Four out of five county commissioners, the county manager and associate county attorney attended the Ringgold City Council meeting to inform members about the agreement with developer Sonny Kernea. Only Commissioner Ron Gracy did not attend.
Chad Young, associate county attorney, told the council that both the Catoosa Board of Commissioners and Catoosa County Public Works agreed to not charge tap-on fees for the project.
Commissioner Mark Fletcher said the developer paid $137,000 to install the sewer that the city would be using and at no cost to the county.
Ringgold voted 3-0 with two abstaining to continue following Ringgold's current ordinance requiring all customers to pay the tap-on fees.
Commissioner Mark Fletcher spoke passionately, urging Ringgold to uphold the county's commitment.
You are going against what commissioners agreed to do," he said. "We made a promise to a man. I feel it was a justifiable promise. He is not being treated right."
Councilman Bill McMillon, who made the motion, fired back that apartments especially do not add to the county due to the costs to provide services to the large number of children and families living there.
“We are not getting anything,” he said. “The (sewer) lines have to be maintained. It is impacting everybody in this county.”
According to City Manager Dan Wright, the city met in February with the developer about the project and assured him that the city would be charging tap-on fees.
He went on to say Ringgold sewer department supervisor Robert Burson reminded Kearney that the fee is assessed per unit on each apartment, rather than per building.
Mayor Joe Barger estimated tap-on fees to be around $28,600.
"We agreed to treat the people in unincorporated areas just like those in Ringgold," he said. “It's unfortunate that there was a promise, but we did not know anything about it."
Barger said the city agreed to provide service in the Peavine Basin, but “did not want it.”
He said part of the tap-on fees pay to connect to the line and part pays to maintain it.
“We are treating everybody equally," the mayor said.
Councilman J.B. Petty, who both seconded and abstained, said he is in favor of charging tap-on fees, but suggests that city and county officials meet with legal counsel to review the legalities.
Councilman O.C. Adcock, who voted in favor, suggested in the work session that if the county made the agreement, then the county should pay the tap-on fees to Ringgold.
Councilman G. Larry Black abstained.
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An amended motion made by Petty to meet with the county again was defeated 3-1 with Petty abstaining. Black seconded.
Ringgold took over sewerage service to unincorporated Catoosa in April 2003 following an agreement with the county.
Boynton Commons is within the Peavine Basin, officials said.
The Ringgold basin includes the South Chickamauga Creek basin and all water drainage basins lying east of Taylor’s Ridge and White Oak Mountain to the Walker County line on the south and east and Whitfield County also on the east.
The Peavine basin includes Peavine Creek beginning at the Walker County line at the crest of Boynton Ridge to the intersection with I-75 and then running north along the interstate to the Tennessee state line