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Crawford Said Taking It Slow Key For Water Authority

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Crawford Said Taking It Slow Key For Water Authority

While some residents are concerned about the slow pace of the Cumberland Plateau Water Authority, Crossville Mayor R.J. Crawford said the importance of a long-term solution is most important.

Authority leadership, including Crawford and County Mayor Allen Foster, recently met with state officials about how the state can help with a long-term water source. Crawford said he heard a clear directive.

“They want regionalization,” Crawford said. “And so we currently have five water utility boards that serve the county. And so historically, a lot of them have kind of all went in different directions. And so really what we got from that conversation is, yes, the state would like more of a regional approach that can be as simple as just an agreement between all utilities, a yearly meeting to kind of get everybody on the same page, almost like a strategic planning session, to, on the other end of the spectrum, having every single utility absorb into the CPWA.”

The authority’s next step is to hire a general manager. Crawford said that person has to be skilled in bringing people together and dealing with the political components of the authority.

“I know the state is interested in working with one body to drive forward anything from funding to being able to talk to one specific voice, and not many voices,” Crawford said. “It’s just hard for the state to have conversations with hundreds of different utilities that are all going in different directions. And so we just believe that the CPWA, even though it’s kind of being slow, rolled out for a reason, like you said, we want to make sure the structure is in place, we have the right people in the right seats.”

Crawford said at the same time, the authority wants to bring its utility board partners to a meeting with TDEC’s point person in the Upper Cumberland. He said that meeting would serve as a method to “try to strategize and figure out what we’re all willing to do as a group.”

“I know there’s some frustration that there’s not more happening, but if we rush this thing, we can look behind in the rearview mirror and realize that we made a lot of mistakes,” Crawford said. “So at this point, right now, the board is being represented by all utilities. They each have representation.”

“My goal, along with the county mayor, was just to try to avoid any type of hiccups or issues that if we don’t correct now, five to ten years will be an issue.”


The post Crawford Said Taking It Slow Key For Water Authority appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.