Hamilton County Commissioner defends WWTA rate increase

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Come October, Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority customers will see a 12 percent increase on their bill.

A move, Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd said is getting reaction from his constituents who have contacted him concerned.

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“My elderly on fixed incomes. The retirees living in a house that they’ve been in for 40 years. It’s paid for. They may be a widow and they’re living off of social security and now you’re hit with an increase,” Commissioner Boyd said.

While the WWTA is an independent entity from the county, Commissioner Boyd shared his thoughts on the rate increase on social media.

“It’s a compliance issue. It’s a deferred maintenance issue. It’s just the physical cost of building the facilities and maintaining them that keeps driving our rates up,” he said.

Boyd said that the WWTA has been faced with a huge dilemma.

“They have inherited miles and miles of sewer system from the various cities within Hamilton County that were under maintained or never maintained and this is over the last 40 to 50 years. Well now the EPA is dropping the hammer on you’ve got to come into compliance. So the WWTA over the last 10 to 15 years have been trying to make up for that 50 years of deferred maintenance and, you know, the rubber is going to meet the road,” Commissioner Boyd said.

He said that there are many areas of the sewer system that still have tens of millions of dollars of maintenance issues.

“These aren’t just quick fixes and the WWTA is looking at probably another quarter billion dollars of infrastructure improvements to come into compliance with EPA,” Commissioner Boyd said.

The rate increase goes into effect October 1st.