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Plateau Utility reports major upgrades since merger with Sunbright

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By The Staff

When the Sunbright and Plateau Utility Districts merged five years ago, Plateau’s District Manager Mike Monroe was not at all sure what the end result might be.

“There were times early [on] after merging with Sunbright that I questioned whether or not we could turn things around and make the utility district successful,” Monroe said Friday.

“Standard protocol for any major change is the requisite multitude of speculation and opinion that accompanies [it]; and this merger was no exception,” he said.

“While opinions don’t always change, speculation always gives way to history and as the old adage goes “history speaks for itself.”

Now, 19 projects and multiple upgrades later, Monroe — and the utility’s board of directors — are more than pleased with the results.

“I view it more confidently than I did then,” Monroe said modestly.

“There has been a long list of waterline replacement and expansion projects, an overhaul of the pressure and flow capabilities, and investment in technology to increase efficiency and reliability of service.”

Plateau Utility has overseen nearly $4 million in investments over the last five years, from installing 127,204 linear feet of water line, to building five booster pump stations and a half-million gallon water tank.

Specific projects have included a $460,000 expansion involving Nydeck Road, Hugh Jones Road, Sunbright and Stanley Bates; two CDBG grants totaling over $1 million to expand Dan Young, Doc Huling, Morgan, Peters Ford, and Loop Roads, as well as Genesis and Potters Chapel and Beasley Roads, and Taylor Circle.

Nearly $800,000 was spent on replacements along Highway 27, and Cumberland, Pea Ridge, Pilot Mountain Towers and Hugh Jones Road.

The utility also spent more than $358,000 to install and automated meter reading system.

“And, [we have] added additional technology to enable employees to control all those assets from a computer or Smart phone,” Monroe added.

He credits both the utility’s employees and its governing board for the successful growth and expansion.”

“The success that the utility district has recorded would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of an excellent staff or without the support of the Board of Commissioners,” he said.

Monroe expects progress to continue.

“There are still a few water lines that need to be replaced to further bring the water loss to a level that is desirable, but I feel confident that the history written over the previous five years evidences that the north end distribution system has been improved by leaps and bounds.

“And, [we are] positioned to continue to be a successful and viable resource within Morgan County.”