Durbin Water Project To Start Soon
Durbin, WV – Pocahontas Public Service District Water Manager Ricky Barkley shared good news about the Durbin water project at the PSD meeting Tuesday night.
“I talked to the contractor yesterday and they were going to come in as soon as they got their permits finalized” says Barkley. “They’re going to come in and do a video of the area before they start the project. Once the video is started, they’re hoping to be in here next week to start the project. The video, they’re hoping to do tomorrow, and they’re hoping to start Monday or Tuesday of next week.”
Barkley says they have up to six months to complete the project, but he doesn’t believe it will take that long. The purpose of the project is to upgrade and replace water lines in the town, some of which are losing a significant amount of water.
The water project also influenced the boards discussion about possible employee raises. At a previous meeting PSD member Amon Tracey had proposed to give a 6% raise to their employees, who had not had a raise for at least two years. After some discussion about the expected savings from the water project, Tracey modified his proposal in the form of a motion for a 3% raise, seconded by PSD member David Litsey.
PSD Chairman Tom Shipley isn’t comfortable giving that raise until the board has a better idea of how it might affect water customer rates. A 3% raise would cost the water customers about $2100.00 over the course of a year; the cost to the sewer customers would be approximately $8200.00.
PSD Sewer Manager Lloyd Coleman offered his opinion based on advice from the West Virginia Rural Water Association.
“It’s not only about raises, but we have some guidance about how you should make decisions about expenditures in a utility” says Coleman. “The guidance that we received is that you shouldn’t make decisions on what to spend based on what your revenue is. The cost of running a utility is the cost of running a utility; that’s what they set the rates off of. The decision about what it costs to run a utility should not be based on the revenue.”
Tracey expressed his frustration at the board for agreeing to pay the bill for engineer David Rigby, while denying the pay raise.
“My question is this, if we can pay Rigby $96,000.00 for two months, why in the Sam Hill can’t we pay our employees $10,100.00 a year, not two months. That just don’t [sic] make any sense to me.”
After further discussion, the PSD board decided to table the employee raise issue. They intend to discuss again next week during a work session