published Monday, March 25th, 2013

Jackson County, Ala., water authority merger to save $200,000 a year

A crew with Stevenson, Ala.-based Lambert Inc., works on water transmission line installation on state Highway 71 in Jackson County. The work is part of an expansion project for the North Jackson Water Authority.
A crew with Stevenson, Ala.-based Lambert Inc., works on water transmission line installation on state Highway 71 in Jackson County. The work is part of an expansion project for the North Jackson Water Authority.
Photo by Ben Benton.

Approval of the merger of two Jackson County, Ala., water authorities with the DeKalb-Jackson Water Supply District will save about $200,000 a year, officials say.

The merger, approved in Jackson County earlier this month, consolidates some of the work the staff had been doing in triplicate for years, DeKalb-Jackson Water Supply District General Manager Tommy Bryant said Friday.

Bryant said the merger took place mostly on paper, and the savings in improved efficiency will come without the loss of a job or any impact on water customers.

A few years ago, the Sand Mountain Water Authority and the North Jackson County Water Authority joined together to form the DeKalb-Jackson Water Supply District to build a water treatment plant, officials said.

With the merger, the authorities will be unified under the DeKalb-Jackson name, Bryant said.

"As far as operations go, it's the same customers, the same system and the same employees," he said.

Jackson County Commission Chairman Matthew Hodges on Friday said Jackson officials approved the merger a couple of weeks ago and the DeKalb County Commission approved the merger last month.

"We do have a couple of board appointments that have to be made in the next couple of months," Hodges said of loose ends, but the merger otherwise is a done deal.

Bryant and Hodges said water customers won't notice any difference in their service.

Hodges said that, in the long term, water customers might not see rate increases "any time in the near future and, hopefully, beyond that" thanks to the $200,000 in savings through the merger.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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