Trash, stuff considered by council

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lewisburg's councilmen were again confronted with basic service issues during their January meeting when trash and sewer fees were revealed as continuing concerns among city residents.

Councilman Ronald McRady suggested a special workshop session for councilmen and constituents concerned about collection of appliances and other large objects set at the curb for disposal. An Allied Waste representative should attend, McRady said.

Councilman Quinn Brandon Stewart agreed, adding, "We need to get a city manager first and have him in on it." Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr.'s motion for deferral was unanimously approved after residents' concerns were acknowledged with some understanding of the city's cost when Public Works crews take big items for disposal since Cedar Ridge Landfill is temporarily closed.

Meanwhile, the council's request for action by the Water and Wastewater Board was to have been considered Thursday afternoon as Councilman Hershel Davis, chairman of the utility board, promised to present the board with residents' concerns as expressed by a couple of utility customers when the council met on Jan. 11.

And while there's been no city action to end fees for sewer service just because the pipe is close enough for a connection, one resident is threatening to take her complaint to federal court.

After consulting with local lawyer Bill Haywood, the city's former attorney who's now the county attorney, Brenda Davis of Sandy Street said she's consulted with two other lawyers and is calling a third.

Davis' residence has a water utility bill of nearly $15 one month when the bill for another house she owns, and rents to tenants, had a bill of $30-$40, she said. The rental house has a septic tank and no connection to the sewer system. Her residence has water and sewer service.

Inconsistencies like that have been reported to City Hall and the utility on Water Street for more than six months.

Bob Lowe, a resident of the ward represented by Hershel Davis, has been the point man on this issue and during the public comment part of this month's council meeting, Lowe asked, "Why isn't he representing me as a citizen? If he can't, I'm asking him to resign."

Brenda Davis has said the number of customers affected by this situation in Lewisburg is probably about 25-30.

Other municipalities in Tennessee charge a sewer fee for the availability of the service even though its not used. As a result, there are many houses, statewide, where the residents pay for sewer service, but their homes' wastewater is processed by a septic tank. Brenda Davis reported Tuesday that she's discovered residents in Columbia who face similar charges.

The council's next regularly scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8, in City Hall on East Church Street.