City Council members are set to consider the scheduling of a public hearing on the creation of a city wastewater authority—the first step in what could be a yearlong process with a lasting impact on Chattanooga.
Although the resolution simply allows the city to schedule a public hearing, Tuesday's meeting will mark the first time a portion of Mayor Ron Littlefield's recently revealed plans of moving toward a regionally consolidated water authority will be discussed in public.
In August, Littlefield indicated he was exploring the idea of consolidating water utilities spanning across four counties in both Tennessee and Georgia.
The mayor's office issued a request for expressions of interest (REI), garnering responses from at least six regional groups for how to best combine a "jigsaw puzzle" of public and private entities managing the region's water flow.
Despite not directly mentioning the possibility of a municipal takeover, representatives from the region's largest water provider, Tennessee American Water Company, spoke out in opposition to the plan.
Talk of the plan comes months after Chattanooga entered a $250 million federal agreement to pay for a massive fix to the city's antiquated sewer system.
If passed, Tuesday's resolution would authorize and direct the clerk of the City Council to advertise and schedule a public hearing on the question of creating a regional water and wastewater treatment authority.
The hearing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.