Chattanooga City Council OKs consultant for cleanwater plan

Chattanooga City Council OKs consultant for cleanwater plan

February 6th, 2013 by Cliff Hightower and Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga City Council member Deborah Scott is seen in this file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday night to hire a consultant for $100,000 to help create the Moccasin Bend Cleanwater Authority.

Councilwomen Pam Ladd and Deborah Scott voted against the proposal.

"I don't think we've studied it enough in advance," Scott said after the meeting.

Two weeks ago, the City Council approved creating the authority, which consolidates the sewer and stormwater departments. Mayor Ron Littlefield has said the plan is to create a vehicle for what could become a regional sewer, stormwater and water authority.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for the mayor, said Tuesday those plans are still in effect.

"The mayor is planning to move forward and assemble the pieces to get this thing moving," Beeland said.

Scott said she did not like aspects of the contract for the authority. She said the mayor has told the council it would be just for sewer and stormwater, but she said water is also included in the contract.

Scott also criticized the mayor for not developing regional partners before implementing a "regional" authority.

She said she has heard of no interest from water companies or Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, the government entities that have the potential of joining the authority.

"None of the stakeholders are part of the process," she said.

In the meantime, a state bill is also moving through the Tennessee General Assembly for the authority.

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, and Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, are the bill's sponsors.

"It combines the two agencies in Chattanooga," Gardenhire said. "It doesn't require anybody else to be in it but the city of Chattanooga. It opens the door to combine those two and hopefully achieve some efficiencies."