"I try to put in words what he meant to this body," said Mayor Richard Hill. "He will be sorely missed."
Hill read a proclamation that listed all of Flatt's contributions to the board including his service on various committees. Hill recognized Jan. 14, 2013 as "John Flatt Day" in honor of Flatt's many achievements. Flatt was clearly humbled by the honor and the subsequent standing ovation he received from his fellow commissioners, but when he spoke, he spoke in the same clear, measured tone he is known for throughout the community.
"I loved my time on the county commission," said Flatt. "It was hard, it was tedious but I had wonderful teachers. My advice to the younger generation of commissioners is to listen. Speak your mind. Do the best you can at all times and always be honest."
"I want to thank the commissioners for the faith they have shown in me," said Armstrong. "We have a great school system and I want to continue being a part of that tradition."
In keeping with tradition, Hill called on Commissioner John Uitendaal, who is commissioner in District B, to recommend a replacement for Flatt. Uitendaal announced that he would like to nominate Dr. Brandon Dodds to serve the remainder of Flatt's term through August 2014. The nomination was seconded by Commissioner Jim Horner and approved without opposition.
After the nomination was approved, Dodds was called forward by Hill to take the oath of office.
"I have big shoes to fill and I pledge that I will do my best," said Dodds after taking the oath of office.
Dodds is no stranger to politics as he ran for governor of Tennessee in 2010. The owner of Dodds Eyecare in Newbern, Dodds' platform in 2010 included a firm stance on pro-life, judicial reform and a plan to fix the economy.
"We are an anomaly," said Durbin. "The data says we should not be doing as well as we are."
Durbin says that the credit goes to the teachers. Durbin noted that Dyer County has two great school systems, but to continue to maintain them at a high standard will take a lot of effort and change.
Magee thanked Durbin for his presentation and moved on to recognize Tim Campbell of the UT Extension Office. Campbell introduced Tim Smith, his counterpart in Obion County, who explained to the commissioners that they are looking for a site to build a new 4-H camp and multi-purpose facility. Smith elaborated that the facility is expected to be a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose conference resort, which could not only accommodate 4-H camps but also business meetings and conventions.
"This is an exciting opportunity," said Smith.
The funding for the project is coming from the University of Tennessee with the eventual partner expected to contribute a 10 percent match of UT's expected $37 million contribution. Smith commented to commissioners that he has already looked at several sites and three seem perfectly suited.
The ideal site would sit on 200 to 400 acres and would have a large body of water already on it, 60 to 70 acres in size. Smith also stressed the site should be centrally located in West Tennessee. Although he recognized Dyer County may not be centrally located it does have freeway and highway access to all areas of West Tennessee.
"It is going to be a tough sell," said Smith.
Smith said he is looking to move pretty quickly on the matter and any potential sites for consideration should be forwarded to him as soon as possible.
"I think we ought to make some kind of effort to show that we are interested," said Hill. "This could be a big economic boost if we were to get it."
Smith estimated that the multi-purpose complex would bring 10 to 20 year-round jobs as well as around 70 seasonal jobs.
Eddie Anderson spoke on behalf of the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce and asked that the commissioners endorse the effort beginning with a site located just north of I-155 that he believes would be well suited for the project.
Commissioner William Mallard moved that the commissioners authorize Hill to pursue the matter further. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Steve Moore and unanimously approved.
"Don't think of it as losing if Dyer County is not selected for this," said Smith. "Everyone is going to win in West Tennessee when this is built."
In other business:
* Commissioner Benny Spain presented several budget amendments for the commission's consideration. The amendments were unanimously approved by the commissioners on a motion by Spain and a second by Mallard. The amendments had previously been approved by the budget committee.
* Spain presented the Debt Obligation Report prepared by Director of Budgets Nancy Broadstone. Spain noted that the report was a formality that had to be filed with the state. The report was approved without opposition on a motion by Spain and a second by Uitendaal.
* A bond in the amount of $5,000 was approved for Constable Bobby Byrun Jr. on a motion by Spain and a second by Commissioner Kyle Reynolds. Byrun was elected constable of District H in the most recent election held in November.
* Road Superintendent Jeff Jones presented a resolution to transfer a truck from his department to the Dyer County School's maintenance shop, which was in need of one. The resolution was unanimously approved on a motion by Reynolds and a second by Moore.
* Hill presented a letter from Barker Brothers in Union City to the commissioners requesting permission to continue to perform curbside garbage collection in the county for the next five years. The request was approved without opposition on a motion by Uitendaal and a second by Commissioner Al Seward. Hill also noted that senior citizens would begin to receive a $3.65 discount on their monthly bill.
* Wally Childress was appointed to fill the remainder of his father's term on the Bogota Drainage Board after Don Childress passed away in November. The appointment was unanimously approved on a motion by Commissioner Rusty Grills and a second by Commissioner Jimmy Hester.
* Hill announced the re-appointment of the agriculture committee to two-year terms. The committee includes: Tommy Cross, Larry Joe Maupin, Uitendaal, Kathy McLean, Grills, Judy Long and Jeremiah Hollingsworth. The appointments were approved without opposition on a motion by Bradshaw-Hart and a second by Hester.