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Tennessee Board Of Utility Regulation Orders Merger Study For Spencer, Warren

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tennessee Board Of Utility Regulation Orders Merger Study For Spencer, Warren

The state Board of Utility Regulation has ordered a third-party merger study for Spencer Utility District and Warren County Utility District.

The decision was made at the board’s meeting Wednesday. Board Manager Ross Colona said that Spencer Mayor Alisa Farmer generally cooperated with the Board. Board member Anthony Pelham, who serves as Warren County Utility District Director, said that Mayor Farmer had done more to improve Spencer Utility in her six months of service than the previous mayor’s contribution over multiple terms.

But Colona said there appeared to be a stall in merger discussions.

“The Warren County Utility District isn’t completely saying no,” Colona said. “They’re just saying we have to kind of figure it out and lay the ground rules for this to occur. But it’s my understanding that from the City of Spencer, those talks have kind of gone quiet.”

Colona said he did not have a current board recommendation because he was unsure if they could force Spencer to pursue a joint application for competitive ARP grant funds with Warren County Utility District. $200M is available state-wide with applications due by August 8.

“I don’t even know if the Warren County Utility District would be wanting to do that,” Colona said.

Pelham said that at this point Warren County Utility District was more interested in assisting Spencer than merging. He said his district was mindful of people being defensive of their territory and the portrayal of Warren County Utility District as an invasive entity.

“At this point it is truly a matter of whether they have the resources to turn the ship around,” Pelham said.

Pelham said Spencer’s water source was one of the most difficult to treat. He said at the end of the day, Warren County Utility would do whatever was necessary to make sure all customers are served.

“It’s not a feather in Warren County’s cap at all,” Pelham said.

Colona said Spencer Utility was in an area of non-compliance with the board’s request.

“Spencer, in my opinion, has been one of the biggest failures of a utility trying to comply with state statute that I’ve seen,” Colona said. “I mean it’s pretty gross about how bad that utility has got.”

The Board noted that an order would be going out this week for noncompliance of the disinfection byproducts rule.


The post Tennessee Board Of Utility Regulation Orders Merger Study For Spencer, Warren appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.