Attorney Finds Hillsboro Boundaries Unchanged Since 1886
Hillsboro, WV – The Town of Hillsboro may be significantly larger than current county records show. Town of Hillsboro attorney Gene Simmons says that after an extensive search of Pocahontas County’s court records, Hillsboro property titles and town records, he could find no official changes to the boundaries that were laid out at the town’s founding in 1886. Simmons presented his findings to Hillsboro Town Council at its regular meeting Tuesday evening.
“There isn’t anything in the records that would indicate a change since the original time of 1886” says Simmons.
But that’s not the end of the story in the town’s search for its official boundaries. The Pocahontas County Assessor’s office recognizes a 1910 survey of the town as the official line on its tax maps. This later survey shows Hillsboro as being some 140 acres smaller than when it was originally laid out. Simmons reiterated that this newer survey was never filed in Pocahontas County Circuit Court to make it official.
To settle the matter, Simmons says the town may want to hire a surveyor to confirm where the boundaries lay, based on its founding documents, and file this with the court. Mayor Ann Walker says that over the years, the town has allocated $5,000 for this purpose. Council took no action on the boundary issue, but the attorney said he would give the town a written account of his findings for consideration at a future meeting.
Treasurer Sandy Simmons was not at Tuesday’s meeting, but Walker presented Simmons’ financial assessment of the town’s sewer utility. Simmons’ estimate predicts a shortfall of more than $7,000. To remedy this shortfall and to get the sewer utility’s finances in compliance with state regulations, Simmons report says council needs to consider increasing sewer rates by about 25 percent, from $30.31 per month to $37.80.
Council members Jim Johnson and Sandy Gladwell said such an increase would hurt the town’s senior citizens and low-income families, but Walker noted that if the sewer system loses money, the West Virginia Public Service Commission could mandate a much higher rate increase. Walker also says that the Town of Hillsboro’s sewer rates have remained flat for 5 years and that the increase proposed in Simmons’ report represented an increase of about $1.25 per year. Walker says that increase can be attributed to the rising costs of chemicals and electricity to operate the town’s sewer utility.
Council took no action on the sewer rates, but Walker said the matter would be on September’s Town Council Agenda. In other business, council approved the purchase of a drop-box for sewer and water bill payments. Council also approved site preparations for a new town office, including tree removal and filling.
The next regular Hillsboro Town Council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 September 14 at the Hillsboro Library.