published Friday, December 16th, 2011

City of Charleston, Tenn., plans for spring annexation

An aerial photo of Charleston, Tennessee
An aerial photo of Charleston, Tennessee
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CHARLESTON, Tenn. -- Charleston may expand westward in 2012.

During this week's City Commission meeting, Charleston Mayor Walter Goode announced that plans for westward annexation were going through final revisions.

The mayor said he hoped to hold public hearings on annexation plans in January. Goode said Tuesday that he would like the annexation to be completed in the spring.

He said Bradley County residents incorporated into Charleston will benefit from annexation, especially when they compare the cost of city taxes to their higher fire insurance premiums and private garbage collection fees while unincorporated.

"With the services we are rendering to them, no one will be paying extra out of their pockets," Goode said.

In the meantime, Charleston also seeks to replace its 200,000-gallon metal water tank with a new concrete tank that has a 500,000-gallon capacity.

The Charleston City Commission voted 3-0 to approve an initiative by Calhoun-Charleston Utility to pursue grant funding to buy a newer, larger water tank.

The concrete tank will be cheaper to fund than required maintenance on the existing tank, utility board member Phillip Shelton said. He said the metal water tank needs to be sandblasted and recoated per state regulators, and the lowest project bid is $192,000.

However, an industrial grant for the larger concrete tank could reduce the utility's expense by half, Shelton said. The matching funds for the 500,000-gallon water tank would amount to less than $100,000.

Shelton told commissioners that beyond the advantage of the reduced cost, the larger tank would help provide for Charleston's future growth and easily maintain a 24-hour water reserve.

People at the meeting expressed concern that Cleveland's northbound annexation plans might interfere with Charleston's expansion.

The city's goal was not to stop Cleveland annexation, but "to expand Charleston," Goode said.

The mayor also said Charleston's representatives needed to play active roles in joint 20-year growth plans and studies with Bradley County and Cleveland.

"Maybe 2012 will be the year for Charleston," Goode said.

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