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Warren District Gets Grant To Rehab Spencer System, Hinges On Agreement

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Warren District Gets Grant To Rehab Spencer System, Hinges On Agreement

Warren County Utility District Chairman Glenn Mitchell said a $9.5 million grant from the state will not move forward unless Spencer and the District can come to terms on an acquisition.

The Warren County Utility District received the grant this week to replace Spencer water infrastructure, to prepare for an acquisition by the district. Mitchell said the funding is for the sole purpose of making those improvements with a deal in place.

“At the end of the completion of the project, the acquisition would have to be made from Spencer to the Warren County Utility District at a reduced cost to avoid the expense of depreciation on the water system,” Mitchell said.

The ARP grant contract will be drawn up in January. At that point, Mitchell said Spencer and The Warren County Utility District would have 30 days to sign the contract.

“The only way we’d consider doing this is to not put our present customers at risk,” Mitchell said. “Our rates are substantially cheaper than those of the Spencer Municipal System at this time, and we don’t want to put our customers at risk to subsidize that. So, this grant money would come in to fund those improvements.”

In July, the state Board of Utility Regulation ordered a third-party merger study between Spencer Utility District and Warren County Utility District. Spencer officials have been resistant to the idea, wanting to fix the issue on its own and not give up control of its asset.

“We feel like, although it’s no benefit to us, our system itself,” Mitchell said. “We feel like that the people of Spencer deserve clean, affordable drinking water and potable water.”

Mitchell said the big infrastructure projects will be to build a waterline from the Caney Fork River directly into the water plant, so the plant is not pumping stagnant lake water.

“These infrastructure improvements will benefit the consumer up there, the customers up there of that utility,” Mitchell said. “It’s a regionalization thing that’s going on with some troubled municipal systems.”


The post Warren District Gets Grant To Rehab Spencer System, Hinges On Agreement appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.