​Budget and Projects at the SUD Meeting

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Discussions about next year’s budget and the completion of construction projects were on the docket for the July meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners meeting.

The board determined that the most pressing project is replacing the water pump at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee before school starts back. Ben Beavers, general manager of the Sewanee Utility District (SUD), confirmed that there is enough money in the operating budget to cover the cost of a replacement.

On the topic of budget, board president Charlie Smith said within the next month, the plan is to begin the process of identifying what projects might be budget-dependent for next year. The board would like to pass the new budget in October.

During the next fiscal year, the board plans to earmark funds for several Capital Improvement Projects, totaling $100,000 to $120,000. Beavers said of the 227 fire hydrants on the Domain, there are 10 that need to be replaced and several more that need repairs. To replace one hydrant will cost SUD about $1,500.

“By the end of June, we’d inspected 96 of the 227 total hydrants. The inspection is completed. I am compiling a list of some of them that are in bad shape. We have more of the old ones than I thought. We are going to have to replace 10 hydrants that are obsolete,” he said. “Most of the hydrants that need replacing are out near Woodlands. Four hydrants still need to be tested. It is just a matter of getting out to them. Most of the ones that leaked are 40 years old and older.”

Beavers said in the next couple of years, the membranes at the water plant will need replacing, but with both performing well and registering 50 to 60 percent health, he said they would be solid for at least the next two years.

“All in all, it was a good, solid month. We’re about $70,000 total under budget,” he said. “We had 6.3 inches of rain in June, and that’s pretty normal. Even if it quit raining tomorrow, we’re not going to run out of water through the end of the year.”

The board has plans to conduct a review of rolling stock and equipment needs and to do a surplus in the next month.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 27.