Should the county commission take a stand, either for or against, a proposal by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water plant?
Fifth district county commissioner Jerry Adcock raised the issue during Monday night's county commission meeting. But County Mayor Mike Foster was less than enthusiastic with the idea, telling Adcock that the county commission really has no control over the DUD board of directors.
The following is the exchange between Adcock and Foster.
Adcock: "I know that they (DUD board) have already made up their mind but I think the commission should either say we're for it or against it. The people should at least know where we stand"
Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them"
Adcock: "I don't like the idea that five people (DUD board) can make up their mind and apply for federal grants through us (county) and then don't do what we want"
Foster: "We have absolutely no control over them other than appointing them by the statute"
Adcock: "Can we appoint them who they want us to appoint?"
Foster:"There are some options under that. I don't particularly like the system. A few years ago, we only had one representative (from DeKalb County on DUD board) and had five thousand meters, and we got it (county's membership on DUD board) increased to three (by state legislation)"
Adcock: "This to me sounds like when DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, a few years ago wanted to go public. They (DUD) are cramming something down people's throats that they don't want. I feel like if these people (DUD board members) were elected by the people who have the (water) taps, they would answer more to the people"
Foster: "I agree with you in theory, but its moot"
Adcock: "Could we ask the state to approve that?"
Foster:"No, we can't because they are not going to do it. I think (County Attorney) Hilton (Conger) can tell you that the utility districts are very, very strong and they control what goes on in their districts. We have no say so over it"
Adcock: "Kind of like a dictatorship"?
Conger: "They just have a strong lobby in the state legislature"
Foster: "I somewhat agree with you, but its not going to happen"
Adcock: "I just don't like the idea of this plant getting shoved down everybody's throat. They've already got everything set up. They know where the land is (to build the plant)"
Foster: "This has been going on (in planning stages) for ten years. I know it started in 2002 when I first got here, it was going on. They (DUD) have had public meetings and they have done everything they are supposed to do."
Adcock: "They don't listen to the people. Alright, I just got my say in"
The county commission took no action on the matter.
The DeKalb Utility District serves parts of a four county area, DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson.
Members of the DUD board are Roger Turney, Chairman, from Auburntown; Joe Foutch, Jimmy Womack, and Hugh Washer all from DeKalb County, and Danny Bass from Smith County.
Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new Raw Water Intake, Raw Water Transmission Line, Water Treatment Plant and distribution system improvements. The proposed plant will be constructed near Holmes Creek Road and will have a capacity of three million gallons per day. The intake will be on Center Hill Lake, the Transmission Line along Holmes Creek Road and distribution lines will be along Allen's Chapel, Game Ridge, Turner, South Tittsworth, and Big Rock Roads, and Wheeler Lane.
The DUD will receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 to fund construction of the water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility will be funded through a bond issue.
The DUD board will meet in special session on Thursday, May 24 at 3:00 p.m. at the district offices located at 191 Tiger Drive, Smithville. The board expects to consider a resolution for the authorization and issuance of not to exceed $9-million 250-thousand dollars in aggregate principal amount of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds, and will consider any other matters that may properly come before the board.