The following political announcement is paid for by the candidate.
Mayor Chris Younger recently announced his candidacy for re-election as mayor of the City of Dyer. Younger was first elected in 2012 following two years as a member of the board of aldermen. He was re-elected to his second term in 2016.
Younger said, “Being mayor of the town I grew up in, the town where I fell in love with my wife, the town where I’ve raised my son, being mayor of Dyer is the greatest honor of my life.”
Younger is the son of the former Kay Barron and the grandson of Una and the late Eugene Barron.
“My grandfather told me that the greatest investment you can make is in your family, your friends, and your community, and that’s what I’ve tried to do as mayor,” Younger said.
During his two terms, Younger says he has accomplished much.
“My focus has always been on bettering Dyer, moving things forward, and trying to help the people that live here,” he said. It’s difficult, he says, to choose what he’s most proud of.
One of the first projects Younger undertook was to move City Hall back downtown.
“We were so grateful that the bank donated their former building,” Youngers said. “Having City Hall on Main Street means a major anchor for downtown, and it’s much more convenient for residents, especially with the drive-thru window, and we’re in the middle of a software upgrade right now that will soon allow residents to pay utility bills and property taxes online or over the phone.”
Said Younger of the last eight years, “There’s so much I’m proud of, so much I’m grateful for, from the park improvements and the work we’ve done to promote exercise and activity in our community, to the improvements in other community facilities like the VFW. I’m especially excited to cut the ribbon on our new, larger community center behind the junior high school.”
Younger has also pushed for improvements including a tennis court rehabilitation and new public basketball goals.
“If I’m re-elected, I want to include some of you, especially those of you with children, in developing a parks master plan; it’s been about a decade since our last large parks project, and we’ve got some resources and opportunities now that we didn’t have then. With some input from the community, I plan to develop some new park spaces for sports and play,” said Younger.
For several years, the city paid more than $40,000 annually to dispose of sludge from the wastewater plant.
“We were paying to have sludge hauled off and dumped in a landfill,” Youngers said. “It’s not good for the environment and it certainly wasn’t good for the budget. Working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and local ag producers, we developed a biosolids program. We’re saving tens of thousands of dollars and local farmers can use our treated sludge as fertilizer. It’s a win-win.”
Utility services are something everyone uses and any improvements benefit all residents, stressed Younger.
“We’ve completed a major water tank rehabilitation — without having to borrow any money,” he said. “We also converted all water meters to an electronic metering system — that increases accuracy and confidence in water billing and saves dozens of man hours a month.”
Strong partnerships in the community have made other community improvements possible.
“Our work with the Dyer Industrial Board has allowed us to begin to clean up downtown,” Younger said. “I’m so proud of the work we’ve been able to do so far, and we’re working toward rehab in other parts of the community.”
Younger announced recently that the City of Dyer had received a $500,000 THDA HOME grant. This is the second major HOME grant the city has had in the last eight years. Said Younger, “This grant will help the most vulnerable in Dyer stay in their homes; it’ll help stabilize our community.”
Still, there are many derelict properties in the city.
“We’re working with property owners to encourage them to maintain their property,” Younger said. “Code enforcement has been ramped up in the last several years. I have come to understand how important it is to respect a property owner’s rights while at the same time promoting neighborhood integrity — and a healthy respect for neighbors.”
Younger said that he understands what it’s like to search for a job, especially in a difficult economy. That’s why he’s worked with Jackson State Community College to bring adult education opportunities to Dyer.
“We’re a great community to live in with wonderful neighbors, and we want to do anything and everything we can to support people who want to live and work in Dyer,” he said.
In the coming weeks, Younger said, Delta Contracting will begin work on Main Street and other streets: “After several years of saving, we’re about to begin a major paving project. It’s my hope and plan that with some careful management, we can begin another major paving project in the next 24 to 36 months. We will, of course, continue to repair streets as needed. Along the way, I want to continue working on our aging drainage and sewer systems.”
Younger explained that he’s committed to public safety in Dyer.
“I think our Police and Fire Departments are some of the best in the state,” he said “For example, last year our fire department achieved an ISO rating of 3 — this will reduce insurance costs for everyone in our service area. I’m so grateful for the dedication of our firefighters and first responders; for modest pay, they answer the call every time the pager goes off. I’ve made sure they have the equipment and resources they need.”
Dyer’s Police and Fire Departments undergo extensive training, said Younger, “New technologies have allowed us to provide a broad base of training for our police, firefighters, and first responders. We truly have some of the best trained departments anywhere, and it shows.”
Younger explained his frustration trying to campaign during the pandemic.
“I want to stop by and say ‘hello’, but I also understand that right now, close, personal contact may not be the healthiest thing, especially for the vulnerable members of our community,” he said. Younger encouraged people to contact him with concerns, or just to catch up. “One of the things I love about campaign season is getting to make friends and renew friendships with so many of our neighbors.” He stressed that his door is always open; he’s only ever a phone call away.
“We’ve got some really exciting developments for Dyer right around the corner; I feel confident that if we continue to work together, there’s nowhere to go but up. I want to continue promoting commercial and industrial development — but rest assured that I also don’t want to lose the community feeling we have,” stressed Younger. Working closely with the Industrial Board as well as county and state economic development partners, Younger says good paying jobs are almost certainly coming to the community.
“I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m proud of the work we’re doing together. I appreciate your vote and support on Nov. 3,” said Younger.