Hamilton County commissioners balk at another $25 million for sewage plant

Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority Executive Director Mark Harrison, standing at the lectern, appears before the Hamilton County Commission during a meeting to answer questions at the Hamilton County Courthouse on Oct. 3, 2018.

Several Hamilton County commissioners are hesitant to approve an additional $25 million requested by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger toward a new sewage treatment plant before a new site has been identified.

A resolution that would provide another $25 million on top of the $45 million already planned for the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority project was debated during the commission's Wednesday agenda session, but several commissioners were cautious about the urgency of the vote.

Commissioner Greg Martin, of District 3, said he would have a hard time voting for more funding without an identified site, and District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd said outright that he would not vote in favor of the resolution.

The additional funding needed for the plant, originally planned for Mahan Gap Road in Ooltewah, at an alternate site would require a tax increase in the next three to five years, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, which Boyd called "absurd."