CUD Water Quality Coordinator Earns Role With Coffee County Planning Commission

Just as the foundation of a home or business is essential to the building itself, utilities and infrastructure are essential to the life of a county. One of CUD’s longtime employees, Water Quality Coordinator Randy Harrell, is now taking an advisory role for the Coffee County Planning Commission.

“It all goes back several years to when I spoke with the Planning Commission on issues related to a landfill in the county,” Harrell said. “Then, in this past year and a half, there’s been a proposal for a rock quarry in our community, so I got involved again.”

“I was asked by several people to consider joining the Planning Commission. I also talked to the County Mayor, Gary Cordell, and met with him multiple times. He nominated me for the position because of my knowledge of regulations related to the Commission’s work and water utilities. The county commissioners voted, and I was accepted unanimously.”

Harrell has an extensive background in water quality, having worked for CUD’s Engineering Department since 1987. In addition to his work managing and testing water quality, he also leads presentations about infrastructure and customer service for state utility groups – and even delivers speeches to area high schools.

“The Coffee County Planning Commission studies drawings and plans for growth. From my point of view, I told the mayor I’d like to get out in the public more and discuss things and keep them informed. That way, we could get more of the residents involved in county government. There’s been a lot of talk lately and a lot of concerns about things, and I’m hoping we can get together and have meetings.”

The questions mainly focused on a zoning resolution for Coffee County related to the placement of rock quarries. Harrell noted that some residents feel disconnected from the work of the Planning Commission.

“A lot of the residents said they didn’t know about the rock quarry until they received the letter a couple weeks before the zoning meeting. I’ve learned in my position if you let the people know in advance, and you work with them, then there’s not nearly as much concern.”

Harrell’s career in water quality has provided him with a knowledge of water regulations from TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation), which will help him speak to the Planning Commission about the science, costs, and value of infrastructure. Coffee County is also his home.

“I have a background in planning and environmental regulations, and I was born and raised in the Beech Grove community of Coffee County. That’s where I live now. Our area has a special history, and it’s really changed and grown in the last 10 years. That’s where I want to help.”