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Commission considering expanding PSD Water Division boundaries

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission tackled a number of appointments, approved budget revisions, and heard from various organization representatives at its meeting Tuesday morning.

Pocahontas County Public Service District [PSD] Attorney Christopher Negely and PSD board member Dave Dragan appeared before the commission to discuss the possibility of revising the PSD Water Division boundaries regarding Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek Resorts.

According to Negley, the commission has been trying to expand the boundaries of the PSD water division to include the entire county since 1996. At the present time, the district is able to operate the water division on a county-wide scale with the exception of Hillsboro, Marlinton, and the resorts at Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek.

“That’s what we’re here to talk about today – the Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek resorts,” Negley said. “We have been working with Snowshoe Mountain in order to determine whether we should take over the water distribution system on top of the mountain. We’ve already taken over the sewer system, and we’re in the process of building the plant over there; a new system for Linwood; and a distribution system all around that area. We’d like to do the same for the mountaintop area.”

Through the formation of a mountaintop committee, Negley hopes to be able to come to an agreement with the local PSD board to place the water system into local hands and work toward establishing a better water system.

“One of the benefits to the PSD taking over the water system is that the folks who run it will be Pocahontas County citizens, members of the board, etc,” Negley explained. “Right now, it’s presently owned by a company out of Colorado that could do anything they want with it – maybe sell it to another company – but with locals overseeing it, we would also have the resources to go to the state and get low-or zero-interest rates to bring water to other folks in that general [Snowshoe/Linwood] area and hopefully other parts of the county.”

However, the project will be unable to move forward until the boundaries have been adjusted to allow for operation on top of the mountain.

“I think that there’s a need for it,” Commission President Bill Beard said. “Like you said, there’s funding out there with the PSD where we could get the funding to do this project. A lot of that area is short on water, too, and this could be a good thing.”

Commissioners David McLaughlin and Jamie Walker both agreed that there was a need for the water system, but past experiences with Snowshoe’s sewer system left Walker with some reservations, as well.

“It’s definitely a desirable need,” Walker said, “but I’d hate to see us get involved in another issue like we did with the sewer system. Hopefully the water will go a little smoother.”

A motion was made to petition the state Public Service Commission to expand the Pocahontas County Public Service District boundaries to include the Snowshoe Mountain and Silver Creek Resort areas for water services. The motion was approved unanimously.

In other news:

  • The commission approved the employment of Danny Sayre as a full-time law enforcement deputy as an emergency hire, effective June 17 until such time as he passes all civil service requirements.
  • Citizens Conservation Corps Director “JAK” Kincaid returned to the commission to discuss possible community service projects that could be completed within the county. The Greenbrier River Trail and Beartown, Droop Mountain Battlefield and Watoga State Parks were among the suggestions listed. The projects are a joint venture between the county, the Boy Scouts of America [BSA], and the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative as a precursor to the BSA’s National Scout Jamboree coming up in July 2017.
  • Pocahontas County Senior Programs Director John Simmons presented the commission with a Status Report. The commission voted to contribute $5,000 toward the Pocahontas County Senior Program’s Walk-In Freezer project, contingent upon receiving the organization’s 501c and an itemized statement.
  • 911 Director Mike O’Brien was instructed to proceed with a Mutual Aid Agreement between Bath County, Virginia, and Pocahontas County and to present it to the Governor of West Virginia for approval. Commission President William Beard was authorized to sign the agreement.
  • The commission approved end-of-the-year revenues and expenditures budget revisions and resolutions for $779,436.
  • Edward L. Riley was appointed as the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority’s County Commission representative for a four-year term, expiring June 30, 2020.
  • Oreana “Rene” White and Barbara B. Shaw were appointed to the Dramas, Fairs and Festivals Board for three-year terms, expiring on June 30, 2019. White was appointed for the Southern District, and Shaw was appointed as a Member at Large.
  • The commission approved the following budget revisions:
    • A sum of $40 to be reimbursed to the Pocahontas County Emergency Services
    • A sum of $150 to the Pocahontas County 911 Office
    • A sum of $400 to the One Room University

The next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, at 5:30 p.m.

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