The city of Chattanooga, the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and the city of Rossville, Ga., are joining together to hire a consultant to help set up a third-party billing system for sewer charges.
The cities were left in the lurch when Tennessee American Water Company gave notice that it would no longer add the charges onto the water bill. City officials said the water company had been doing so for 60 years.
The city of Chattanooga will pay 71 percent of the cost of hiring Utility Planning Network.
That amount is $138,291. The WWTA will pay 27 percent and Rossville two percent. Those amounts are based on customers.
The firm will help with issuance of requests for proposals to find the third-party billing firm, which will get a percentage of the monthly charge.
Officials noted the overall cost will be much more than the 40.5 cents per customer now paid to the water company.
Councilman Jack Benson asked, "The higher cost as well as the aggravation of writing two bills we can thank the Tennessee American Water Company for this?"