HB0269, Yikes!

State representative, Harry Brooks, who represents a portion of Knox County has filed a bill that could have a huge impact on the Lenoir City Utility Board and Lenoir City it's self.

Brooks bill, HB0269, would greatly alter the make up of the LCUB power board to add several more members to that board from Knox County. The logic behind Brooks bill would be to add enough Knox County members to the power board to give a majority vote to the Knox County board members. The current board is made up of the Lenoir City Council, mayor and two Knox County residents.

A large majority of LCUB's electric customer base is in west Knoxville. Rep. Brooks objective could tip the balance of power to the Knox County board members in any vote. The matter that could be at the heart of the bill would be to force LCUB to pay in-lieu-of-tax payments to Knox County. Currently, LCUB only pays in-lieu-of-tax payments to Lenoir City. Last year, LCUB paid Lenoir City 3.1 million dollars, nearly 25% of their budget.

The bill is in it's early stages but if passed, could have big impact on how LCUB operates and Lenoir City's budget. I'll keep an eye on it and keep you posted on the progress.

Below is the summery of the bill from the state's web site.  

  • Bill Summary

    This bill requires certain municipal utility boards to provide representation for customers in the county where the municipality is located and in adjoining counties.

    Generally under present law, a municipality conducting any utility service including waterworks, water plants, water distribution systems, and sewage collection and treatment systems is authorized to extend such services beyond the boundaries of the municipality to customers desiring such service.

    Under this bill, if a municipality has created a separate utility board to exercise the municipality's power to operate any public utility service, and the public utility service provides any of its services in more than one county, and the service area is wholly located within this state, the board must have proportionate representation for customers in the county where the municipality is located and in adjoining counties.

    This bill specifies that:

    (1) A board must have at least one member who is a resident of each county served outside of the county where the municipality is located; however, based on proportionate representation, more than one seat may be required. If the additional seats to the board would create an even number of board members, one seat may be added to the board, which must be filled by the municipality. To achieve proportionate representation, a board must either:

    (A) Reserve vacancies occurring on the board for proportionate representation purposes; or
    (B) Increase the number of members on the board to accommodate seats required for proportionate representation purposes;

    (2) The county mayor and governing body of the county served outside of the county where the municipality is located must nominate and elect or appoint the new board member to fill a seat by following the same procedure used by the municipality to appoint board members. The seat must be filled by a person who:

    (A) Is a resident of the respective county;
    (B) Is a customer of the public utility service;
    (C) Is not a city council person or employee of the municipality; and
    (D) Is not an employee or member of the board of any other utility; and

    (3) The terms of board members must be the same as other members of the board, and each member will serve until a successor is selected and assumes office. If a vacancy occurs, the respective county mayor must initiate the procedure to select a successor to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.