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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Legislation Sponsored By Rep. Helton Streamlining Greenbelt Applications Passes House

Collegedale Moves To Regulate Short Term Rentals

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report


House lawmakers approved State Rep. Esther Helton’s (R-East Ridge) legislation streamlining Greenbelt applications with strong bipartisan support. House Bill 817 makes it permissive for Property ... (click for more)

The city of Collegedale has adopted an ordinance establishing registration and permitting requirements for all short term rentals, an industry that officials said "has a growing presence in the ... (click for more)

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AARON, DONAVAN RAY 935 GREENHILL DR ROSSVILLE, 30741 Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Soddy Daisy POSSESSION ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Legislation Sponsored By Rep. Helton Streamlining Greenbelt Applications Passes House

House lawmakers approved State Rep. Esther Helton’s (R-East Ridge) legislation streamlining Greenbelt applications with strong bipartisan support. House Bill 817 makes it permissive for Property Assessors to file Greenbelt applications in the Register of Deeds office. The assessor may record with the Register of Deeds the application for the classification property. However, ... (click for more)

Collegedale Moves To Regulate Short Term Rentals

The city of Collegedale has adopted an ordinance establishing registration and permitting requirements for all short term rentals, an industry that officials said "has a growing presence in the city." Collegedale officials said, "A short term rental is describe as a dwelling that is rented wholly or partially for a fee for a period of less than thirty (30) continuous days. Short ... (click for more)

Opinion

Save The Wildlife, Mr. Berke

Why in the world would there be any question regarding the wildlife at East Lake park, and the humane relocation of same? Why would anyone need to beg for the right thing to be done? Maybe if the ducks could ride scooters, there would be money for this. Or maybe if they had means to pay for one of the so-called affordable apartments we have in Chattanooga, they would rate the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What's 'Good' About It?

For the biggest part of my life (a real long time) I refused to acknowledge what is “good” about Good Friday. Today, in literally every country on earth, it is ‘Good Friday’ and, nope, nothing is “good” about killing my Jesus. Forget that it is the most singular display of His love for me, and I push all of the human race aside, to stand completely alone, and feel Jesus’ eyes on ... (click for more)

Sports

Softball: Lady Trojans Edge Lady Raiders, 4-3, In Big 5-3A Victory

Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans will go into Friday’s Lady Trojan Invitational at Warner Park riding high after a come-from-behind 4-3 victory Thursday against Cleveland. Soddy-Daisy’s win coupled with McMinn County’s stunning 4-1 victory over Walker Valley moved the Lady Trojans into first place by 20 percentage points over the Lady Mustangs. In the other district game, East Hamilton ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Football Club And Nightfall Join Forces For 2019 Jersey Reveal

Chattanooga Football Club announced on Thursday its annual Jersey Reveal that will take place Friday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Miller Plaza to help kick off the opening night of Chattanooga’s long-standing concert series, Nightfall. The event is free and all are encouraged to attend. Entering its 32nd year, Nightfall is consistently voted one of Chattanooga’s favorite events. ... (click for more)