Historic SUD Election: Hughes and McBee Victorious
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
More candidates ran for election as Sewanee Utility District commissioner and more SUD customers voted in the recent election than ever before in the history of the utility. At the Jan. 25 meeting, commissioners Doug Cameron and Ronnie Hoosier counted the ballots. All five of the candidates made a good showing, but Johnny Hughes and Donnie McBee were the clear frontrunners. Each customer was allowed two votes, and of the more than 140 customers voting, over two-thirds cast a vote for Hughes and more than half voted for McBee. At the next meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 15, the board will elect officer and the two new commissioners will be sworn in.
Reporting on 2021 year-end finances, SUD manager Ben Beavers said the utility would finish the year approximately “$100,000 to the good,” but cautioned, “Prices are still going up.”
Cameron asked if the surplus would enable SUD to deal with the price increases.
“We won’t run out of money,” Beavers said. “But we may need to redo the budget.”
Beavers noted the utility still held “$80,000 in escrow I don’t foresee having to spend.” Law required SUD to put $194,000 in reserve to pay for moving water and sewer lines in conjunction with the project to narrow Highway 41A. Of that amount, $80,000 remains. The project is expected to come in under budget, but SUD must keep the money in escrow until the project is completed. [See Messenger, Oct. 22, 2021].
The University has verbally agreed to help offset SUD’s costs for the project. [See Messenger, November 19, 2021].
“We need to know the final cost before we talk to the University,” Cameron said.