The Beginning Of The End?
|After exhausting all avenues of compromise and being
left with no other alternative, the Wamplers have taken the first steps
to become independent of the outrageous water and sewer rate increases
imposed on their two companies by LCUB officials. The first truck loads
of equipment and materials to independently supply their own water and
sewer needs, arrived on Friday.
The Wampler family, owners of Wamplers Farm Sausage and Elm Hill/Family Brands have been negotiating for weeks with LCUB in hopes of averting the last resort. However, Fred Nelson manager of LCUB and a majority of the power board, LC Council + 2, have refused any compromise with their two largest water and sewer customers.
LCUB is currently under a state mandate to build a new sewer plant. The utility borrowed 13 mil. for the new plant. The cost of the new facility will have to be paid for with rate increases by LCUB's rate payers. Power board members were told that the industrial, customers, Wamplers Farm Sausage and Elm Hill/Family Brands, would see a 30% to 40% increase in their rates. The power board voted to accept these rate increases. However, when the final rates were announced, the industrial customers saw an 82% increase in water rates and an 88% increase in sewer rates. The Wamplers had even agreed to accept the 40% increase but maintain they can not absorb the higher increase and remain competitive in the market. In the long run, LCUB may have done the Wamplers a favor. They may find that they should have gone independent of LCUB years ago.
The unwillingness of LCUB management to be responsive to their customers is unfortunate to say the least. But to continue down the current path could prove to be the undoing of LCUB as we now know it.. When LCUB looses Wamplers and Elm Hill as customers, LCUB will be forced to make up the loss through much higher water and sewer rates to their residential and commercial customers. Just in time for the Lenoir City November election.