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Commission seeks removal of PSD board member

A new battle in the dispute over a Snowshoe-area sewage treatment system has begun and Pocahontas Public Service District board member David Litsey said it’s going to be war.

“It’s going to be like World War III,” he said.

During its meeting on November 18, the Pocahontas County Commission unanimously authorized its attorney to file a petition seeking the removal of Litsey from the PSD board. Assistant Prosecutor Robert Martin filed the petition with the Circuit Court on November 20.

In its petition, the county commission claims that Litsey, “has failed to diligently pursue the objectives for which the district was created” and “failed to perform the duties” required by a West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) order of August 2012.

The PSC order overruled a vote by the PSD board to build separate plants for Snowshoe Resort and the valley, and ordered the PSD to build a single sewage plant in the valley. The PSC order followed two years of litigation by powerful Snowshoe-area landowners, including Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Ike Morris and Ralph Beckwith, seeking a single, large capacity plant in the valley, with collection lines running north and south from Linwood along Route 219.

The PSD board prepared a resolution in obeisance to the PSD order and voted on it on August 28, 2012. Litsey was the only member of the three-man board to vote against the resolution. The county commission cites that vote in support of its petition, along with Litsey’s continued opposition to the PSC-ordered project design.

Litsey, who lives in the Silver Creek area of Snowshoe Mountain, contends that the PSC-ordered single-plant design is too expensive and includes an overly expansive collection system, that will benefit the large landowners, but will be paid for by PSD ratepayers. Furthermore, Litsey claims that Snowshoe Mountain Corporation covered up serious defects in its sewage system, prior to the transfer of those assets to the PSD in December 2008, and failed to complete work on the system, as ordered by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Litsey is confident that the petition to remove him from the PSD board will fail.

“The only thing that I can say about what the county commission did, is that I welcome the opportunity to present the facts in their entirety to the court and to the public of Pocahontas County, so that they may truly realize the danger of what is being proposed, both in terms of the sewer system and the resort area district,” he said. “However, I honestly feel that it’s going to get thrown out on its face because we will be able to unequivocally demonstrate that none of the actions taken by Mr. Litsey have resulted in anything but benefit to the community and its district.”

Commission Assistant Sue Helton did not recall any other petitions to remove a county board member in the last 15 years.

Litsey has until December 10 to file a response to the commission’s petition.

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