The Cumberland Plateau Water Authority appointed its officers during its first-ever meeting at Cumberland Mountain State Park Tuesday night.
County Appointee Greg Hanson was elected as chair. He was not present for the meeting and attended via phone. County Appointee Sean Stephens was elected as vice-chair.
City Appointee Kevin Chamberlin was appointed as Secretary. He said he saw the meeting as the first step in finding a new water source for a growing county.
“Goal number one is serving the community,” Chamberlin said. “Like they spoke about in this meeting, the goals of setting fourth this regional authority is to try to represent the community the best we can and the utilities that they need to exist and survive. That is job one, two and three as far as I am concerned.”
The seven member board was formed by private act with the goal to create a future water source. The body will work with Cumberland County, Crossville and utility districts in order to do so.
Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster called the meeting a historic day for the county. Foster said the board has no authority over the county, city or utility districts. Members will work on forming a partnership to explore a regional solution.
“This board to me is such an important concept,” Foster said. “I’ll be honest. I wanted to be on it. I really wanted to appoint myself, but I didn’t. I didn’t appoint any other elected official because we know this is not about the city and county governments. It is about the people.
Crossville Mayor Rj Crawford thanked the members for accepting the board positions. He said he believes the work will lead to a better community down the road.
“Whenever I make a decision, it is in 10 year increments,” Crawford said. “For me, it is looking at where we are now and where it could be in 10 years when I make a decision. If we do things right in 10 years, we will be in a much better position for water and resources.”
Members heard from TDEC representatives and the Comptroller’s Office outlining the board’s responsibilities. Officials reviewed budget and training requirements as well as ARP funding, environmental impacts and permitting.