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Former Mayor Bill Lusk’s Letter to Council

Good afternoon Mayor and Councilmembers,

I hope this finds you well.

Having thoroughly reviewed the RFP for the sale or management of our water system, I would like to take a few minutes of your time to express my thoughts on the matter.

My view of our system is that it is viable, albeit with future challenges. I would prefer that we keep our system because once it is gone it is likely gone for good. If we do keep it, I understand that improvements must be made (Hiddenbrook as an example), water rates increased significantly because they have not been increased since 2011, and I believe that we need to invest in a professional system manager with long-range planning a part of his or her skill set and appropriate certification by TDEC.

If the Council elects to sell our system, my take is that WRUD would be the best choice for the Town and its water customers. My opinion is based on WRUD’s superior financial offer, their non-profit status, the lack of capital riders as imposed by TAWC, the quality and source of their ground water which requires much less treatment than surface water from the river, their history of rate stability, their local presence and their commitment to our employees. As to the stability of their water source, in addition to Hixson Utility District’s aquifer, WRUD has, through Hixon, several wells and a backup supply from a quarry in Hixson which was not even used during the drought several years ago. In addition, with WRUD’s storage capacity on the mountain combined with our existing pump station, WRUD will have a backup water source from TAWC in the unlikely event that is needed. Finally, WRUD was formed by and is an extension of Hamilton County government providing additional long-term stability. To me, the foregoing makes WRUD the best supplier for our residents.

My concern with TAWC, aside from their water source, capital riders and lower offer, is the litigation by a number of other municipalities who seek to recapture their water systems due to on-going rate increases and reportedly poor customer service.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts and thank you for your service to our community.

Best regards,

Bill Lusk

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