- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 24 May 2001.
Marsh Pitner, Sr. obituary
- [S51] The Seymour Herald, (www.smokymountainherald.com), 27 Sep 2011.
Tensions mount as hunt drags on
By Ben Lawson
The recent move by Sevier County to temporarily extend the convenience center lease at Floyd’s Market is the latest avenue of debate in the ongoing hunt for a new site in Seymour.
After years of searching, the Governmental Operations Committee led by Commissioner Bill Oakes took a location on Bell Chapel Road before the county commission, only to withdraw it after very vocal resident complaints. With
the lease at Floyd’s set to expire, Seymour would be left without a center.
Although work was stepped up at the Boyd’s Creek Convenience Center to accommodate the extra burden, a last minute deal by the county mayor’s office led to Floyd’s remaining open. Now, the circumstances of that deal and where the search will go from here have sparked tension between the county and the Floyds.
“(Oakes) wants everything to go to Boyd’s Creek,” said Roger Floyd, owner of Floyd’s Market. “That won’t leave any dumpsters out this way.”
Floyd said that he had run the waste disposal site behind his market for 26 years with a lease from the county totaling $159 a month. While the county was responsible for collecting the refuse, Floyd’s son, Tyler Floyd, kept the site cleaned. The Floyds were allowed to keep any items they collected for resale.
When initial negotiations with the Floyds fell through, Assistant County Mayor Greg Patterson made a last minute offer of $500 a month for a further two month lease, plus a salary for Tyler Floyd amounting to just over $8 an hour. Floyd stressed that he did not ask for that amount, but accepted when it was offered in order to keep the site open.
Oakes saw things differently. He indicated that during the initial negotiations, the Floyds requested upping the lease to $1,000 a month for the next 10 years and a county wage plus benefits for Tyler Floyd.
“I asked if he was negotiable and he said no,” Oakes said. “It seems he has since become negotiable.”
While Floyd confirmed the original asking price for the lease, he insisted that a county job for Tyler was not part of the deal. Rather, that Tyler would be allowed to apply for it like anyone else. Those requests were eventually dropped altogether. That’s when Patterson made his 11th-hour pitch.
“(Patterson) offered to pay (the lease) and he offered to pay Tyler wages for those two months,” Floyd said.
The Floyds are pleased about the extended lease, owing to the problems that arose when the site’s closing was announced. Floyd acknowledged that the site brings in extra business to his market, which he stood to lose if the center closes. He also stressed the amount of criticism the closing drew.
“People really want it to stay there,” he said. “I had already just given up on it, but people just kept coming around.”
But keeping it around could become a trying exercise in negotiation. Oakes has been very vocal about the county’s desires to not only find a new site, but to provide Seymour with a convenience center that sets a new standard for cleanliness and efficiency.
Because the Floyds own the land, part of the responsibility for achieving that vision would fall to them.
“If they accept a job at a price, they should do the job at that price,” he said.
The county would provide new compactors that hold more trash and only need to be emptied once a day. The Floyds insist they welcome modernizing the site as long as it will keep the center open.
“I’m pretty sure this is one of the busiest sites they have, so I don’t think it would be very good to close this one,” Tyler Floyd said.
The future of the site will rest on further negotiations. To counter the idea that the site is not being properly maintained, the Floyds invited Oakes to return and view the site again. He didn’t indicate if he would, but felt the situation has gotten out of hand and hoped to get the discussion back on track.
On Monday, Roger Floyd received a letter formally inviting him to attend the next Governmental Operations Committee meeting on Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. He indicated that since it was in his best interest to do so, he would be at the meeting.
“If he wants to be a part of this new standard, that’s fine,” Oakes said. “If not, then we’ll leave friends and find another site.”