BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (March 9) — During the regular monthly meeting of the Greenfield City Board on Tuesday, March 9, members received an update regarding the status of local economic development efforts.
Economic Development Update
Weakley County Economic Development Director Shelby Spurgeon said, “We’ve started a remote workers program with Tennessee Valley Authority. The pilot program is for anybody living in Weakley County. People, who can’t find jobs in Weakley County, can find a remote job, while still living in the county, by applying on our website.”
Spurgeon stated, for the next couple of months, she’ll be working on the county’s Three-Star certification. “Three-Star certification plays an important role in the development of our county, because only cities and counties that are active participants in the Three-Star Program are eligible to participate in other select Economic and Community Development rural and community development programs,” she said. “The Three-Star certification is required to apply for certain grants.” She noted, for the past several years, Chamber Director Barbara Virgin has been working on the Three-Star Program, but it’s now Spurgeon’s responsibility.
She stated city board members might wish to attend upcoming meetings to discuss the county’s strengths and weakness.
Spurgeon said her office is working with the School System and Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board to implement a training program teaching students soft skills, such as interviewing, small talk and filling out applications.
“We’re also going to have an industry panel so students can see what jobs are available in Weakley County,” she said. “When talking with our industries, they say some of the biggest shortcomings of their employees, include filling out applications, showing up to work on time. All middle school and high school students will be receiving this training. We’re hoping, after this year, it will be an annual thing.”
In reference to industrial parks, Spurgeon said, “In order to recruit industry, we need to have something to sell. We’re working with TVA and the State of Tennessee to identify even more property here in Weakley County.”
To help industrial prospects and job seekers locate industrial parks, she said, “We’re working with TVA to hopefully get three new industrial park signs for the cities of Dresden, Greenfield and Martin.” She stated the signs would have a list of industries located in each city.
“We utilize TVA sites to list our industrial sites,” Spurgeon said. She stated the web page would have links to the individual municipal sites, and list properties for possible industrial development.
Spurgeon stated, during the pandemic, the State of Tennessee didn’t get a lot of RFIs (Requests For Information) for industrial sites. “Companies weren’t looking to expand or relocate during a global pandemic,” she said. “We’re starting to see more and more of them come in, but a lot of them are just for buildings and small acreage sites.”
Regarding the Greenfield Pentecost property, she said, “We have an option on the Larry Pentecost site, which is adjacent to our current industrial park.” She stated the site is approximately 91 acres, and the city already owns 25 acres at that location.” Spurgeon mentioned, within the past couple of years, all of the due diligence studies were completed. “We received about $60,000 in grant money, so the city didn’t have to pay to have that done.” She explained, unless a due diligence study is completed on a site, industrial prospects won’t even consider it. “The study was completed and all of the reports came back great.” However, Spurgeon stated the city was not awarded a grant it applied for to help cover the cost of purchasing the property. She noted another grant was submitted in 2021, which, if awarded, will provide for 80 percent of the cost, leaving the city to pay the remaining 20 percent.
To keep board members informed, Spurgeon provided them with her card and asked them to contact her with any questions they may have.
For more information visit their website at https://www.wcedb.com/.
Sales Tax Collections Increase in February
Greenfield Mayor Cindy McAdams reported local sales tax collections for February were $29,733.26, which is an increase of $3,626.96 over the previous month’s local tax receipts of $26,106.30. She noted, during the same period, state taxes amounted to $24,255.89, which is $6,396.12 more than the prior month. Tax collections from local and state sources for the month of February combined total $53,989.15. This amounts to an overall increase of $10,023.08 in tax collections.
Chief Dudley informed the board Greenfield Fire Department received approximately $38,000 in grant funding from Weakley County for fire and EMS communications, with $4,200 provided by the City of Greenfield for its portion of the grant.
Water and Street Department Supervisor Robert Rodriguez said, “We have a sewer cap that’s broken right in the center of Hwy 54, and we do not have the equipment to fix it. I got a contractor to give me a bid on it.” He stated, since his department is going to do the blacktopping, the job will cost $3,250 less, leaving a total of $15,000 for the contracted portion of the work. “It’s something we need to do, because it’s backing up in a nearby yard.
Rodriguez added, the bid price is figured for a single day’s work. But the price may be less, if the job can be completed in half-a-day.
Work is planned to repair a sewer cap along Highway 54 in Greenfield. An exact date hasn’t been determined, but the work is estimated to take place within the next week. The Greenfield City Board voted Tuesday night to approve up to $15,000 dollars for the emergency repair work. A lane restriction will be in place, with tractor-trailers having to detour around the section where the work will be done. Once an exact date has been confirmed, Greenfield City Recorder Callie Smithson will release more information.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton said, “Under the city’s bid policy, if it is considered a true emergency situation, such as a threat to health, safety or welfare, the board may take action outside the bid policy, providing the matter is brought to the board at the first available convenience, in order to approve an expenditure, as necessary. Since the bid process, in this case, would take a long time, and the sewers are backing up, such expenditure is justifiable.
Additionally, Pemberton said, “With sewage backing up, we run the risk of being penalized by the Water and Wastewater Board and Department of Environment for an active sewage spill, unless we take steps to remediate the situation.”
Alderman Thomas Tansil asked if other companies were contacted and offered the opportunity to bid on making the needed repairs.
Rodriguez stated he contacted two other firms, but they were not interested in doing such a small job.
The board agreed to inform the public concerning the temporary road closure, once a date is set for the job, which the contractor estimates will take place within the week. Rodriguez stated his department and TDOT would assist with detouring traffic while the repairs are being made.
After hearing from Rodriguez and Pemberton, the board unanimously approved up to $15,000 for the emergency sewer repair work.
Greenfield Police Chief Joey Radford stated Crestview Motors in Gleason is in the process of installing a remanufactured Jasper engine in a police vehicle. The total cost for materials and labor amount to $5,211.50. Crestview provides an 18-month or 100,000-mile warranty.
In other business, Chief Radford stated he would look into a report of abandoned vehicles at a couple of local residences.
Parks and Recreation Director Kirk McCartney said, “We’ve completed our baseball and softball signups, and we’ve come up with four T-ball teams. We’re going to start practicing Monday, March 15, start playing April 19, and play through June 4. Tournaments will start two weeks after that.”
McCartney said players will sell sodas again this year as a fundraiser.
McCartney reported work on the restrooms at the park was hindered due to weather, but would resume soon.
Weakley County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Virgin stated, although COVID-19 has restricted a lot of activities, there are still some events in the works. She announced the Chamber Golf Tournament would be held Thursday, May 13. However, some of the larger events had to be cancelled because of COVID-19, including the Chamber Awards Banquet.
For more information about chamber events, check out their Facebook page, or visit their website at http://www.weakleycountychamber.com
In announcements, Mayor McAdams mentioned a friendly competition between Greenfield and Dresden to attract blood donors, dubbed “Battle of the Bloods,” was very successful. She stated, since Greenfield had the most blood donations, the city received a trophy. However, because Dresden received fewer blood donations, Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn would get a pie in the face during the presentation. “We appreciate everybody who gave blood,” Mayor McAdams said.