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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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October 31, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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October 31, 2018
 

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PAGE A8 Wednesday, October 31,2018 NEWS SPIRIT of JEFFERSON and EM{MER'S ADVOCATE JEFFERSON COUNTY COMMISSION RACE 9 By TIM COOK Special to the Spirit CHARLES TOWN - No surprise, the Rockwool Group's planned in- sulation factory in Ranson is a hot topic ahead of Tuesday when voters will decide on two seats on the five- member Jefferson County Commis- sion. At a pair of candidate forums last week, four of the five candidates said they would oppose the factory with all of their political influence if elected. Incumbent Republican Peter On- oszko stood as the lone defender of the economic development and reg- ulatory process that OK'd the proj- ect. Could the election establish a three-vote majority voting bloc on against the Rockwool facility? Even with a majority, could the JCC successfuly derail or even just de- lay the factory now slated to open in 2020? TIM COOK A citizen asks a question Thursday at an NAACP forum for Jefferson County Commission candidates (from,left) During an Oct. 25 NAACP forum,Ralph Lorenzetti, David Tabb, Robert Barrat and Jane Tabb. Citizens had several questions about the Rockwool Jane Tabb - a Republican seeking factory in Ranson. Rockwool also came up during a Jefferson County League of Women Voters forum on Oct. 24. her third term on the JCC - said ,h,n million to pos- expressed doubts about the JCC's commissioners, attending the NAACP forum said sibly $10 million in real estate and ability to block the project."You know I've been looking for they wanted to make changes re- property tax relief over 10 to 12 She is running against attorney a legal way to stop Rockwool and garding the Jefferson County De- years, depending on the calculations Robert Barrat, a Democrat whoI haven't found it," Jane Tabb said. velopment Authority, to begin re- and estimates used. also is an outspoken opponent of "That doesn't mean I've stopped cruiting companies that don't op- "The state is just trying to get in- the factory, looking." erate with smokestacks, that the dustry here and not paying attention In the other race, Onoszko is run- Both Lorenzetti, a Democrat and JCDA should record its afternoon to the effect it has on the local peo- ning against two men opposed to Jefferson County former prosecuting board meetings to post online for pie," Lorenzetti said. Rockwool - Ralph Lorenzetti, a attorney, and Barrat vowed to vote the public to hear or view. They all He said too many public officials, Democrat, and Mountain Party can- against Rockwool as a commission- supported electronic public notices from state legislators to municipal didate David Tabb. er if elected. So did David Tabb. of public hearings, officials, are avoiding the challenge Even if Rockwool opponents take Ranson officials rezoned a 400- B arrat, Lorenzetti and Davidof stopping the factory. "Part of the both seats, Jane Tabb says she sus- acre site for an industrial use last Tabb, a local mechanic and busi- problem is everybody is passing the pects the JCC might still have a 3-2 year to specifically accommodate nessman who has repeatedly sued buck," he said. majority unwilling to take action to the factory, local government officials as his Barrat, saying he was troubled by stop the factory. All five candidates appeared at a own attorney, each promised to vote a nondisclosure clause included in The commission has limited au- Jefferson County League of Women to rescind a controversial Payment the PILOT memorandum, suggest- thority to stop the Rockwool proj- Voters forum on Oct. 24. Onoszko in Lieu of Taxes memorandum of ed that the commission encourage ect, she added, a point repeatedly skipped the NAACP forum, understanding conceding to Rock- Ranson officials to revoke building permits for the factory. Barrat also said the Rockwool project should be stopped by deny- ing it local water, sewer and natu, ral gas services, considerations now before the Charles Town City Coun- cil, the Jefferson County Develop- ment Authority and the West Vir- ginia Public Service Commission. "If they can't get their water and sewer and they can't get their gas and they have to pay full-boat tax- es, this might not look like a very nice place for them to do business," Barrat said. "I think all the agencies have to work together to try deny these services." Jane Tabb responded to Barrat saying there appears to be no jus- tification under state public utility law where Rockwool could be de- nied utility services. West Virginia Department of Commerce officials have agreed to pay the cost of a new Charles Town sewer line to the Rockwool site. However, if Charles Town offi- cials fail to authorize a utility bond to construct the sewer line from the Charles Town's sewer system to the Rockwool site- about $10 minion in funding based on cuwent project estimates - a rate increase would be necessary to impose current cus- tomers of the Charles Town Utility Authority and the Jefferson County Public Service District, utility offi- cials have said. Barrat returned to the text of the PILOT agreement. "They found that Rockwool would 'promote the present and prospective prosper- ity, health, happiness, safety and the general welfare of the people of Jefferson County,'" he said, read- ing the agreement. "I don't think that Rockwool does that. I think we need to do whatever we can to try to get rid of Rockwool now." Heavy industry doesn't belong in Jefferson county especially across the street from our children. ROCKWOOL, a foreign company, is poised to build a gigantic insulation factory using millions of dollars in taxpayer funding and tens of millions more in special tax breaks. What will we get in return? Towering 21-st0ry smokestacks with laazardous emissions Around-the-clock, 7-days-a-week intense operations Tens of thousands of heavy truck traffic on our roads A health threat to 30% of our children, who attend the four schools within two miles of the proposed factory What can you do? 1. Share information with your neighbors. 2. Hold your elected officials accountable. 3. Get the facts (not corporate propaganda) at JEFFERSON COUNTY VISION !ii i county to speed up internet access. is the new highway for commerce. ggest open door policy with a time each month citizens can come to discuss whatever is on their mind with the County Commissioners. Barrat is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, West Virginia, is a retired National Guardsman, former farmer and practicing attorney. He deployed to central America, Germany, Middle East and New Orleans with the Guard. Both his children graduated from Jefferson High School and his wife taught at T.A. Lowery Elem. School. . '7 i )