Pocahontas County Commissioner Offers His View On Recent PSC Hearing
Dunmore, WV –
Pocahontas County Commissioner David Fleming recently attended a status conference held before the West Virginia Public Service Commission regarding the proposed regional sewer plant at Linwood. During the December edition of Commissioners Corner, he spoke about the meeting and his participation.
“It was a long hearing, and several people were there” says Fleming. “A total of four points of view; Snowshoe Property Owners Council was there, we the County Commission – I was in attendance and Commissioner Martin Saffer was in attendance as well. Pocahontas County Public Service District [Board] was there, and also Snowshoe et al.”
The hearing concerns a case filed with the PSC by Snowshoe Mtn Resort and a group of local landowners including Ralph Beckwith, Harvey Galford, Russell Holt, Ike Morris and Frank Santmyer. They are asking the PSC to force the Pocahontas Public Service District board to proceed with the Linwood plant proposal, a plan recently dropped by the PSD board. They also want the PSC to appoint a Receiver, someone outside of the PSD, to oversee the project. Fleming says he appreciates that all parties had time to present their case, even while he disagrees with some of the statements made.
“A lot of was said from Snowshoe et al., concerning their position of this” he says “and some of the claims made were that this Public Service District doesn’t want to build any solution whatsoever. And that, to me, was the most striking thing said from Snowshoe et al. That really isn’t the case; it was really kind of unfair I thought.”
Fleming says PSC Commissioner Ryan Palmer questioned why the regional sewer project seems to be undergoing such a dramatic change in scope. But Fleming says he sees the changes as more organic in nature.
“I could certainly understand from an outside point of view that it may seem dramatic” says Fleming. “After all the PSD has taken action to change the course of the project. But I expressed to the [PSC] Commissioners that for us, in a sense, it was a long time coming. For many years, the large contingent of community has seen this as an unnecessarily expensive; a risky project and we could do better if we put our heads together and thought a little harder about it.”
Although presented as a status conference, Fleming thinks the PSC may now have enough information to make a decision in the case.
“I sorta thought too, going in that this was a status conference and what that meant to me was that they would hear the evidence at hand and htat it would go forward to a hearing” he says. “But I think actually, this was the hearing. I think it’s quite possible and we should expect the PSC to make a decision as to whether to grant Receivership. My hope is that the PSC will give our district some more time.”
It’s not known when the West Virginia Public Service Commission will issue a decision in the case. The Pocahontas County PSD is considering several proposals to address the wastewater needs in the Snowshoe area and hopes to choose a new engineering firm for the project in January.