Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

February 17, 2014

TSUD under new ownership

Utility still running operations of sewer system

CROSSVILLE — Tansi Sewer Utility District is officially under new ownership, though nothing has really changed.

As explained in an email from TSUD attorney Randall Boston, “By agreeing to not defend the fraudulent transfer provisions under the Tennessee Code Annotated, the assets of Tansi Sewer Utility District are now controlled and owned by the federal bankruptcy trustee. At this time we are no longer the owner of TSUD.”

The email continued to explain that the trustee has asked TSUD to continue operating the treatment plant as usual until instructed to do otherwise by the court.

Since TSUD is now under new ownership, it is no longer considered a utility in distress and will not be required to begin charging the 96 percent rate increases recommended by the comptroller’s office.

Bankruptcy Trustee John McLemore is currently meeting with parties who may be interested in purchasing the sewer plant, but no further details have emerged. He has assured the board he will inform them as soon as he has a buyer lined up. Once the plant has been sold, Tansi Sewer Utility District will be dissolved by the county mayor, though no one seems to have any idea when that might occur.

“It could be a year from now,” said Commissioner Virgil Ferguson.

In the meantime, some activity in the Tennessee state legislature has created a buzz in the Tansi community. Two bills regarding utilities are currently making their way through the House – H.B. 1650, which prohibits a municipality from subsidizing a public works system with tax revenues; and H.B. 1715, which authorizes the acquisition of certain water or sewer utilities by other public utilities under certain circumstances. Ferguson clarified these bills do not pertain to TSUD.

“With all the activity going on with the sewer, all of a sudden here’s a bill going into the House that appeared like something that may be trying to resolve the situation out here. It gave the appearance that there may need to be some state laws changed to make this work out, but I really don’t think right now that there’s anybody  who’s got a concrete answer to how to solve this problem out here,” he said.

Ferguson’s term as commissioner is set to expire in March, but he has decided to seek reappointment.

“I’d like to see this through,” he said.

TSUD is accepting applications for names to be submitted along with Ferguson’s for consideration by the county mayor. Interested parties should contact TSUD at  788-6688 and attend the next monthly meeting, scheduled for March 11.

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