Arlington pledges $150K minimum for veterans’ home

Arlington, Tenn., town sealThe Town of Arlington agreed to front a minimum of $150,000 toward the West Tennessee Veterans Home at Monday’s meeting of the mayor and town board.

The board also agreed that if the community could raise $50,000 toward the cause, it would match that number.

That would bring the total donation for the city and community to $250,000.

The WTVH said in a June 25 work session that it needs to raise $11.5 million by July 2016 for the home. An Arlington site has already been chosen as the likeliest location.

The town’s monetary guarantee will set the precedent for other Shelby County municipalities’ giving.

Mayor Mike Wissman noted how important the project will be for the community, saying, “I think it’s a game changer for the town.”

The construction project is expected to provide 240 full-time jobs with a $7 million annual payroll.

New town administrator

The board also discussed at length the addition of a town administrator back to the town hall staff in the wake of Ed Haley’s departure to Millington a few months ago.

A town administrator operates like a city manager, keeping up with minutiae of day-to-day operations so the mayor and board can focus on the bigger picture.

“I’m a part-time mayor,” Wissman said. “Being a part-time mayor, you need someone here to run the day-to-day operations.”

One provision in the town’s municipal code made Wissman think twice about bringing on another town administrator quickly: As currently written in the town’s code, someone in this role can can hire or fire staff members without notifying the board.

The mayor was concerned about what might happen if a town administrator were to go rogue, firing staff members who, in the estimation of the board, were doing a perfectly fine job.

“This ordinance is 99 percent accurate,” Wissman said. But the one percent was glaring enough for him to voice his concern several times.

There will be a second reading on the matter at next month’s meeting. In routine board practices, items can be adjusted before the second and final reading.

In the meantime, Cathy Durant, town recorder/treasurer, is serving as interim town administrator.

Drainage work

The board approved Argo Construction Corporation to restore faulty drainage structures in the Summer Meadows Subdivision, a problem that was inherited by this board.

“We were cleaning up an easement that should have been put on there when the neighborhood was built, and it wasn’t ever put on there, ” said board member Jeff McKee. “The original design was a metal pipe rather than a concrete pipe. That metal pipe over the years failed, so we had to approve coming in, creating an easement and then doing the work [of fixing the pipe].”

In the words of fellow board member Harry McKee, it’s “an unfortunate thing, but we’ve got to do it.”

Zaxby’s location

The board approved the construction of a Zaxby’s restaurant on the north side of U.S. 70 east of Airline Road and the rezoning of an acre and a half of land from industrial to commercial in order to fit in with 10 other acres of commercial real estate.

Crime report

Lt. Terry Lomax of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office reported that there were no major upticks in crime in the town. He said the most popular time for crimes to occur is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and people should pay attention when their dogs bark late at night.

Otherwise, he commented, “It’s still a nice place to live.”

Editor’s note: This week we also published the first half of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office June report for Arlington. The remainder will be published in the July 16 issue.

June fire report

Fire chief David Franks reported that there were 71 total calls for the month of June, including the extrication of a mother from her car that crashed in front of Lakeland Town Hall.

He said there were no incidents on the Fourth of July with fireworks.

Written by Mac Trammell, special to the Express. Contact him at