Chapel Hill looks to add water board, new sources

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The future of Chapel Hill? This illustration shows what the downtown area of Chapel Hill could look like in the future if the town is successful in securing grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
TDOT Illustration

It wouldn’t be a meeting in Chapel Hill if the subject of water didn’t come up at some point.

Monday night’s meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen was no different.

Town Manager Mark Graves made a suggestion to the board that the town consider establishing a separate water and waste water board.

The future of Chapel Hill? This illustration shows what the downtown area of Chapel Hill could look like in the future if the town is successful in securing grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
TDOT Illustration

“Water and waste water has become such a critical piece of what we are doing going forward,” said Graves.

“I believe the creation of this board would create that constant month-to-month conversation that would be very beneficial to the growth of those utilities,” he added.

Following state statutes, the five member board would be appointed to five-year terms by the Board of Aldermen.

The water board would be able to specialize in utility issues and make recommendations to the aldermen on a course of action.

An ordinance establishing the separate board will be added to next month’s agenda for a vote.

Aldermen questioned approval of a contract for a water study currently underway for the county.

The joint study with the Marshall County Board of Public Utilities is examining future options for the water supplies in the county and Chapel Hill.

Cost was not at issue, the study was budgeted this year, but the conclusions that the study might produce were.

“As long as its not the same old thing we’re going to get,” said Alderman Marion Joyce, “that we are going to have to rely on one source of water.”

“As long as they look outside, relying only on Lewisburg water supply,” said Joyce, “we want them to study all of the sources.”

Currently, shortfalls in Chapel Hill’s municipal water supply are filled by Marshall County Public Utilities with water from Lewisburg Water and Waste Water.

Alderman Mike Faulkenberry was more clear in his concern.

“I don’t trust Lewisburg,” he said.

Graves also updated the board on regularly scheduled maintenance on one of the town’s water tanks, which should take roughly 100,000 gallons of capacity off-line for up to two weeks.

The five dollar increase to water bills is scheduled to go into effect in the next billing cycle.

Graves also updated the board on almost $500,000 in grants for that the town had received recently.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation awarded the town a $178,000 grant from the department’s recreational trail program.

The grant, for which the town applied almost 18 months ago, will be used to construct a sidewalk from Depot Park along Depot Street into the downtown area of Chapel Hill.

A separate TDEC grant will cover as much of $300,000 of the same project if the town uses a recycled tire paving mix for the sidewalks.

The grant will also cover up to half of the cost of future trail projects as well if the same mixture of recycled Tennessee tires are used, said Graves.

The town is also in the running for grants from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for streetscape improvements from Unionville Road to Rocketeer Boulevard.

The multi-step, multi-year proposal would see the addition of curbs and gutter, lighting, sidewalks, and other additions along that stretch of Highway 31A.