LCUB renews FUD purchase plan

Lenoir City Utilities Board delayed action on a water-buying agreement with First Utility District at LCUB’s meeting Monday, Jan. 17.

According to LCUB general manager Shannon Littleton, the new contract essentially is a restatement of a former agreement with FUD in which LCUB purchases water from the other utility. The contract outlined minimum amounts of water LCUB must purchase.

LCUB must purchase 100,000 gallons of water a day from FUD, and FUD will guarantee a supply of 550,000 a day. The 100,000-gallon minimum equals roughly 3 million gallons a month, Littleton said.

In peak season, LCUB uses 16-18 million gallons of water a month.

“The rates that FUD provides us are satisfactory,” Littleton said.

But LCUB liaison and former Farragut Alderman Joel Garber noticed a small deficiency in the contract — there was a promise of consistent water pressure, but no specific number actually attached to that targeted pressure.

Garber asked that a specific number be inserted; FUD spokesmen present at the meeting said that could be done.

Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens also asked that the City Attorney look over the contract.

Councilman Eddie Simpson moved to postpone voting on the agreement to LCUB’s next meeting; Councilman Jim Shields seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.

Later in the meeting, LCUB also voted to move forward — albeit cautiously — with a new gas line in the Beal’s Chapel area.

Littleton presented the Board with three options for paying for the new main gas line, with each option based on a different pay-in from the customers LCUB would be serving. The most expensive option would have a total project cost of $808,000.

“We don’t want to take the $808,000 risk right now. I would take the least risk for LCUB,” Littleton said.

The new gas line would serve customers in subdivisions along Beal’s Chapel that still are being built out. In other words, there’s not a hard-and-fast number for how many customers LCUB will have in the area.

“We do envision we’ll pick up a few customers along the way. We do believe this is a viable payback for LCUB,” Littleton said.

“We believe the gas system should continue to grow,” he added.

He eventually recommended the Board go with the least expensive option, which involves only serving gas to customers in the Miller’s Landing subdivision, which has a guaranteed 54 customers.

The project was ultimately awarded to Bush Construction, although Garber pointed out the company was the only bidder. The cost was estimated at around $280,000. Councilman Buddy Johnson Sr. moved to accept the bid; Councilman Harry Wampler seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.

In other business, LCUB:

• Approved a bid from Bush Construction for a new station along Highway 321 for $428,705. The station actually will be paid for by Oak Ridge Utility District, in exchange for LCUB customers in Macedonia Business Park.

• Canceled its meeting in February in observance of President’s Day.