will run through June 30, 2011.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) is an independent state agency with a primary mission of advocacy for improving the quality of life for Tennessee children and families.

Judge Reid graduated from law school in 1986 and began practicing law in Jackson, Tennessee. He moved his practice to Brownsville in 1987. He has served as General Sessions and Juvenile Judge in Haywood County since 1993. One of his goals while serving on the commission is to try to obtain funding for much needed services in rural West Tennessee.

County discussing house-to-house garbage pick up

Leaders in county government said at the county commission’s monthly meeting, Monday, September 15, that a USDA grant and loan could pave the way for rural house-to-house garbage pick-up, maybe as early as next spring.

Eliminating the green boxes has been discussed for years, and now county commissioners may be nearing another vote on the matter. The county’s solid waste committee is expected to present a proposal next month.

When the county commission met this week, County Mayor Franklin Smith said the USDA has approved a $50,000 grant and a $300,000 loan that could supply enough money to purchase vehicles and other supplies needed to put the county into the rural pick-up business.

While the county commission took no action this week, Smith says he does expect to bring the issue to a vote next month, before the deadline expires for acceptance of the loan and grant. The mayor says he anticipates a plan providing residents with a 96-gallon rolling-cart container that will be picked up weekly. The containers would have to be placed at the roadside on a specific day each week. He also said early plans are to not raise the $15 monthly fee for “hopefully the rest of this fiscal year and maybe next.”

The mayor said that after the plan is formulated he will likely call at least one public hearing to discuss.

Government having trouble getting title to jail property

County Mayor Franklin Smith says that securing the old Wal-Mart property as a location for the new county jail has “turned into a much more complicated issue than I was led to believe.”

The problems stem from lease and financing agreements that the property’s owner has with Wal-Mart and banking firm Merrill Lynch. Complicating the issue is the recent purchase of Merrill by Bank of America.

Smith says he believes the problem will be resolved but not without some expense. Two Nashville law firms, one from Jackson, Wal-Mart’s lawyers and County Attorney Michael Banks are currently putting a plan together that may, ultimately, require the county to buy a $42,000 title insurance policy.

Smith says resolution is important because the county has spent about $500,000 on architects. The mayor said, “We walk away now and we’ve lost a half million dollars.”

Commissioner agree to let Lauderdale County in on recruiting plan

County Commissioners unanimously agreed to allow Ripley and Lauderdale County to participate in the newly organized Southwest Tennessee Economic Authority. The Authority was organized by Brownsville, Haywood County, Covington and Tipton County and has hired an executive director.

The Authority’s goal is industrial recruiting, and this week’s action widens the target territory and provides additional funding. Like the other governments involved, Ripley and Lauderdale County will provide $50,000 annually to the budget and the Ripley utility will contribute $15,000.

State funds for megasite routed through Industrial Board

Mayor Franklin Smith calls state government a “financial partner” in the county’s effort to establish an industrial megasite near Exit 42 on I-40.

The state has agreed to provide $3 million this year, and promises more funding as efforts are made to develop the parcel certified by TVA as practical for location of a giant manufacturer.

Mayor Smith says $1.8 million will be used to extend land options for another year and the balance will be used to pay for infrastructure.

Railroad issues still unresolved

Local governments haven’t made much progress resolving a moratorium ordered by the CSX railroad on new customers in Brownsville. The railroad’s lack of switching capacity here has caused the transportation company to say they will take no more customers here until the issue is resolved.

Mayor Franklin Smith and Mayor Webb Banks are continuing talks with the railroad, but have so far not reached resolution. Both mayors have said they expect taxpayers will have to help pay for some of the infrastructure needed by the railroad. Mayor Smith said this week that he has asked state government to become involved in the talks.

Smith and King lead commission

Mayor Franklin Smith was elected to a one-year term as Chairman of the Haywood County Commission this week. The commission also elected veteran commissioner Allen King as chairman pre-tempore.

Orange Carpet Tour visits Brownsville

Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joe Ing welcomes local dignitaries and distinguished visitors to a recent meeting of Governor Phil Bredesen’s “Orange Carpet Tour.” The program is designed to help rural communities attract industries to the area.

On September 4, members of Governor Phil Bredesen’s “Orange Carpet Tour” came to Brownsville to meet with local officials and outline their strategy for working with Haywood County.

The “Orange Carpet Tour” essentially is the reverse of a “Red Carpet” treatment shown to honor dignitaries for a variety of reasons. Bredesen’s version, however, brings in nationally-known and highly-regarded industrial and commercial site selection experts to acquaint them with development opportunities in Tennessee’s rural communities and to give the communities the opportunity to gather feedback from veteran business consultants.

Communities were chosen because they had demonstrated a willingness to work together on a regional basis. “At the end of this process, these communities will see how they are perceived by highly regarded site selection experts and how to use that knowledge to make themselves more competitive,” Bredesen said.

Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joe Ing said that Lauderdale and Haywood counties applied to be a part of this program. The Governor added Tipton County to make the third county from West Tennessee when he announced the winners on March 31 this year. Each of five regions in Tennessee has three counties representing its section, according to Ing.

Ing said that with this distinction, the county gets free community surveys done that would cost the city and county a lot of money otherwise. Meeting with Ing and the tour committee were Brownsville Mayor Webb Banks, Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith and Brownsville Utilities General Manager Regie Castellaw.

“Last week a group of site selectors from Plante/Moran Site Selectors of Southfield, Michigan, met with us at the Brownsville/Haywood County Chamber of Commerce offices to explain procedures they would be using to collect information for the report. They will give me a written report in three or four weeks time on what they found out. And with that report, the State of Tennessee will come in to help us correct what they say needs to be done,” Ing said. “This is to help us improve not just the community but our industrial prospects. We certainly are pleased with our selection the possibilities it offers.”

Leadership Haywood announces 2009 Class

John Ashworth Gemtraius Gem Bell Lisa Carlton
Mark Conway Greg Douglas Vicky Fawcett
Della Ligon Lisa Paris Elliott Simmons
Scott Stoots Alice Taylor  Ben Thornton
Marie Watkins Ivie Wheeler

The Trustees of Leadership Haywood County recently announced the members of the Class of 2009. This is the 16th class to undergo the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored program designed to heighten the awareness of community leaders, workers and volunteers about our strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities as a community. For the next eight months, class members will learn about economic development, law enforcement, quality of life, education, and local and state government issues, which affect everyday life in Brownsville, as well as take their place with over 200 Leadership Haywood County graduates to work together toward a better Brownsville and Haywood County.

Members of the Class of 2009 are John Ashworth, owner of Douglas Enterprises; Gemtraius “Gem” Bell, Haywood Company; Lisa Carlton, First State Bank; Rev. Mark Conway, Zion Baptist Church; Greg Douglass, Lasco Fittings; Vicky Fawcett, Brownsville States-Graphic; Della Ligon, First South Bank; Lisa Paris, CareAll Home Care; Elliott Simmons, Brownsville-Bells Funeral Homes; Scott Stoots, Tennessee Tractor, LLC; Alice Taylor, Insouth Bank; Ben Thornton, Brownsville Utilities Department; Marie Watkins, Haywood Company; and Ivie Wheeler, Dynametal Technologies.

New city retirement system promises more cash

A new retirement system will increase the cash city workers receive upon retirement. The new system carries with it new requirements for minimum time on the job and employee age. Brownsville Mayor Webb Banks and city alderman discussed this and other business at the September 9 meeting of the city board.

The city board unanimously adopted the policies recommended by Mayor Webb Banks and City Clerk Jerry Taylor.

The retirement system adopted this week requires a minimum of 25 years’ service to the city — workers aren’t fully vested until they’ve worked 30 years. The system also requires that public service employees (policemen and firemen) work until at least age 57. Other city workers must work until age 60.

Under the old plan city workers could expect to receive monthly payments equaling about 40 percent of the average of their last five years salary. The new plan pays 70 percent. The new plan also pays whatever health insurance benefits the retiree has maintained for his final five years at work.

City workers who retire after the minimum years of service but do not meet the age requirements can expect to be paid 40 percent of their salary and won’t receive any health insurance benefits.

The city will fully fund the plan with no contribution from the workers. Government will contribute 3.5 percent of the city’s total payroll to a private retirement fund managed via First South Bank. City Clerk Jerry Taylor said he expects that contribution to be “about $100,000 annually.” Taylor also said “depending on the interest rates” the fund might also become self-funding and not require annual payments.

The new system goes into effect July 1, 2009.

New noise ordinance more enforceable

City fathers beefed up Brownsville’s loud noise ordinance when they met on September 9. The action came after law enforcement complained that cases were being thrown out of city court because the old law required officers to present specific technical information about just how loud the noise was.

The new ordinance, which is aimed at vehicles playing loud music, adopts language from the state’s noise ordinance. It says, if “…the sound is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet or more…” the person is in violation.

The violation is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a $50 fine.

Warehouses required to have fewer parking spots

Parking lots may be smaller for warehouses being built in Brownsville. Aldermen and the mayor agreed with city planners that the old ordinance requiring one parking space per 500 square feet of building space required too many parking spots. The new rules state there must be “one parking space per employee per shift with the greatest number of employees.”

Park of dreams funded

City and county governments have been awarded a $175,000 grant for the Park of Dreams. The park, built especially for special needs children, will be constructed in Volunteer Park.

Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Cates said the grant, plus a $175,000 match contributed by city and county government and private contributors is enough to build the basic park, but more money is needed to add amenities envisioned by the parks’ founding board.

Hayden Hooper said promoters of the park have raised about $42,000, including an in-kind donation of $15,000 worth of concrete from B-T Redi Mix.

Brownsville Utility still lowest, but prices going up

Forced to pass along increases by suppliers, Brownsville’s Vice-Mayor Joe Taylor reported this week that prices for natural gas and electricity will increase October 1.

Residential utility customers in Brownsville will see their rates for electricity increase by 20 percent. Natural gas rates will be raised by just over 15 percent.

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