Marlinton Town Council Adopts Water Rate Increase
Marlinton, WV – The average Marlinton water customer may see their bimonthly water bill go up by about $7 under rates adopted by Marlinton Town Council Wednesday evening.
Council members reluctantly approved the increase in a 4-2 vote, with council members Joe Smith and Louise Barnisky voting against it. The increase, recommended by the town’s auditor, is still subject to approval by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
Town Recorder Robin Mutscheller says she is not eager to raise rates, but the town has no other expenses it can cut at the water plant to forestall an increase. Not approving the increase would lead to financial trouble for the town’s water utility she says. Smith lamented that the recently completed project to extend water service to the Brush Country north of Marlinton lead to the need for an increase, after more than three quarters of the potential new customers in the area declined to hook on to the system.
“The reason I’m against it is people in Marlinton got hoodwinked under the Edray water project,” said Smith. “If those people would’ve like they said they were going to like they paid for a tap fee we wouldn’t have to raise the water rates of the in-town people. And that’s the reason it’s being raised.
“We had 200 and some people up there who said they were going to take water,” smith added. “Only 50 of them did.”
Councilman Norris Long says he doesn’t relish the thought of raising rates either.
“I don’t think that you’re going to find one person on this council who really favors doing this,” said Long. “I believe that we’re just in a situation that we as Robin said either have to take responsibility and cover our bills or anticipate we’re going to be in financial trouble.”
In other business, Marlinton Town Council voted to partner with the county on a subscription to the CodeRED emergency notification system at a cost of approximately $2,600 a year. The system will be used to notify residents by phone of flood evacuations, boil water advisories and other emergencies.
Council waived the building permit fee for masonry repairs to the outside of Marlinton Methodist Church. However, a motion to exempt the repairs from the town Business and Operations tax died for lack of a second. Mutscheller said she and the town office consulted West Virginia agencies about the exemption and found that such an exemption would violate the state constitutions fair taxation provisions.
Council approved a contract with Potesta Engineering to work on separating storm and sanitary sewer lines and for upgrades to the town sewage plant to reduce the amount of phosphorus it is putting into the Greenbrier River. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has cited high phosphorus levels in the river as the reason for large blooms of algae during warmer months.
Council also agreed to sell the Chevy Impala that was once the town police cruiser. Sealed bids on the car will be opened at the August town council meeting. The minimum bid will be set at the Kelly Bluebook trade-in value, and a detailed notice will be placed in The Pocahontas Times.
Marlinton Town Council’s next regular meeting will be 7 p.m. August 11 at the Municipal Building.