A Nashville attorney has been hired by the DeKalb Utility District Board of Directors to assist their lawyer in representing them before the state's Utility Management Review Board in a rate review hearing.
The DUD board met Thursday in regular monthly session and retained the services of C. Dewey Branstetter, Jr. of Branstetter, Stranch, and Jennings PLLC of Nashville. He will be joining DUD attorney Keith Blair in handling legal issues pertaining to the matter.
The Utility Management Review Board, citing the lack of jurisdiction, decided in October that it would not consider a petition filed by concerned citizens and ratepayers on whether or not the DeKalb Utility District should build a water treatment plant. But the UMRB decided that it would act on the petitioners request for a DUD rate review.
A petition, signed by more than 1,000 persons was submitted to the Tennessee Comptroller and Utility Management Review Board in July asking for a state review of rates charged by the DUD and its plan of services including the proposed water treatment plant.
The UMRB met last month in Nashville and the issue regarding the petition and the DUD was tops on the agenda. During that meeting, the UMRB ruled that it had no jurisdiction to consider the petition as to the proposed water treatment plant. "On the jurisdictional issue only with regard to whether the UMRB has jurisdiction to consider the petition before it, the UMRB essentially approved a motion setting forth that they did not have jurisdiction on the question of whether or not DUD should be building a water treatment plant," said DUD attorney Keith Blair during the DeKalb Utility District's monthly board meeting in October.
But while the UMRB chose not to weigh in on the water plant issue itself, it did agreed to conduct a rate review. That hearing could be held in Smithville but no date has yet been set.
Meanwhile, in other business Thursday DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney asked whether the City of Smithville had submitted a new water contract proposal. DUD Manager Jon Foutch said none has yet been received.