​SUD Record Voter Turnout: Evans Elected Commissioner

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

In a neck-to-neck race with record voter turnout, the vote count at the Jan. 23 Sewanee Utility District (SUD) Commissioners’ meeting favored Paul Evans by a two-vote margin, electing Evans to a four-year term as SUD commissioner. Forty-four SUD customers cast ballots in the commissioner election, the highest voter turnout on record. In past commissioner elections, the highest voter turnout recorded was 28 votes. Evans will be sworn in at the next meeting on Feb. 27.
Turning to regular business, SUD Manager Ben Beavers presented a proposal from the engineering firm Robert G. Campbell and Associates for surveying, probing, design and related work in conjunction with replacing the deteriorating cast iron water lines on Florida and South Carolina avenues.
Beavers said the price quoted by the engineering firm, $20,000, was less than 8 percent of the estimated construction cost, the customary engineering rate. He cautioned the engineering probe on Florida Avenue might show more rock than expected. He identified three possible strategies for replacing the line depending on what the engineers’ assessment revealed: bursting the pipe and sliding a new pipe into the channel created, digging up the line and replacing it, or moving the line. Regardless of the technique, the line will be replaced to the far side of the customer meter and a new meter installed at SUD’s expense.
“We should have a pretty good idea what replacing the line will cost by the time we get to the bid process,” Beavers said. SUD hopes to combine the Florida and South Carolina projects, yielding an 8 to 15 percent savings, but Beavers will ask contractors to bid the jobs both separately and together.
The board approved the engineering proposal.
Commissioner Ronnie Hoosier raised a question regarding a SUD customer whose house burned. The customer moved to another home with well water, wanted to connect to SUD service, and asked if he could move the meter from the property at his former home site.
“The short answer is no,” Beavers said. When he first became manager, the board allowed a customer changing homes to move the meter “against my advice,” Beavers explained. “Once the meter is installed it becomes part of the property. That’s the generally accepted practice.”
No policy governs customer requests to move meters. Board President Charlie Smith said he tended to agree with Beavers, but a policy was needed.
“Choosing to move to a different house is different from being forced to move due to a fire,” Hoosier stressed, arguing for a policy that took into account natural disasters.
“People buying the property would expect a meter to be there because there’s a meter box,” observed Commissioner Art Hanson.
“I think we should discuss it more rather than just say ‘no,’” said Commissioner Randall Henley.
Beavers recommended that if the board approved the request, the customer should pay the tap fee cost of installing a meter, but waive the new service fees related to impact on the system since “the impact was already there.”
Beavers will research when the meter was installed and what fees were paid. Beavers will also consult with Tennessee Association of Utility Districts’ attorney Don Scholes to determine if any laws govern the practice of moving meters.
Pointing to the recent cold weather and frequent burst water lines, Beavers provided an overview of customers’ experience with SUD leak insurance through Dec. 31. From August when the policy went into effect, customers made 13 claims. The insurance company paid seven claims and denied two (a toilet running issue and a water heater leak); four claim are pending. No customers reported issues with the insurance company, Beavers said, and no customers opted out of carrying the policy. The insurance cost $1.30 per month with the average claim paid $240. SUD has incurred no cost for lost water. In the past, SUD absorbed half the cost of customer leaks.
2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May