Hickman County Times: Letter to the Editor – About the sewer line debate (12/7/2022)

I want to thank you for providing an outstanding local newspaper for Hickman County residents. We are fortunate to still have a local newspaper when so many are ceasing publication. I have often commented to friends and family that your editorship of the Times is a tremendous boost for our county. I cannot imagine a better weekly newspaper in Tennessee.

I read with interest your extensive coverage of the debate during the County Commission meeting of October 24th concerning Resolution 22-34, to extend WADC sewer lines to the East Hickman school complex. I have several observations.

With overall voter turnout at all-time lows generally, it is good to see some people still care about actions of their governing bodies and show up to voice their concerns. Your summaries of the public comments from citizens were complete and should be commended.

I do, however, have to take issue with one aspect of the coverage, notably in the “They act; we report,” opinion material.

It was stated that your goal was to correct misinformation followed by criticism of Amanda Mathis, one of the Save Lick Creek organizers, for saying that “it is abundantly clear that the WADC operates with a profit motive and they have very little oversight.” You went to some length to contact the Comptroller’s office to clarify they are not a for-profit business and do operate with some oversight.

She did not say they were a private for-profit company — just that they operate with a profit motive. WADC board members are not elected by the public and therefore not accountable at the ballot box. More importantly, the public water authorities are not like other government entities such as local governments.

For example, Hickman County and Dickson County governments operate within their jurisdiction. One county obviously cannot acquire a neighboring county. While technically a not-for-profit entity, the WADC can acquire other utilities to grow their business and expand service areas to increase revenue.

The more revenue they generate the more they can grow. This was part of the plan for agreeing to extend their service area to the East Hickman schools — and for the proposed Lick Creek treatment facility.

By contrast, you did not clearly question the inaccurate and misleading statements contained in the resolution itself, such as that the sewer system was not in compliance with the environmental regulations and requirements. A quick check on TDEC’s website would have determined that there was no compliance issue. It was noted that amendments were made to correct the misleading information but did not emphasize that those statements in the initial format of the resolution were clearly incorrect.

The Save Lick Creek issue was clearly related to Resolution 22-34. The complete coverage of the October 24th Commission meeting is appreciated by those supporting the efforts to preserve the integrity of Lick Creek and the overall Hickman County environment. Again, thanks for the long hours you devote to provide us a great local newspaper.


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