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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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January 24, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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January 24, 2018
 

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SPIRIT of JEFFERSON and E RMER'S ADVOCATE NEWS PAGL A5 Wednesday; January 24, 21) 18 Schools chief Bondy Shay Gibson said there are four remaining days in the sched- ule that may be used to make up for days missed because of bad weather. The system has used just one snow day so far this school year. JEFFERSON COUNTY SCHOOLS e CHARLES TOWN - The would remain a day off as sociation, explained during who also teaches second Presidents Day holiday on planned or be used to make the public comment time at grade at Page Jackson El- Feb. 19 is still a day off for up the one school day missed Monday's meeting, ementary. "We haven't ex- students and school person- so far in 2017-18 because of The agenda item read: ceeded the days that could be nel. bad weather. "Discussion and possible ac- used for snow days. We just During Monday night's Teachers became concerned tion on whether to use Presi- would appreciate transparen- regular school board meet- when the topic was listed on dents' Day, February 19, as a cy in the matter." ing, county officials sought the board agenda, Jessica Tu- snow make-up day." During the meeting, to clear up confusion about bergen, president of the Jef- "There was a lot of noise schools superintendent Ben- whether Presidents Day ferson County Education As- about this," said Tubergen, dy Shay Gibson said there are still four days built into the schedule that can be used for days missed because of snow. "We have planned wise- ly and banked days for snow days," she said. "We don't want to interfere with fami- lies' weekend plans [for Pres- idents Day]. "We don't want to force the use of an extra day now. That would be bad politics." - Bonnie Williamson PSD FROM PAGEA1 in jeopardy when it voted in De- cember to put an indefinite hold on building the sewer upgrade. "The failure of the District to proceed with the .construction of the project found by the West Virginia Pub- ' lic Service Commis- sion to be publicly convenient and nec- essary demonstrates '-that the District is .'unable or unwill- Ang to adequately . -serve its customers' ' and 'that its man- agement is grossly " and willfully inef- -- ficient, irresponsi- ble or unresponsive to the needs of its :customers," reads :the complaint which was signed by - Lee Snyder, the owner of Shenan- - doah Junction Public Sewer; Mi- - chae! Wiley, the president of Citi- -zens for Economic Preservation; and attorneys Christopher Negley, David Hanna and Peter Chakma- klan. . The PSC gave its approval of the ,sewer project last March. Since that time, the makeup of the District's three-member board has completely changed - and now, rather than sup- /.port the sewer transmission upgrade and being opposed to the District's dissolution and subsequent acquisi- . tion by the city of Charles Town, the new PSD board supports the trans- fer to Charles Town, but opposes the sewer project. A switch in makeup The sewer transmission upgrade was initiated by former PSD board President Bill Strider, whose term ended in November. The Jefferson County Commis- sion voted 3-2 days later to replace Strider with Todd Milliron, one of a number of PSD customers who have intervened with the PSC against the District's sewer project. With his appointment, Milliron joined Roger Forshee, who was named to the board in May 2017ral Development loan from the U.S. its intention to upgrade and expand and who has also intervened against Department of Agriculture and a sewer Service to efficiently meet the sewer upgrade. $2.5 million Clean Water fund loan customers' needs and the PSD In December, the county commis- from the state Department of Envi- has concluded that a conveyance to sion appointed Tara Ashley to fill ronmental Protection. Charles Town will best satisfy cus- the seat left vacant by the abrupt The developers' complaint alsotomer needs." resignation of board member Rich- maintains the District failed to get "The certificate of convenience and necessity approved by the state [Public Service District] is not theoretical. We have [a project] that's been approved and funded and that's the one my clients would like built. The state has approved building that particular project. There's no question whether this project is necessary and convenient- it is," operations to Charles Town, had no legal authority to do so. The commission voted 3-2 at the end of December to approve a 90- day stay on its dissolution appli- cation to give the new PSD board time to submit its own request to transfer the District to Charles Town, effec- tively making an end run around Rodecker's argument. In December, at Mil- liron's first meeting as a PSD member, the board voted 2-0 to replace Re- decker with Hammer. i CHRISTOPHER NEGLEY, Attorney for the Jefferson County Citizens for Economic Preservation, a membership of developers and builders I ard Weese of Charles Town. the approval of the PSC before PSC'e OK 'not theoretical' A Charles Town resident, Ash-voting to change the terms of that Negley, who is representing the leT is the daughter of Mike Ashley, project. Jefferson County Citizens for Eco- who has also intervened against "The Jefferson County Public Ser- nomic Preservation in its complaint, the District's sewer project. Mike vice District's decision to place the said the District's stated commit- Ashley, Forshee and Milliron all construction of the Flowing Springs ment to "upgrade and expand" sew- live in the Breckenridge Estates project on an 'indefinite delay' con- er service fails to acknowledge that subdivision outside of Charles stitutes a 'significant change' in the the PSC has already approved a spe- Town. 'plans and scope' of the project and cific transmission project. The commission's 3-2 votes break requires Commission approval," the "The certificate of convenience down consistently, with new Presi- petition reads, and necessity approved by the PSC dent Josh Compton, also a resident But in a nine-page response sub- is not theoretical," Negley said of Breckenridge Estates, and fellow mitted to the PSC on Jan. 16, the Monday. "We have [a project] that's JCC newcomers Peter Onoszko and District's new board of directors been approved and funded and that's Caleb Hudson on one side and the pushes back against the developers' the one my clients would like built. commission's veterans, Republican complaint and denies that the sewer The state has approved building that Jane Tabb and Democrat Patsy No- project has been jeopardized by the particular project. There's no ques- land, on the other. PSD's planned transfer to Charles tion whether this project is neces- The new members maintain theyTown. sary and convenient - it is." are at last fulfilling a nearly 15-year In its response, which was signed The developers' argument pig- mandate to consolidate sewer ser- by PSD legal counsel David Ham- gybacks off a brief submitted to vices in Jefferson County in order mer and general manager Aprilthe PSC in November by former to help bring down the cost of ser- Shultz, the new District board ar- PSD legal counsel Robert Rodeck- vice for customers of the 34-year- gues that the PSD "intends to work er, who argued that transferring the old county utility, cooperatively" with Charles Town District's $18 million in assets and Tabb and Noland have argued that to upgrade sewer service in the 2,500 customers to Charles Town the consolidation being pursued by Flowing Springs area. without building the transmission the new members is misguided and " [T]here has been no adverse project could be shown as evidence will hurt the ability of the county to change in the intention to upgrade that the PSD has abandoned its cus- regulate growth, and expand sewer service in the tomers. Flowing Springs area in order to In his 25-page motion, Rodecker No go-ahead from the PSC? meet customer needs," according to also argued that the Jefferson Coun- The sewer project would be fund- the response. "To the contrary, the ty Commission, which voted in July ed by two loans - a $3.5 million Ru- PSD has been entirely consistent in to dissolve the PSD and transfer its JCC enters the fray At their meeting last week, the county com- missioners voted 3-2 to hire attorney Bill Rohrbaugh to intervene against the developers' complaint. Tabb and Noland voted against the expendi- ture. In her remarks ahead of that vote, Noland said failing to build the trans- mission project will cost PSD cus- tomers more money in the long run. "I think we've spent enough mon- ey, taxpayers' money, fighting the PSD in this dissolution, consolida- tion," Noland said. Compton pointed out that the new board of the PSD supports the effort to consolidate sewer services with Charles Town. He likened the commission's in- tervention on behalf of the District's ratepayers to the commission's op- position to an ongoing effort by the city of Charles Town to annex 2,600 acres that are now a part of Jeffer- son County. "Just as with annexation issues, we are spending money to fight annexation because it will affect a small segment of the county popu- lation just as the PSD issues affect a small segment of the county popu- lation, so it is our duty as public of- ficials elected to represent the peo- ple to fight for those people. If it's certain segments of the county at any given time - with annexation or the PSD issues - we should follow through with that." 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