Sewer Lines Coming To Ocoee Utility District

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - by Sarah Ruf
An official at the Ocoee Utility District asked the Bradley County Commission on Monday for extra funding to subsidize tap-on fees for homeowners when a sewer system is installed in the upcoming year.

Tim Lawson, general manager of the Ocoee Utility District, told the commission his company is planning to install sewers along parts of Highway 64 in response to the requests of property owners and to attract small business to the area.

The company would like an extra $380,000 from Bradley County to pay tap-on fees for homeowners interested in connecting to the sewer lines.

“We could go a long ways to help a lot of folks tap on if they need to,” Mr. Lawson said.

The District will spend $400,000 to create the sewer system, with the first phase scheduled for completion by early summer 2014.

The proposed system is already installed and working well in the Stonebridge subdivision, Mr. Lawson said.

A current tap fee of $3,700 pays for equipment such as the grinder pump. Owners are only responsible for paying to connect their septic lines to the system.

Commissioner J. Adam Lowe asked if residents could choose to opt out of the tap-on option.

“We are not going to force people to come onto our system,” Mr. Lawson replied.

While the commission may not have $380,000 to give to the project, applying for grants is another option, Chairman Louie Alford said.

Commissioner Lowe agreed to help the District with searching for applicable grants.

Commissioner Mark Hall pointed out the Healthy Community Initiative Committee would be more likely to offer a grant if individual households paid a small fraction of the tap-on fee.

“It’s a pretty raw request,” Mr. Lawson said. “We could refine it.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Teresa Thigpen pleaded with the commission to revisit the decision to eliminate animal control pickup in the county.

“Most people aren’t aware of what those services are,” said Ms. Thigpen, whose husband is an animal control officer for the city of Cleveland. “It’s not just about picking up stray dogs.”

She went on to describe a recent case where officers had to kill a fox after it bit someone and another case where animal control was dispatched to remove snakes from a woman’s home.

Last week, the commission voted 9-3 to end animal pickup in the county.

Renovations at the expanded public cannery at the Peerless Road Farmer’s Market are almost finished, reported Kim Frady, Bradley County Extension Agent.  Problems with connecting to the city sewer system have caused delays, pushing the opening back at least six weeks. Mr. Frady said the grand opening is set for June 29, but doors will open to the public before then.

Mr. Frady said they hope for a large turnout this canning season. “A lot of folks don’t know that facility is even there,” he said.

Commissioners added an amendment to the FY2014 budget amendment, taking $2,470 from Capital Outlay Funds to place into line item Other Charges, Trustee Commissions.

Not present at the meeting Monday: Connie Wilson, Jeff Morelock, Bill Ledford, and Robert Rominger.

The commission will hold a voting session next Monday at noon.

You can reach Sarah Ruf at sarahruf@yahoo.com

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