District 7 County Commission candidate Phil Smartt said he did fight annexation while serving as chairman of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA).
He said, "I want to set the record straight on my fight against forced annexation. As early as 2009, I was on the front lines in leading the charge against forced annexation. I met with Mayor Ron Littlefield to advise him and discuss this issue.
"While I was serving as chairman of the Waste Water Treatment Board, we actively decided to cede sewage rights to the city for the proposed annexed communities in the county. We knew the costs would prohibit their meeting the three-year restriction. Ceding sewage rights to the city of Chattanooga meant when they annexed communities in the county they would have to provide sewage within three years and, if not, these communities could legally revert back to being in the county. This slowed annexation because the city could not afford to install sewage in the growth areas.
"This was my involvement in the process to slow down or stop the annexation process.
"At that time, I felt this action by the WWTA had a greater effect than any other effort in trying to put a stop to forced annexation. While gaining support from residents is certainly a necessary process, other ways are also equally effective."
Mr. Smartt, a former County School Board member, said, "I have spent many years serving the citizens of Hamilton County whether it be at a grass roots level, board member position, president of an organization or at any level of service it has enabled me to make changes that have always been in the best interest of the community. I understand the issues that we face in Hamilton County and will work hard to implement the changes necessary to protect the people of District 7.
"To completely stop annexation I would ask everyone to contact Mike Carter our state legislator and other state representatives and encourage them to vote to stop forced annexation in this current session of the legislature."
Click here to read Mr. Smartt's letter to Mayor Littlefield.