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Attribute to Ron Murphy

To members of Dry Run Utility District:
March 6, 2017

Recently Ron Murphy retired after serving as manager of the Dry Run Water District for over twenty two years,  I know I speak for all members of the Dry Run Utility District when I say Ron, you will be greatly missed.

When Ron Murphy assumed the responsibility to manage the Dry Run Utility District in 1994, the district had 123 customers, was operating at a loss and on a State of Tennessee imposed probation.   Ron worked hard to eliminate the debt, provide safe, clean water to District residents at a reasonable cost and build up a cash reserve to be used to repair and replace equipment and the many miles of water pipe comprising Dry Run Utility District.  Today, as the District is passed to the management of the Mountain City Water Department, it supplies water to over 300 families, is debt free, and has one of the lowest water rates of any district in the State. The District also enjoys a cash reserve of over $300,000 that is set aside for maintenance of the District’s infrastructure.

To say that Ron was an excellent manager would be an understatement; he has provided more than management, much, much, more.  Ron took on the responsibility of performing all of the tasks associated with keeping the Utility up and running.  He maintained the infrastructure and, when necessary, supervised contractors to repair or replace pipe, meters, pumps, and water tanks.

He maintained an inventory of spare parts and personally supervised the installation and repair of all pipe and equipment including that associated with the development of new subdivisions within the District. He and an assistant read the meters each and every month; he entered each meter reading into a computer then printed and mailed each bill. He collected and deposited each payment as well as followed up on delinquent accounts.  He and his wife Betty were responsible for the District’s bookkeeping, accounts receivable and accounts payable for 22 years. I can say without reservation that Ron Murphy is one of the most honest and trustworthy people I has ever known.

Over the years, Ron has spent many hours searching for leaks in the infrastructure.  It is not that the District had more leaks than other Districts; it didn’t. In fact, it had much less!! Because the District’s water was purchased from Mountain City instead of coming free from an underground well, Ron knew any water loss had to be paid for by the users of the District. Ron spent many a night driving and walking the roads next to the water lines looking and listening for leaks. (Leak detection is better done at night or early morning because that is when normal water usage is at a minimum and the sound of running water easier to hear.)

Supplying water to his customers was Ron’s highest priority.  When a customer’s water supply was interrupted he would personally and immediately respond, day or night.  I have witnessed him going out in the middle of the night, with several inches of snow on the ground, to change out a malfunctioning water pump.

During the six years I served as a District Water Commissioner Ron did not take one day of vacation and only left the area for family business.

We will miss Ron Murphy and wish for him and Betty a long and happy retirement.

Mike James
Member, Dry Run Utility District