Spencer will be subject to a state investigation of the financial, technical and managerial capacity of its utilities.
Comptroller’s Office Technical Secretary Ross Colona said Spencer has been under the Water and Wastewater Financing Board for quite some time, an financial fixes like water rate increases have not improved finances.
Engineer Nathaniel Green spoke on behalf of Spencer. Green said work has happened to try and remedy the issues but the problems are systemic.
“I have been working with the city of Spencer to try and correct some of their deficiencies for I guess the last six years,” Green said. “Some of those items that we have worked on in the past have been rates.”
Colona said subpoenas will be issued for Mayor Mickey Robinson, the Spencer Governing Body and Utility Manager to appear before the board in 2022 if the city does not fully comply with the investigation.
Colona said the board should consider that a utility employee died as the result of an accident two years ago, due to a lack of precautions.
Green spoke on the idea of consolidating utilities to resolve issues.
“I did at one point recommend during a stakeholders meeting that they discuss consolidation with the Warren County Utility District, they are right down the road and approximately a 9,000 customer utility and they do not have sewer,” Green said. “That was something that I had suggested to them to be able to offset it. However, it didn’t go anywhere with the board obviously and ultimately I have to work within the terms of what stakeholders are willing to receive and do. Some of the issues I also have associated with that is that I do work for Warren County Utility District and if I were making an assessment, I would recommend them not to take them over.”
Colona said during the special called meeting that this is not a criminal investigation. Green said that Spencer will work to provide and comply with what TDEC is looking for from the city