East Ridge Mayor: "Sewer Authority punishing East Ridge" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

East Ridge Mayor: "Sewer Authority punishing East Ridge citizens"

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EAST RIDGE, TN. (WRCB) -- After months of back and forth between the City of East Ridge and the Hamilton County Sewer Authority over street cut permit fees, Mayor Brent Lambert announced Thursday that the authority will raise rates for citizens of the suburban city.

"On Wednesday, April 18, the Hamilton County Sewer Authority followed through on its threat to raise rates on customers in the City of East Ridge in retaliation for the City enforcing its street cut permit fee ordinance," Lambert stated in a press release sent out by City Manager Tim Gobble.

"The Hamilton County Sewer Authority will be making 5,000 to 6,000 street cuts in the City of East Ridge over the next three years and refuses to help offset the cost of repairing the damage resulting from those cuts.  The City charges the street cut permit fee to all utility companies, citizens, and any other entity wishing to make cuts in city streets."

City officials note that the sewer authority already collects an $8.00 monthly fee from each of its sewer customers for the implementation of the private service lateral program, and claims the authority "punitively" raised rates in the City of East Ridge only.  

Lambert stated that he was "astonished" at the actions of the authority and was "disappointed that the Sewer Authority failed to provide the financial information requested of it almost three months ago."  

In addition, Lambert said, "The street cut permit fee, which is a long-standing ordinance on the books of the City, reimburses the City the substantial cost it incurs in inspection and pavement impact from the thousands of street cuts that will be made by the County Sewer Authority."  

Both Mayor Lambert and City Manager Gobble noted that the County Sewer Authority in its private service lateral program anticipated that it would spend different amounts on different customers, including replacing private service laterals completely and paying the necessary street cut permit fees that may be charged in the various municipalities that are members of the County Sewer Authority.  

When advised by the County Sewer Authority that it loses money on the City of East Ridge sewers, Mayor Lambert said, "If it is such a bad deal, then give it back to us."

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