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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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March 21, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 21, 2018
 

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SPIRIT of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S ADVOCATE I III I f NEWS Wednesday, PAGE A3 March 21, 2018 .# Merger FROM PAGE A1 said she's also concerned about how county residents would be represent- ed on a new board of directors to be configured as part of the merger. Tabb said the acquisition puts Charles Town in the driver's seat to direct growth in the county and won't bring the rate decreases pro- portents of the merger have prom- ised. "I think we are giving away PSD assets and PSD customers lose in the end," Tabb said, adding a pro- jected 10-year timeline for rates to even out among customers would likely disappoint both PSD ratepay- ers and customers of the Charles Town Utility Board. "If I was a PSD customer I'd be pretty disappointed, and on the oth- er hand Charles Town's customers will see increased costs so I'm sure they will be disappointed when it fi- nally happens," Tabb said. "I think this will have an adverse impact on all residents for years to come. I'm sure there has been failures and lost opportunities in the past and I hope we are not making another one at this time." The purchase agreement, which awaits a final ruling from the West Virginia Public Service Commis- sion, would establish a single water and sewer utility with about 7500 customers out of what are now sep- arate, but overlapping systems -- Charles Town's, Ranson's and the county's Public Service District. The commission's 3-2 vote fol- lowed s ar moves earlier this month by both the county Public Service DistriCt's board of direc- tors and the city of Charles Town and amounted to a do-over after the District's previous board rejected the District's acquisition by Charles Town last year, and in a last-min- ute legal maneuver forced the JCC to back down from its order to dissolve the utility. The county com- mission fast-tracked the dissolution of the PSD in March 2017 after the PSC ap- proved a nearly $7 million sewer upgrade for the Flow- ing Springs area that would have replaced a number of aging pump stations with a gravity-fed system designed to both increase capacity and steer flows away from old town Ransom That project also included upgrades to a handful of existing pump stations and the construction ROBERT SNYDER The Jefferson County Commission's three newest members - Republicans Peter Onoszko, Josh Compton and Caleb Wayne Hudson - spearheaded the move to disband the county Public Service District and turn all assets over to the CRy of Charles Town. "We have been losing for far more than a decade and we have also been met by deaf ears at past county commissions and obstructionist past PSD boards," Compton said at last week's JCC meeting. "When I ran for office this was one of my biggest priorities, and I just want the 2,500 households of the PSD to realize you have been heard this action will solidi~ what they all have been wanting for well over a decade and have not heard or even been considered." of a new pump station in Halltown. of the formerly three utilities. At last week's commission meet- "Something (has to) be said about ing, Compton, the JCC president, having four government entities hailed the 26-page agreement with coming to agreement over some- Charles Town as a big step forward thing -- it's hard enough to get one, for public sewer ratepayers, who in but we got Charles Town, the majori- recent years have complained about ty of the JCC, the Ranson City Coun- the high cost of service compared cil and the PSD board to all come to to what longtime Charles Town and the same agreement. That says some- Ranson customers pay. thing about this," Compton said. "If I was a PSD customer I'd be pretty disappointed, and on the other hand Charles Town's customers will see increased costs so I'm sure they will be disappointed when it finally happens." I Republican JANE TABB, Jefferson County Commissioner I "We have been losing for far more "When I ran for office this was one than a decade and we have also been of my biggest priorities, and I just met by deaf ears at past county com- want the 2,500 households of the missions and obstructionist past PSD to realize you have been heard PSD boards," Compton said, add- and have been heard for the past over ing a single utility will improve op- a year now, so this action will solid- erations and eventually result in an ify what they all have been wanting equalization of rates for customers for well over a decade and have not heard or even been considered." The commission's three newest members -- Republicans' Comp- ton, Onoszko and Hudson -- voted last summer to spend up to $20,000 for the two-year financial audit after alleging that money from the new fund, called the SB234 account, was being spent unlawfully. The audit turned up no evidence of misman- agement and concluded that the ac- count, for which the PSC approved a $17.85 per 1,000 gallon rate hike, was being properly supported. The audit did acknowledge a gray area in how expenditures from the ac- count could be spent. Instead, the audit concluded that sewer rates were high for PSD cus- tomers in part because of challeng- es to the District's proposed projects that resulted in more than $3.18 mil- lion lost over 10 years to profession- al services expenses. The auditor, Jodey Altier, of Marietta, Ohio, had agreed to appear before the commis- sion later this month as the majority requested, but she has since cancelled her visit and requested the JCC hold a conference call with her. Hosted by: Hollywood Casino in the Ballroom and Relay For Life of Jefferson County April[Hollywood Casino Ballroom 2 to 4 p.m. (Doors open at I pro) Please mail the attached no later than April 09, 2018 or email Donnamharrison06@aol.com QUESTIONS CALL Donna Harrison @ 304-671-3642 RSVP for Survivor Luncheon & Celebration Survivor Name Total number of guests including yourself YOU MUST RSVP IN ORDER TO ATTEND Mail to: Donna Harrison 117 Mount Vernon Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414 or call 304-671-3642 /Donnamharrison06@aol.com Citizens Fire Company & Independent Fire Company have smoke detectors they can provide to you FREE OF CHARGE. To view more Did You Know's visit our website at www.charlestownwv.us ldmllB i!!i P,one: 3o4-7=5-=3, 101 E. Washington St./PO Box 14 Charles Town, WV 25414-0014 |!|i[ www.charlestownwv.us ki "These are liquid assets that are being transferred to Charles Town and there is no stipulation in the agreement that the money that was paid by the ratepayers will be used for that system." I Democrat PATSY NOLAND, Jefferson Comdy Commissioner I 4b' J ' s f I "j' ! ,J Modifying the plan Earlier this month, the city of Charles Town proposed a modified $5.4 million project that would in- clude parts of the District's plan -- mostly through pump station up- grades -- and also allow it to tie into an extension of Ranson's sew- er system to accommodate the con- , struction of a new industrial plant at the site of Jefferson Orchards. That plant, which is being built for Danish insulation manufactur- - er Rockwool, is slated to open in * 2020. The plan also includes other items that were not part of the Dis- trict's proposed plan, totaling about $950,000. In his March 13 response to a PSC's order that granted the coun- - ty commission the ability to inter- , vene in the District's merger with . Charles Town, Hoy Shingleton, the lawyer for the city's Utility Board " says funding for the revised project would come from loans already se- cured by the District from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the , West Virginia Division of Environ- mental Protection. Noland called the revised plan a "Band-Aid fix" that doesn't resolve "r longstanding issues with flows in the Flowing Springs basin. Earlier this year, a consortium of developers filed a complaint with the PSC asking that the District be placed ,: in receivership to force the construc- tion of the Flowing Springs project. In a motion submitted to the PSC last week, the Jefferson County Citizens for Economic Preservation, argues the , current PSD board is failing to repre- sent the interests of county residents with its move to turn its assets over to Charles Town without completing the approved sewer project. D Ib [Mini Storage Bohrer Sml=&~ xuu nlnnu,uin, m,w ~vmw mP,ZlNI~N Family Owned & Operated Rt, 340 at Halttown Rd Charles Town/Harpers Ferry 304-724-6500 304-728-0707 or 304-283-3329 WE TREAT YOU RIGHT RANSON, WV Phone: 725-1417 / BUICK-GMC TRUCKS Customer Driven Since 1967 www, GifleysHVAC.com WVO3Cz~ 800-725-2524 .ggaha lnc. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING AND SUPPLIES 305 g George St Ranson, WV 25438 304-725-5516 WVOOSZ60 Rnd our giveaway at RockwellMiniStorage.com 304- 72 4-STOR (7867) Rt. 9 Charles Town I Small tree work Trash hauled QUESTIONS? Ask a certified arborist 304-876-3104