Coppinger Says Sewage Treatment Issue "Has Gotten Totally Out Of Control. It's Totally Political"

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

County Mayor Jim Coppinger charged Wednesday that the sewage treatment issue facing the county "has gotten totally out of control. It has become totally political."

He said, "The people who deal with this every day are telling us one thing and we are responding differently."

The County Commission voted earlier 5-4 not to approve a site on Mahan Gap Road that had been recommended by the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) for a sewage treatment plant.

County Mayor Coppinger said, "Now it's turned into something that's gone on for months" and brought charges against the integrity of WWTA board members and himself.

He said the rumors had even been against the wife of WWTA Board Chairman Mike Moon and his own wife.

County Mayor Coppinger said, "I rely on the people who do this every day. I trust and have confidence in them." 

He said he is "a pro-growth guy" and said he is willing to "fall on the sword" on the sewage plant issue. "When I ran for office, I promised to do what is best for all of Hamilton County."

The county mayor said the county had been successful with VW and others in bringing in large number of jobs, "but if we're not going to grow, I don't know where we're going to be."

After his statement, Chairman Sabrena Smedley, who was one of those voting against the Mahan Gap Road site, asked, "You say it's gotten political. For who?"

County Mayor Coppinger, saying the WWTA "has been like a pinata for the past year," said, "I am not going to name names, but I believe members of the commission would agree with me, and I see their heads shaking."

He said the politics "is not just from up here" but from other quarters in the community, including rumors he cited.

Chairman Smedley said her position remains that she wanted to "fully vet" all options. She said she as a realtor was losing money as long as the issue remains unresolved. She said "ridiculous rumors" were also flung at her, including that she voted based on a planned run for county mayor.

Commissioner Chester Bankston, who also voted against Mahan Gap Road, said a committee that was put together to try to find an agreeable sewage plant site, would be making its recommendation to the WWTA next Monday.

County Mayor Coppinger warned about continued criticism of the WWTA. He said, "Every comment about selling and their going away is hurting their chances every single day. They are going to have to be borrowing money and issuing bonds in the future." 

He also talked about the issue of consolidation of the city sewer operation with the WWTA that was raised at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

He said, "I favor consolidation of services 100 percent." He said though it would likely need to be a countywide operation, saying that if the city is in charge it would not have any incentive to put sewers out into the unincorporated areas.   

Mike Patrick, WWTA director who formerly headed the Moccasin Bend operations, said he did not believe that the city was required in perpetuity to operate the large regional plant.

Commissioner Tim Boyd said the "county should not put all its eggs in one basket" but should have more than one sewage treatment plant. He said when any plant gets very large there are significant operational problems.

County Mayor Coppinger said Knox County is roughly the size of Hamilton County and has four sewage treatment plants.

Commissioner David Sharpe said, "Maybe we should stop thinking about encouraging jobs if we can't build the houses."

Commissioner Greg Martin said he also had been attacked over the issue. He said, "I am not going to dignify the rumors. Who cares?" He added, "I don't question a single person on this dais for their vote."

County Mayor Coppinger said the commission now needed to turn its attention to the upcoming budget, with several important decisions to be made. He said the first budget work session would be May 7 with a June 5 presentation of his budget recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Keyonta Bentley To Serve 51 Months On Federal Gun Charge

Missing Bobcat Back In Pen At Reflection Riding; Suspect Cited To Jail


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ANSLEY, JASON ORLANDO HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga SPEEDING AGGRAVATED ... (click for more)

A Chattanooga man has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for possessing a gun as a convicted felon. District Judge Sandy Mattice handed 28-year-old Keyonta Bentley his sentence after hearing ... (click for more)

Evi, the missing bobcat from Reflection Riding, has returned, and a suspect in her disappearance has been cited to court. Reflection Riding officials identified the suspect as Cayden Melia, ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ANSLEY, JASON ORLANDO HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga SPEEDING AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AGGRAVATED ASSAULT VEHICULAR HOMICIDE LEAVING SCENE ACCIDENT DEATH OR PERSONAL INJURY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE FAILURE ... (click for more)

Keyonta Bentley To Serve 51 Months On Federal Gun Charge

A Chattanooga man has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for possessing a gun as a convicted felon. District Judge Sandy Mattice handed 28-year-old Keyonta Bentley his sentence after hearing arguments from his attorney, Jackson Whetsel, and prosecuting attorney Chris Poole. Attorney Whetsel asked Judge Mattice to consider the circumstances of the arrest. While the police ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Support Funding The Proposed Budget

Dear Commissioners of Hamilton County, I attended the District 3 community meeting with Commissioner Greg Martin and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate, who was filling in for District 3 Rep. Joe Smith. Commissioner Martin stated he had not made up his mind on how to vote for the tax increase at that time. He requested thoughtful input on why the citizens of his district wanted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW Needs Big Repairs

The banner headline on Monday morning read, “Gov. Lee, top Republicans celebrate failed UAW bid to unionize Volkswagen,” and that’s the second-worst thing that the headline could have said. The worst, of course, is if the UAW had won, and the Detroit-based union that lost 35,000 members last year would be revived -- breaking a hole into the tight wall of foreign-owned auto assembly ... (click for more)

Sports

Red Bank Dunks Cleveland For First Swim Win

It’s been a challenging summer so far for the Red Bank Gators swim team, but they had extra reason to celebrate Monday night after beating the Cleveland Aqua Tigers for their first win of the season. Both teams entered Monday’s competition winless in three meets, but the Gators now have a slash in the win column after recording a convincing victory by a final score of 402-262. ... (click for more)

CASL: Monday's High-Point Scorers:

CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS: 18 – Trey Parris III, Monroe Chittum 17 – Breanna Belcher, Charlie Chittum 16 – Lauren Thompson 15 – Elijah Sluss 13 – Luke Hunt 12 – Norah Holt 11 – Abby Anglin 10 – M.J. Miller, Eva Christmann, Estella Clemons, Ivy Briggs. RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS: 19 – Noah Blake, Ben Meagher 17 – Trevor Brooks 15 – Simon Bastnagel ... (click for more)