Facts About Our History
The Claiborne County Utility District was formed on September 17, 1945, pursuant to a decree of the Claiborne County Court. The first board of commissioners consisted of A.G. Shumate, Mark Lewis and Lee D. Stone, Jr.
The Tazewell and New Tazewell Water Company was purchased from K.D. Chumley in 1947 and was used until construction on the new water plant and lines were completed. Fred McMurray was acting manager until the plant, located at the head of Ball Creek, went on line on January 1, 1949. At this time, Clyde Wolfenbarger became the first superintendent, serving the utility district until 1955. Roy Love was named superintendent in 1955 and served until his retirement at the end of 1986. Bill Gibson was named superintendent at that time and served until April 2002, when he became the construction superintendent. At that time Carl Doane was named general manager. On January 1, 2004 George Coots was named General Manager.
Presently serving as commissioners are: Thomas O. Shumate, President; William R. Stanifer, Jr., Treasurer; and David Bishop, Secretary. Other commissioners who have served over the years have been L.C. Ault, General Coffey,
Dr. Bill Cloud, James E. Breeding, L. Otto Bolinger, Claude Russell, Q.G. Fortson and Robert Estep.
When the water plant went into operation in 1949, Mr. Wolfenbarger was the only full-time employee. Bills were paid at Cunningham Drug Store and the minimum bill was $3.50. At that time, there were 350 customers on the system.
The original water plant on Ball Creek has expanded into a modern facility with the latest technology. Computerized equipment keeps the operator informed of the water flow from the point of intake to the distribution to the customer. Sewer service was added in 1965 and the Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed at that time.
As Claiborne Utilites District constantly strives to provide needed services to the people of this area, on the 3rd day of December, 1997 a contract was signed between Claiborne County Utility District and Evan Energy of Kingsport, TN., providing the first step in the addition of natural gas to our offered services. In April 1999, Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate became our first gas customer. Since that time our natural gas customers have increased tremendously. In January 1999, Carl Doane was hired as a consultant in the initialization of our gas department, then on January 26, 1999 Mr. Doane became our official gas superintendent. On April 29, 2002, he was named general manager.
Claiborne Utilities District has brought about many changes and improvements for the well being of the people of our community in the last 50 plus years. With the continued support of our community and employees in our endeavors, we will continue into the next 50 years with continued success for both the District and our customers.