Byrdstown and the Chanute-Pall Mall Utility District are moving forward with a plan for Byrdstown to take over the system.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Byrdstown Board of Alderman and the utility district’s board both voiced support for the move. Mayor Sam Gibson said making the transition go smoothly for customers is important.
“You got 450 active meters probably, and you probably got 200 of them that are older people that walk in there with two 20’s, and they are gonna pay their water bill,” Gibson said. “You don’t want to make it inconvenient.”
The utility district has one operating office with one part-time employee that Byrdstown would absorb. Gibson said the plan for now is for bill payments to continue at the Chanute-Pall Mall office until the end of the fiscal year. Gibson said eventually, customers would make payments in Byrdstown, online or by a possible district drop box.
“My opinion is that we at least make it a gradual thing,” Gibson said. “I can’t see having a full year and having it open and us doing everything here and just having somebody sitting there.”
During Tuesday’s special called meeting, Tennessee Association of Utility Districts General Counselor Don Scholes gave an outline of how the incorporation process worked. Scholes said the steps are easy considering Chanute-Pall Mall’s current standing.
“Since there is no debt, you just wind up taking on the system itself,” Scholes said. “The assets that are on the books and records of Chanute would wind up becoming a part of the assets of the water and sewer fund for the city of Byrdstown.”
According to Scholes, the only remaining task for Chanute-Pall Mall is to file a petition to either the Fentress or Pickett County Executive stating the incorporation is taking place. This is necessary since the district is in both counties, and the board was appointed by both municipalities. After delivery, both officials have 30 days to give notice to a public hearing regarding the take over.
As for Byrdstown, Scholes recommended an attorney be hired to draft an official agreement. Gibson said the town looks to hire James Brown to do so.
Chanute-Pall Mall Utility District Board Member Jonathan Davidson said about $38,000 remain in the district’s account. Davidson said the water system itself is in a good state with recent improvements to its tank, and new pumps installed at every station. A lack of manpower and funding lead to the discussion of Byrdstown taking over the district.