At their May 16th meeting, The Pocahontas County Commission held their second public hearing concerning the submission of an application for a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant to help fund the proposed extension of wastewater service from Durbin to Frank and Bartow. The first such public hearing held during the May 2nd Commission Meeting drew no one who opposed pursuing the grant application.
Such was not the case at the May 16 meeting. Arthur and Karen Collins from Bartow came to voice their opposition to the sewer line, and they said that many other residents of Bartow, Frank and Durbin oppose it as well. They were upset that they had recently installed a new and expensive septic system that they would be forced to disconnect from if the sewer line is built. They are also fearful of high sewer service charges, as Arthur Collins explains.
“Just like I told the Public Service Commission over the last water rate increase, ‘why don’t you all just take the senior citizens’ check and pass it around to these telephone companies, power companies and all of em, and what’s left, maybe we can us a little bite to eat and a little bit of medicine’” said Collins. “We don’t eat on a limited income.”
Amanda Smarr of the Region 4 Planning and Development Council responded that if the Commission obtains this grant, the sewerage rates for the new system would not be high. An upset Arthur Collins sounded off his feelings about that.
“That is like they told us on the water” said Collins. “Now it’s going right on up, and they’re getting ready for another rate increase. So I don’t believe nothing –and I am speaking for myself –I don’t believe nothing that you all say.”
Commission Attorney Bob Martin advised Collins that this public hearing only involves the grant application, so if they object to the project they need to attend the next Pocahontas County Public Service District meeting and bring as many others who oppose it as possible with them, since the PSD is the agency making the final decision about extending the sewer line.
Three other significant items were handled at the May 16th Commission Meeting.
In the first, The Commissioners voted to certify that the new Snowshoe Area Resort District Petition did indeed contain all ten items required by state law, and they set a public hearing on the petition for Friday, August 4th at 5:00 p.m. at the Courthouse.
They also voted to have the petitioner –Snowshoe Mountain Resort et al, publish the meeting information in the newspaper; mail documents, meeting notices, ballots and postage paid return envelopes to all real estate owners in the proposed RAD District; conspicuously post those in multiple locations in the proposed RAD District; and file the petition in the County Clerk’s office. They also decided that ballots indicating agreement with or objections to the RAD must be returned –not just postmarked – on or before June 30, 2017. If the landowner does not return their ballot by June 30th, it will not be counted, but the landowners may still submit their ballot during the August 4th public meeting.
In another significant action, the Commission heard the second reading of the proposed amended Dog Ordinance and ordered the publishing of the proposed ordinance prior to the final reading and possible enactment during a future Commission Meeting. They pointed out that the only changes to the existing dog ordinance the amended ordinance adds is that the ordinance can now be enforced in the three county Municipalities, Marlinton, Durbin and Hillsboro at the request of those municipalities, and it removes the requirement in the existing ordinance that the Assessor provide copies of the ordinance to dog owners when they purchase their dog licenses.
The last significant item at the meeting was that at the May 2nd meeting, an error was discovered in figuring the amount of money available to contribute to non-profit agencies and has been corrected, resulting in additional money being available. As a result the Commissioners voted to donate $1000.00 to the Pocahontas County Humane Society and $2138.00 to the County Chamber of Commerce to build a new web site.