Pocahontas Commission To Defend PSD In Light Of WV DEP Allegations

Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas County Commission is once again getting involved, at least peripherally, in the latest chapter of the ongoing process to build a sustainable sewage facility at Snowshoe Mountain. At their meeting Tuesday, they authorized their attorney, Samual Hanna, to send a response to the West Virginia Public Service Commission in support of the county Public Service District and their efforts to proceed with a plan for a decentralized sewer system on the mountain.

The Commission letter is in response to one sent by the West Virginia Dept of Environmental Protection to the PSC in late December. In that letter, the DEP outlines over 60 items they would like the PSD to address. Pocahontas Commission President David Fleming says the DEP is sending mixed messages.

“One hand of the DEP is talking and sitting down with the PSD and everything looks good,” he says. “And the other hand of the DEP is slamming these kinds of documents against them. I was just at a work session the PSD put together a couple of weeks ago; I’m very pleased with the progress they’ve made.”

Fleming says the PSC gave the PSD six months to get the project going. But he accuses the DEP of dragging their feet and causing delays. He also fears the PSC could decide to put the project into receivership, taking control away from the PSD.

“I think realistically, if we wish to continue fighting for local control of this project, which is what this is about then we have two things we’re looking at,” he says. “One is issuing the response today. The second thing we have to look forward to is another hearing. If and when that comes we should be realistic and understand that we will probably need counsel on that as well.”

This was not on the agenda for the meeting. Because of the January 3rd response deadline, the Commission went into emergency session to adopt a motion to have Hanna compose and send a response to the PSC. The motion to send the letter passed on a 2 to 1 vote with Commissioner Jamie Walker opposed.

In other business, the Commissioners briefly spoke about placing the Marcellus drilling issue on the 2012 county ballot in some form. The Commissioners have received multiple petitions asking that that they drop the Marcellus issue for now. Fleming deferred further discussion of the ballot question to an already scheduled January 5th special meeting of the Commission.

Magistrate Janet Kershner-Vanover spoke to the Commissioners about the closing of the Durbin Magistrate office, per the order of the WV Supreme Court. She says the closing of the office not only affects northern county residents, but also impacts the Magistrate offices in Marlinton.

“The problem you have is that the people in Charleston have never seen what we have,” she says. “The way our set up here [works], when you come around the corner you see a Magistrates office and then the courtroom and an assistant’s office, and then another Magistrate’s office; so they get to a magistrate’s office before they ever get to an assistant who is usually the one we have to take them to, to get anything done. They haven’t seen our facility; they’re making decisions and thinking about it afterwards.”

Commissioner Martin Saffer suggests trying to find a solution in the current facilities rather than fighting the decision to close the Durbin office. Other items discussed by the Commission include:

An update on the Community corrections Day Report center by Director Elissa Taylor
Setting purchase card credit limits at $5000.00 for elected officials and $1000.00 for other employees
Approval of a letter of intent from the Commission to the Greenbrier Valley United Way for their continued financial support of the Pocahontas county senior programs
And approval of a $5000.00 contribution to the county’s search and rescue organization.

The Commission also set the dates for the Board of Review and Equalization hearings.

The County Commission of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, in its capacity as the Board of Review and Equalization will convene on the following dates and times for the purpose of reviewing and equalizing assessments made by the Assessor. All meetings will be held at the county courthouse in Marlinton.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

Monday, February 13, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

Thursday, February 16, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

The Commission requests that appointments be made prior to these dates. To schedule an appointment, please call the Pocahontas County Commission at 304-799-6063 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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