Public speaks against rate hike at hearing
About two dozen residents of the Fairview Drive area gathered before an administrative law judge from the State Public Service Commission to give comments on the Warm Springs Sewer System's proposed rate hike of 25% at the public hearing that was held January 5.
Out of the eight residents that spoke, none were in favor of the increased rate.
"We've done everything we can to limit the increases," said sewer manager Rodney Hovermale.
The increased rate proposal is being sought to help close the gap in the under-budgeted sewer plant project. The project was estimated at $12.8 million, but came in at $15,759,000 or 43% over budget. The 12.5 miles of new sewer lines would add 255 customers along the way.
Hovermale also said that the remainder of the property easements would be completed by the end of the month and that the project bids had been extended to February 16.
Town resident Jim Slough said the Warm Springs Public Service District has treated the rate payers as their "golden goose." He also claimed that the district has a long history of mismanagement.
"The current system is already overburdened. There are other areas of Morgan County that need sewer service before Fairview Drive," said Dick Byrne.
Vivian Graham, a resident of Martin Terrace, said many of the homeowners were led to believe they had no choice but to sign the easements.
"Many of the residents along Fairview Drive are retired and on a fixed income. They can't afford another increase," said Mike Jenkins.
Anyone who still wishes to protest the sewer rate increase or to intervene in the rate case should send their written protest by this Friday, January 12
to Sandra Squires, Executive Secretary, Public Service Commission of West Virginia, P.O. Box 812, Charleston, WV 25323.