​SUD Waterline Replacement Almost Complete; Candidate Slate Approved

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 18 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District (SUD) Board of Commissioners, the board reviewed SUD manager Ben Beavers’ update on the extensive waterline replacement project. The board also approved a slate of candidates for the upcoming commissioners’ election.
In midsummer, SUD undertook replacement of the aging, constricted cast iron waterlines on Florida Avenue, South and North Carolina Avenues, and Clara’s Point Road. Some of the lines had been in service since the 1920s. All the replaced lines have been inspected and sanitized except for a 140-foot segment on Clara’s Point Road still under construction.
“You can’t tell a whole lot went on except for the straw on the ground where the grass was reseeded,” said Commissioner Ronnie Hoosier commenting on how little disruption occurred as a consequence of the construction.
SUD financed the project by drawing on cash reserves rather than borrowing money.
Turning to other business, the board approved the slate of candidates for the upcoming commissioners’ election. Randall Henley will seek reelection to the open seat and Hoosier to the Marion County seat.
Others interested in serving as commissioner can still declare their candidacy. Commissioners receive a $50 per meeting stipend. Prospective candidates can self-nominate by submitting a petition signed by 10 SUD customers. For the Marion County commissioner’s seat, the signatures must be from SUD customers residing in Marion County. The deadline for submitting nominating petitions is Jan. 2.
Voting will take place from Jan. 2 through Jan. 22 during regular business hours at the SUD office.
The board also voted to continue to employ Melanie Sane to perform a monthly review of financial transactions. Beginning in April, the board retained Sane in response to the recommendation of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts.
Sane represents the Murfreesboro-based Tennessee Utility Assistance.
By hiring someone to perform a monthly review of financial transactions, the board hopes to avoid SUD being cited for “inadequate segregation of duties,” an audit finding frequently received by small utilities that lack the staff to provide the required degree of financial oversight and lack the resources to hire additional staff.
“We’ll see if the audit shows anything different this year,” said Board President Charlie Smith.
Sane’s monthly review checks for timely payment of invoices; approval of the invoices by the management; that expenses appear to be routine; that the amount of the invoice matches the amount paid; and that the payee on the check matches the vendor name on the invoice. The board will revisit whether to continue employing Sane after receiving the 2018 audit.