Pocahontas PSD Attorney Recommends Against Paying Engineering Bill

Snowshoe, WV – Pocahontas County Public Service District board member Amon Tracey balked at approving a $52,000.00 bill for February, submitted by Engineer David Rigby, saying there’s not enough information provided in the invoice. During the board regular meeting Tuesday night, PSD Attorney Chris Negley agreed, and advised the board members not to pay the bill until he can get more details from Rigby. Negley says he hired Rigby to work on information related to a hearing before the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

“Previously we thought we were going to go to hearing on February 9th” says Negley. “At that time I had asked Mr. Rigby as my expert to prepare some cost estimates that we had alluded to previously in front of the PSC at our November hearing. And I had asked him to provide some alternatives and some cost estimates.”

However, the February hearing was rescheduled by the WV PSC in order to combine two cases in one hearing – the case filed last year by Snowshoe and several landowners for the original regional sewer plant at Linwood, and the PSD’s submission of a new regional sewer plan designed by Rigby. Negley says he’s not sure exactly what Rigby’s most recent bill covers.

“The plan has actually been more polished by Mr. Rigby since then” says Negley. “He sent me a bill, I think it was for $52,000.00. I have not been able to get a hold of Mr. Rigby, I think he went to the Daytona 500, to understand exactly what transpired.”

Negley says the bill shows that Rigby and a couple of associates worked a number of hours, but offers no further detail. PSD Chairman Tom Shipley says he’d like a little more time to consider the bill. PSD member David Litsey suggested paying half of the bill, but his fellow board members didn’t seem comfortable with that idea. A motion to pay all of the February invoices except the Rigby bill passed on a two to one vote with Litsey opposed.

The bill is just part of a bigger picture that worries PSD member Tracey. He says he’s concerned about how quickly the PSD is going through money.

“On August 31st, 2010, we had $740,154.00 in our checking account” says Tracey. “On February the 11th 2011, we had $480,373.40. This all happened within five months. We spent $260,000.00 more than we had coming in.”

Tracey says during that time $148,000.00 was spent on engineering and attorneys fees. He suggests holding payments for engineering and attorney fees until they receive approval for the new sewer plan, and made a motion to that effect. PSD member David Litsey sees it differently.

“The analysis that I did after the end of our last meeting suggested to me that if we keep spending as we had spent through December of 2010, we would accrue an additional surplus of $330,000.00 this year” says Litsey. “So, what I’m suggesting is that not only do I believe that we are a class A facility, but that we are capable of paying our bills, and that we pay them.”

Tracey’s motion died for lack of a second.

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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