Ringgold approached former County Manager Mike Mahn with a contract last year that would transfer Catoosa’s existing sewerage services in the unincorporated Ringgold basin to the city of Ringgold, plus any additional sewer construction. Mahn returned to bargaining table, later wanting to add the Peavine basin to the deal.Merger negotiations bogged down in September, but are obviously moving now.
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 intesection with I-75 and then running north along the interstate to the Tennessee state line.
After some last minute contract interpretation Friday, Mayor Joe Barger said that Ringgold and the county came to the best agreement possible.
According to the contract, Peavine basin customers whose sewage runs into the Peavine interceptor line will be clients of Ringgold.
Under the agreement, if a sewage line is close to a customer, the city will not require a resident to be annexed in order to connect to sewer in the Ringgold basin.
Though if commercial and industrial customers want to hook on to sewer service, annexation could be required. Council members are keeping their options open.
In the Peavine basin, if a sewage line is close to a commercial or residential customer, the city will not require annexation for either in order to connect to sewer in the Peavine basin.
However, should the city decide to provide service to a customer not near an existing sewer line in either basin, the city may require annexation as in accordance with state law.
Barger said the agreement will allow Ringgold to sewer areas along Battlefield Parkway all the way to The Colonnade and beyond if needed.
“We need to look at areas where the soil is not perking,” he said.
He said any potential annexation of properties would have to comply to state requirements.
Catoosa County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to give Ringgold $3 million from future SPLOST revenues for sewer projects in the city.
County Manager Ed Vickrey said the Ringgold and Peavine basins will receive $11 million for sewers. Ringgold will decide how to spend $3 million of those funds, while the county will determine how another $3 million of those funds should be spent.
Vickrey said the county will provide Ringgold with the remaining $5 million in SPLOST dollars for new sewer projects in the Peavine Basin.
Those projects will be determined by the county’s prioritized list. Essentially, the county will provide the money to Ringgold for the Peavine basin sewer projects and decide how that money should be spent.
Vickrey said the county will work with Ringgold allowing the city to oversee the contracts of the new sewer projects installed with the $5 million.
The city will also receive an additional $1.9 million in SPLOST funds based on population.
No additional SPLOST dollars are allotted for Ringgold basin sewer projects.
Ringgold had requested $10 million from SPLOST funds to deliver sewer services outside city limits by extending sewer lines north and south down U.S. 41 and Ga. 151.
Vickrey said the county’s $3 million in SPLOST money allotted to the Peavine basin is targeted to rehabilitate sewers in the Morris Estates subdivision near the Tennessee state line.
“We would also pick up one-half of the engineering and easement aquisition costs on installation of the Ringgold interceptor up to $200,000,” he said.
Ringgold plans to spend $3.1 million on the 41,000-foot Ringgold sewer interceptor that will connect the city with Moccasin Bend sewage treatment facilities in Chattanooga and increase Ringgold’s sewage capacity to between three and four million gallons a day.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Winford Long said he sees great benefits working with Ringgold.
“I want to see us open up the east side of the county for development,” he said. “It is a prime location for industry.