Snowshoe Donates Land For Wastewater Plant
Snowshoe, WV – The Pocahontas Public Service District and Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. executed a land donation agreement during the PSD board meeting on Tuesday night.
Under the agreement, Snowshoe Mountain will donate a three-acre parcel on Hawthorne Loop Road for construction of a $9 million membrane biological reactor wastewater plant, to serve the Linwood area. The PSD is required to plant trees to screen the plant from view and upgrade Hawthorne Loop Road, as necessary, to build the plant.
Prior to execution of the agreement, PSD board member David Litsey questions a contract clause requiring the planting of mature, native trees to screen the plant.
“You know, what do they mean by mature?” he said. “Are we talking about a six-inch caliper or a 10-inch caliper? Would they be willing to go to a non-native evergreen, like I’m using, that puts down more of a taproot, so that it doesn’t blow over so easily?”
Litsey noted that native hemlocks are being eradicated by disease and native red spruce have a shallow root system and blow over in strong winds. The board contacted Snowshoe Mountain chief operations officer Frank DeBerry by telephone, who clarified the requirements. DeBerry said Snowshoe expected four-to-six-inch trees to be planted and that a reasonable effort by the PSD would suffice. The board subsequently voted 3-0 to approve the donation agreement. The PSD is awaiting project approval from the Public Service Commission.
Board chairman Tom Shipley informs the board of a customer complaint, forwarded to him by the county commission.
“A complaint was filed by a ratepayer at the water department,” he said. “It said that they attempted to pay a bill and they were made uncomfortable by dogs in the office.”
PSD employee Cindy Barkley brings two dogs with her to work at the Durbin water works office everyday – a four-pound Chihuahua and a 10-pound Pomeranian. PSD water manager Rick Barkley told the board that three or four customers visit the office every week and like the dogs. Barkley told the board the complaint was an isolated incident. Shipley says there are other issues to consider.
“But, there’s also the issues of health and cleanliness,” he said. “I have called the office, on occasion, and the barking was loud.”
Barkley said he checked with the Health Department and Public Service Commission about four years ago, and representatives told him there was no problem with the dogs in the office, at that time. Shipley said the board should establish a policy on animals in the workplace. Board attorney Chris Negley, participating via speakerphone, said the board risked losing its liability insurance if somebody was bitten by an employee’s dog. The board tabled action on the policy until Barkley checks with the Health Department and PSC again, and Negley writes an opinion.
The board approved the monthly financial statement, which showed $105,000 in income and $85,000 in expenses for the financially-strapped wastewater division. Board member Amon Tracey expresses his pleasure with the recent improvement.
“If all bills were paid, as we speak, we would probably break even,” he said. “That’s something new.”
The board went into executive session to discuss the purchase of easements from Karen Friel, but took no action upon resumption of open session.